Nowadays, popular food trends all point toward one idea: we want it all, and we want it done for us. Grab-and-go snacks and pre-packed salads seem to be all the rage, and you can find a boxed mix for anything ranging from coffee cake to lemon bars to the ever-so-popular chocolate chip cookie. But I ask you, citizens of the internet, have we sacrificed quality for efficiency?
One day I asked myself the age-old question: Is it actually more worthwhile to slave over the perfect chocolate chip cookie, or should I just stick with a mix? Alright, maybe this question isn’t as common among college-aged kids as should I eat Chipotle or pizza tonight? Nevertheless, this inquiring mind wanted to know.
I present to you: The (Slightly) Scientific Experiment of Cookie Deliciousness
Is baking from scratch actually tastier, or is it possible that today’s modern pre-packaged mixes produce equal deliciousness?
For this experiment, I decided to study the most basic comfort food: the chocolate chip cookie. Easy enough to make and even easier to stuff your face with. Following the directions from this popular boxed mix and this online recipe, I made two batches of fragrant and gooey cookies.
Equipped with a sign that read “Free Cookies,” I sat in Pitt’s cafeteria and waited. As expected, hungry college kids + free food = long lines. Study participants were given a sample of each cookie to try and were asked to report which one tasted better. Students were not made aware of the differences in cookie production.
The taste buds of my peers have voted, and the winner is…..the cookies made from scratch!
This victory, though, wasn’t so clear-cut. Interestingly enough, the from-scratch cookies only won by 3 votes. I received several comments that the homemade cookies “had a better dough,” but at the same time one person stated that the boxed mix “was more buttery.” However, once these box-loving cookie students were informed of the differences between the batches, they seemed to question if they truly did think the store bought mix was tastier.
With a tie this close, it’s hard to pick a real winner. While the homemade cookies did win the battle, it seems if one is pressed for time, a boxed mix just might be a suitable backup option. As for me, I always bake my cookies from scratch. My grandma told me that’s the proper way to do it, and you know what they say about respecting your elders.