Like holiday decorations, the tubs of refrigerated cookie dough started turning up in local stores in early fall. Somehow, scooping dough from a tub seems more like homemade than breaking apart precut squares of dough. Taster's Choice judges wanted to know if the cookies would pass for homemade in a pinch. The answer was disappointing, although none of the judges left many crumbs on their plates.
Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent
|Product/Score (out of 100)||Pillsbury /67||Nestle/65||Tom's/58||Russell Stover/ 43|
|How'd it look?||Darker than some of the competition. Smooth and clean looking.||Big with lots of chips.||Dark and pretty.||Bakes up dark like it's overdone, even when it's still doughy.|
|Judges' comments||"These have a nice amount of chips with a slightly vanilla cookie taste," said one panelist. "Eating this cookie is a pleasant experience. I just ate the whole thing." Another judge described the cookies as soft, yummy and sweet.||The chips are small but the cookies are really chewy with nice, crisp edges, judges said. Most panelists declared the Nestle brand the most homemade looking and tasting.||Judges detected a pleasing hint of cinnamon in the cookies. They also liked the large chunks of chocolate. The Tom's brand cooked up softer than the others, appealing to judges who preferred those to crisper cookies.||Caramel flavor was evident in the batch we prepared. Judges figured the cookies might have included more brown sugar than the others. The caramel almost overpowered the chocolate chip flavor. Cookies by the famous chocolatier seemed like a great idea. But judges were disappointed in the taste of Russell Stover's cookies.|
|Would they buy?||Three of the four judges said yes.||Two of the judges said yes and one said maybe.||Three of the four judges said yes.||All four judges said no.|
|Shopping information||Widely available. $6.72 for a 5-pound tub at Sam's Club.||Widely available. $4.21 for a 40-ounce tub at Target.||Widely available. $3.99 for a 1-pound tub at Target.||Widely available. $4.59 for a 2-pound tub at Publix.|
Panelists: Nan Jensen, registered dietitian with Pinellas County Cooperative Extension; Jim Yockey, aesthetician at Anu You Institute; Rhonda Sanderford of Yes-Homes, Smith & Associates Real Estate; and Julie Overton, consumer and mother of four.
Send suggestions for product testing to: Taste section, St. Petersburg Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731 or e-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please put TEST SUGGESTION in the subject line. To read past Taster's Choice columns, go to food.tampabay.com.