There are certain items I can distinctly place in my elementary school lunchbox. Before the days in which Special K bars would constitute “treats” and my mom would make crappy ham sandwiches out of that low calorie bread she used to buy (the low carb error was a trying time for many a child with a mother in healthcare) I can remember cookies. Oreos made it in there, for sure, as did Voortman vanilla sugar wafers and the seasonal Girl Scout cookies my sister would sell around the neighborhood. Yet when the supply of Thin Mints ran out, there were always Chocolate Chip cookies. Keebler, to be precise, and the chewy ones at that (not to be confused with the Soft Bath cookies, which are a different beast entirely).
It’s been a few years since I’ve had those Keebler chewy chocolate chip cookies, but when it came time to pick a leading cookie brand to put up against the Who Nu chewy chocolate chip cookies, I knew I’d be kidding myself if I went with anything but Keebler. No offense to Chips Ahoy, but we just never bought them in my house, and if Who Nu was really going to pass my test, then I figured I might as well put it up against a cookie I remember liking. A lot.
I began by asking my lovely assistant (that would be the sister, Carol) to set up a “Cookie A” and “Cookie B” testing arrangements. Not knowing which cookie was which, I sampled each blindly first, and then sampled each while looking at them. During both occasions I was not previewed to which was which, although I’ll be straight up in that I picked them out on first bite.
“Cookie A” was smaller in size but had more chocolate chips, albeit smaller chips. The cookie itself was moister with a more pronounced chew, although it had a wheaty aftertaste to it that I don’t usually associate with mass produced cookies. I like the sweetness, but felt the chocolate chips were just so-so. They were chocolaty and all, but neither particularly bitter or deep, and mostly struck me as average. Still, I enjoyed the cookies’ moistness and amount of chips, which made for a complete and sweet bite.
“Cookie B” was bigger and thicker, with both chunks and chocolate chips. I liked the bittersweet nature of the chocolate and thought it had more depth of Cookie A, but small bites revealed a bland and insipid “dough” which tasted neither of butter nor eggs, and had an artificial aftertaste. The cookies were chewy but seemed a bit grainy, and while I liked the flavor of the chocolate, there was a kind of artificial mouthfeel about them that made me think of cheap “chocolate”.
As you may have guessed “Cookie A” was actually the Who Nu chewy chocolate chip cookies, and “Cookie B” was my childhood favorite, Keebler. On taste alone, I’d rate Cookie A as slightly higher than Cookie B. A more complete chewy chocolate chip experience and slightly sweeter taste lift them a bit higher than the Keebler cookies, which, despite a better tasting chocolate chip and drop mixture, come across as slightly more artificial and not as chewy. Combined with the resealable package (a MUST for anyone who wants to at least attempt restraint and doesn’t own a cookie jar) and the nutritional component, I give an overall edge to WhoNu here.
Look, nothing beats a homemade chocolate chip cookie, and if this first test in the series confirmed anything, it’s that life is too short to waste time on mediocre cookies. And while I’d call neither of these options mediocre, I was reminded that neither was the ethereal cookie experience I remember from the third grade lunchroom. But that’s ok. We’ve got five more tests to go, and after round one it’s WhoNu 1, My Childhood Favorite, 0.
Who Nu Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Grocery Store Price: $2.39 (free coupon)
- Pros: Resealbale packaging. Vitamins and minerals. Slightly more rich taste. No partially hydrogenated oils. Better than average chewy texture. Good chocolate to dough coverage.
- Cons: Chocolate lacks bitter sweetness. Cookies are small. Chocolate chips are small.
- Rating: 6.5/10
Keebler Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Grocery Store Price: $1.66 (on sale)
- Pros: Baked with care by real elves. Thick pieces of bittersweet chocolate. ‘Multiple’ bite cookies. Childhood memories.
- Cons: Contains partially hydrogenated oils. A bit grainy. Dough is dull. More saturated fat and calories per cookie.
- Rating: 6.0/10