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    Updated on Sep 16, 2020. Posted on Sep 13, 2020

    I Tried Baking Really Simple Vs. Really Complicated Chocolate Chip Cookies To Determine Which One Was Better

    Cookies are one of the main food groups, so this is very important research.

    What makes a great chocolate chip cookie?

    Chocolate chip cookie on a laptop keyboard
    Rutmer Visser / Getty Images

    Is it the sweetness of the dough? The quality of the chocolate? Or is the real secret something else, like eating it off of a computer keyboard?

    I thought I'd get to the bottom of this deeply important question by testing out two cookie recipes: a really simple one and a really complicated one.


    After searching far and wide, I settled on these two recipes: a simple 5-ingredient recipe and a more complicated 12-ingredient recipe developed by Nailed It!'s Jacques Torres, which has to sit in the fridge for 72 hours before you bake it.

    Chef Jacques Torres
    Erik Voake / Getty Images

    72 hours! Who has the time?? (I do, and I hope I do not butcher this nice man's recipe.)

    First things first: ingredients!

    Jacques Torres' dark chocolate
    Evelina Zaragoza Medina/BuzzFeed

    These were easy to get at the grocery store, with one notable exception: the 60% dark chocolate baking discs required for the 12-ingredient recipe. I tried three grocery stores, but no luck. I ended up ordering them from Jacques Torres' own website, so you know they're extra legit. They took two weeks to arrive, but patience wins out in the end, my friends.

    Once the fancy chocolate arrived, we were off to the races.

    Cookie ingredients
    Evelina Zaragoza Medina/BuzzFeed

    The fancy recipe has two different types of flour, salt, and sugar, which seems like one too many of each, but what do I know?

    I started making the 12-ingredient dough since it has to rest for a few days, and that went pretty smoothly. The whole thing took about 40 minutes, not including the time I left the butter out to soften.

    Evelina Zaragoza Medina/BuzzFeed

    The recipe says to use the paddle attachment of a standing mixer to combine the butter and sugars, but I don't have one of those, so my handheld mixer was the only option. This recipe was somewhat similar to a cake, because I had to combine the butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla first, then mix the dry ingredients in a second bowl before adding them.

    The last step was to add the chocolate discs, which I had to do very gently so they wouldn't break. It was surprisingly difficult to get them folded into the dough, but it all came together at the cost of my (very well-washed) hands.

    Mixing the 12-ingredient dough
    Evelina Zaragoza Medina/BuzzFeed

    Time to rest in the fridge for 72 hours! See ya later, cookie dough!

    Dough resting in fridge
    Evelina Zaragoza Medina/BuzzFeed

    After three days, it was baking time! But first, while the 12-ingredient dough was softening outside the fridge, I had to make the 5-ingredient dough...and I cannot overstate how easy this one was.

    Mixing the 5-ingredient dough with a spoon
    Evelina Zaragoza Medina/BuzzFeed

    No electric mixer necessary! I basically just had to mix everything together with a spoon and fold in the chocolate chips, which I once again did with my hands. It took all of 15 minutes.

    Here's what both doughs looked like once they were done.

    Both doughs ready to bake
    Evelina Zaragoza Medina/BuzzFeed

    I did have a few concerns at this point. The absence of any kind of baking soda/powder in the 5-ingredient dough made me think I'd end up with a really odd texture. The simpler dough was also a bit dry for my liking, so I added a splash of milk. Was that a bad idea? Maybe, but I did it anyway. As for the 12-ingredient dough, I was worried about the chocolate because I tried one of the discs...and 60% dark chocolate is bitter, my friends.

    After scooping them onto two baking sheets, they were ready for the oven.

    Both doughs spooned onto cookie sheets
    Evelina Zaragoza Medina/BuzzFeed

    The 5-ingredient dough was really soft (basically the texture of store-bought cookie dough), so it was easy to shape. The 12-ingredient dough took a little longer because it was still kinda hard from the fridge and I had to be careful not to break those gosh darn chocolate discs.

    A few minutes later, it was finally cookie o'clock!

    Sesame Workshop

    (After waiting a responsible cooling time, of course).

    In order to judge which of these is the better cookie, I'd normally enlist the help of my friends and coworkers, but since we are all safely social distancing, my mom and I were going to be the only deciders.

    Both sets of cookies after baking
    Evelina Zaragoza Medina/BuzzFeed

    My mom didn't know which cookies were the complicated recipe and which were the simpler ones, so in theory she should be completely unbiased.

    First things first: appearance. Not the most important aspect of a cookie, but presentation matters! I thought I'd ask my Instagram friends to weigh in on this via poll. Here's what they said:

    Instagram poll results: 89% prefer how the fancier cookies look
    Evelina Zaragoza Medina/BuzzFeed

    The right side (12-ingredient recipe) won out among the masses, and I have to say that I agree. Those fancy cookies look professional.

    After biting into each cookie, the next thing we took notice of was the texture of each. The 5-ingredient cookies were definitely softer, but the 12-ingredient ones were a lot crumbier in the way you'd expect a cookie to be.

    Evelina Zaragoza Medina/BuzzFeed

    I tend to prefer a hard cookie over a soft one, so I left them both in the oven as long as I could. I have to assume they would've come out softer if I'd taken them out sooner. My mom appreciated both, but said that she'd compare the 5-ingredients more to a scone than a cookie.

    Now for the final rubric, the flavor! The 5-ingredient cookies were definitely more bland, where the 12-ingredient ones were richer and sweeter, and I mean A LOT sweeter.

    Both cookies side by side
    Evelina Zaragoza Medina/BuzzFeed

    The 5-ingredient cookies were flavored with only 3/4 cups of brown sugar and that's it. On the other hand, the 12-ingredient dough had two sugars, with the total amount being almost 2 1/2 cups. They also had vanilla extract. My concern that the dark chocolate discs would be too bitter wasn't actually a problem because the dough was sweet enough to balance it out. Likewise, the sweeter chocolate chips balanced out the blander 5-ingredient dough.

    Taking all these things into consideration, it was finally time to decide which cookie is actually better. Drumroll, please!


    We both agreed that the 12-ingredient ones look and feel more like chocolate chip cookies, but their intense flavor makes it hard to eat more than one at a time.

    Fancy cookies
    Evelina Zaragoza Medina/BuzzFeed

    Not to toot my own horn, but they really are quite pretty.

    On the other hand, my mom has already eaten five of the 5-ingredient ones. Their cute, dumpling-like appearance and unassuming but still tasty flavor made them more approachable.

    Simple cookies
    Evelina Zaragoza Medina/BuzzFeed

    There's also the matter of how long they each took to make, and guys, those 12-ingredient cookies are complicated. You have to get so many different ingredients, and one of them is BREAD FLOUR.

    5 lb. bag of bread flour next to 8 oz. measuring cup
    Evelina Zaragoza Medina/BuzzFeed

    What am I gonna do with the rest of a five-pound bag of bread flour?? The obvious answer is "make bread, dummy." But it's a LOT of flour (measuring cup included for size reference).

    When I think about a chocolate chip cookie, I think of comfort and ease. Even though they might not be the most traditional chocolate chip cookies, the fact that I can throw the 5-ingredient ones together without much stress is a big selling point.

    Evelina Zaragoza Medina/BuzzFeed

    Plus, who's to say that I couldn't build up their flavor by adding a bit more brown sugar and a splash of vanilla?

    After much deliberation, here is our final decision:

    Evelina Zaragoza Medina/BuzzFeed

    My mom had a really hard time deciding, but decided the traditional cookie was more her speed...even though she's eaten way more of the other ones. I am a child of the new millennium, and even though Chef Jaques' cookie recipe is delicious, if I am craving cookies at midnight on a Friday, I'm not gonna be happy if I have to bust out my electric mixer and then wait 3 days.

    And that's it! Thanks for following this journey with me, now go make these cookies and decide for yourself!