I Tested 4 Famous Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipes To See Which Is Actually The Best

by Morgan Greenwald
Morgan is a writer on the branded content team who loves breakfast food almost as much as she loves dogs.

If there’s anything that the LittleThings office loves, it’s chocolate chip cookies. Whenever we get an email that there are cookies in the break room, you would think that a stampede of wild animals just passed through the office the way we make a run for it.

Since the LittleThings staff knows a thing or two about chocolate chip cookies, I decided to put some of the most famous, classic recipes to the test to determine once and for all which recipe reigns supreme.

Of course, everyone has a different palate when it comes to their cookie preferences, but the goal of this experiment was to find a cookie that everyone could agree was an all-around solid option.

Keep reading to find out which recipes I used and what our resident taste testers chose as the winning chocolate chip cookie.

The Recipes

<u> The Recipes </u>

For the experiment, I turned to four of my favorite chefs: Martha Stewart, Ina Garten, Ree Drummond (of The Pioneer Woman fame), and Alton Brown.

Each of these chefs had something different to bring to the table (quite literally) with their famous chocolate chip cookie recipes.

And though most used primarily the same ingredients, the recipes yielded surprisingly different results.

Recipe #1: Martha Stewart

<u> Recipe #1: Martha Stewart </u>

The first recipe I tried was good ole Martha Stewart’s “soft and chewy chocolate chip cookies.”

According to the recipe, this is Martha’s “go-to recipe” and “very easy and versatile as far as adding in ingredients.” To keep things easy, I decided to stick to the recipe as is, though I did half the recipe to make just 18 cookies.

Martha’s chocolate chip cookies were relatively simple to make. With typical ingredients like flour, baking soda, butter, and sugar, it didn’t take long for my Martha batter to form into a thick dough.

While these cookies were baking, the entire room started to smell like butter and sugar, and I could feel my mouth starting to water.

I won’t lie: I did sneak a taste of the batter before I put these in the oven, and it showed early signs of promise.

Heeral Chhibber and Janine Ngai for LittleThings

After 12 minutes in the oven at 350°F, these cookies were soft, chewy, and the perfect cookie shade of brown — just like Martha promised.

Martha’s chocolate chip cookies looked exactly like the ones from the bakery — and tasted as good as they looked.

However, I am personally more of a fan of chocolate chip cookies with a little crunch, so Martha’s cookies weren’t quite to my liking. Still, I realize not everyone feels that way.

Recipe #2: Ina Garten

<u> Recipe #2: Ina Garten </u>

I’d be lying if I said that I haven’t had a daydream or two about being Jeffrey Garten. Unfortunately, that’s never going to happen, so the next best thing is to make as many of Ina Garten’s recipes as I can, like her chocolate chunk cookies.

Ina’s recipe calls for chopped walnuts, but for the sake of consistency, I decided to nix the walnuts in my cookies. After all, if someone is allergic to walnuts or just generally doesn’t like them, they’re automatically going to disqualify Ina’s chocolate chip cookies.

This recipe calls for all of the same ingredients as Martha’s, so the batter looked similar when it was all folded together. Whereas Martha’s recipe called for a blend of semisweet and milk chocolate chips, Ina’s cookies only used semisweet chunks, and I had a feeling this would impact the taste significantly.

Heeral Chhibber and Janine Ngai for LittleThings

Perhaps because they were in the oven for 15 minutes, which is what the recipe called for (a few minutes longer than Martha’s), Ina’s cookies were slightly crispier and immediately more to my liking.

Ina’s cookies did taste similar to Martha’s, but the semisweet chocolate in her cookies had a more prominent flavor that made for a burst of chocolate in every bite.

Recipe #3: The Pioneer Woman

<u> Recipe #3: The Pioneer Woman </u>

Ree Drummond, aka The Pioneer Woman, is known for her experimental (and self-proclaimed “bizarre”) recipes, so naturally, I wanted to try her unique take on chocolate chip cookies.

Unlike Martha and Ina ,who stuck to more traditional recipes, Ree adds instant coffee granules and flax seeds to her cookies.

“[The flax seed] gives it a little somethin’-somethin’ that sets the cookies apart from the fray,” Ree writes on her website. The flax seeds are optional, but I decided to add them in since Ree touts their benefits on her website.

Another big difference with Ree’s recipe is that it calls for margarine in addition to butter. Margarine is basically the nondairy version of butter, so this probably doesn’t make a huge difference, and Ree notes that you can use only butter if you prefer.

Since I hate coffee, I knew right away that these cookies weren’t going to be my favorite, but like I said, I’m not the one who ultimately decides which cookie is best. Ree says on her website that the coffee doesn’t have a strong flavor and is added more for richness, but I was skeptical.

Despite all of the strange ingredients in Ree’s cookies, the batter came together well. I added the flax seeds at the end with the semisweet and milk chocolate chips, and then I baked for 11 minutes at 375°F.

Heeral Chhibber and Janine Ngai for LittleThings

It’s hard to deny that these cookies have flax seeds in them, given that you can see them in the finished product.

I don’t dislike flax seeds, so it wasn’t a problem that there were flax seeds all over these cookies, my bigger problem was the coffee, which I could taste in every bite I took. These cookies had a good consistency and a chewy texture, but their flavor just felt off.

Recipe #4: Alton Brown

<u> Recipe #4: Alton Brown </u>

For his chewy chocolate chip cookies, Food Network star and Cutthroat Kitchen host Alton Brown substitutes bread flour for all-purpose flour and adds more brown sugar, which he says gives his cookies “extra chewiness.”

While the other three recipes called for butter at room temperature, Alton’s recipe instructs to melt the butter completely to create a chewier cookie.

Alton is a professional chef, and his recipe is certainly indicative of that. In his notes, Alton suggests using dark chocolate chunks “in the 68% cocoa range” and even cutting up your own chunks for a bit of variety.

One other thing to note: Alton’s recipe calls for chilling your batter for an hour.

Heeral Chhibber and Janine Ngai for LittleThings

Perhaps I didn’t use enough chocolate chips, but these cookies barely seemed to have any chocolate in them.

Regardless, I personally thought that these cookies had the best consistency: the perfect combination of cake-like and crunchy. The bread flour definitely made a difference, as these cookies were nice and thick with the perfect amount of sweetness.

The Taste Test

<u>The Taste Test</u>
Heeral Chhibber and Janine Ngai for LittleThings

To ultimately crown a winner, I gathered four of the hungriest coworkers that I could find to conduct a blind taste test. My coworkers tested the cookies one by one, and after they gave each cookie a chance, they determined a winner.

First Cookie: Martha Stewart

The first cookie that my coworkers tried was Martha’s. Even before anyone took a bite, my coworker, Emily, remarked that Martha’s cookie “looked the most appealing.” Another coworker, Chase, agreed that it looked like the kind of cookie he would normally eat.

After trying Martha’s cookie, Emily and Chase’s observations proved to be true. Everyone agreed that Martha’s cookie was delicious — in fact, even though he wasn’t supposed to, Chase couldn’t help but eat the whole thing!

Second Cookie: The Pioneer Woman

Next up was Ree Drummond’s coffee-and-flax-seed cookie. Though this was a blind taste test, my coworkers do have eyes, and it didn’t take long before they noticed that there was something off about this cookie — “flax seeds, maybe?” Emily hypothesized.

Though it took some convincing for the tasters to even try this cookie, they all eventually took a bite, and the results were less than enthusiastic. Let’s just say that the nicest thing said was that these cookies were “bready.”

Third Cookie: Ina Garten

Ina’s cookie was very similar to Martha’s, and given that Martha’s was such a hit, I expected Ina’s to perform just as well.

Unsurprisingly, Ina’s cookie was scarfed down by all of the judges, with murmurs of approval all around.

Fourth Cookie: Alton Brown

Since this was my personal favorite cookie, I had high hopes for Alton’s chewy chocolate chips.

Unfortunately, my judges were tough, and they just couldn’t get past the fact that Alton’s cookies were lacking in chocolate chips. Emily did remark, however, that the cookie’s crunch was quite nice.

The Winner

At the end of the blind taste test, each of the four judges had to choose which cookie they liked the most.

Based on the reactions during the tastings, it was no surprise that three of the four judges — Rich, Chase, and Emily — chose the first cookie, Martha’s, as the winner, while Sadhana chose cookie number three (Ina’s) as her top choice.

Well, there you have it folks, if you want to make a cookie that’s an all-around crowd-pleaser, opt for Martha Stewart’s soft and chewy chocolate chip cookies, you won’t go wrong. And a big hats off to the domestic goddess for being crowned our winner.

Do you know someone who loves to bake? Make sure to SHARE this taste test with them on Facebook!