Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Holiday Treats - A Pepperidge Farm Cookie Smorgasbord taste test

Who likes cookies? If it's you, then today's taste test is sure to be a treat! 

While Theresa and I were out shopping, we were talking about the cookie stroll at Epcot. They had a couple good cookies, but many were disappointing. Jacob and his Sister-in-law Nicole also went to Epcot and felt the same way. Surely we can get better cookies than this for the holiday season! 

Thus the idea of a Pepperidge Farm Cookie taste test was born! Now normally I'd try to find every variation of every cookie when we do something like this, but with the amount of cookies Pepperidge Farm makes and the cost of each bag being $3-$5 (this blog isn't sponsored or anything), that gets pricy quickly! So instead, I tried to get a sampling of all the different cookie types I could, plus a few of our known favorites. Jacob and Nicole brought a few more, so in total we'll be tasting 16 different Pepperidge Farm cookies! 

So today, we will be trying out: Pirouette Chocolate Hazelnut, Sausalito Milk Chocolate Macadamia, Captiva Dark Chocolate, Farmhouse Thin & Crispy Dark Chocolate Chip, Milano Double Milk Chocolate, Milano Orange Chocolate, Milano Mint Chocolate, Milano Slices Peppermint, Linzer Raspberry, Snowball Citrus, Holiday Nog, Chessmen butter, Gingerman Ginger, Zurich Sugar, Brussels Dark Chocolate, and Verona Cherry. 

Hopefully with all those different flavors we'll have a few standouts. And since there's 8 of us here, and everyone has different tastes, there are sure to be some differences of opinion too. 

Gotta squeeze myself into one of these pictures. 

That is certainly a lot of cookies! Let's get started! 
Theresa - Cut them up Joe. So everyone can decide to have as little or as much as they want. You can have a whole cookie too. 
Ian - I like that idea!
Theresa - Not you. 

Just because it was the most convenient for cutting, we're sampling them in the reverse order. That means our first up cookie is - 
Verona Cherry:
Alli - No. 
A round of "Nos" all around. 
Jacob - The jelly is too firm. I get it. For shipping and everything. But it's too solid. 
Theresa - The cookie is just meh. Is it a shortbread or something? 
Nicole - It's not worth the calories. 
Alfredo - I like it. 
Joe - I want more cherry. Or stronger cherry. 
Ian - I never like any thumbprint cookie. 

Brussels Dark Chocolate: 
Alli - Those are pretty good. 
Jacob - They're good. I like the crispy texture. 
Nicole - I love these. 
Alfredo - That's a Nicole cookie. 
Nicole - The texture is perfect! And that dark chocolate! 
Jacob - It reminds me of those crunchy chocolate chip cookies from Trader Joes. Is there coconut in them? 
Joe - Not that I see on the ingredient list. 
Nicole - I could 100% go through a bag of those. The chocolate is not even waxy in it. 
Theresa - I wish we could have found the mint version. We looked a few places. 
Alfredo - Am I tasting sugar crystals? 
Joe - They're my favorite so far. 

Zurich Sugar: 
Joe - These are just regular sugar cookies. 
Nicole - I mean, if you covered it in frosting. 
Alfredo - It's not bad. 
Rachel - It's a simple cookie. 
Joe - It's light. 
Nicole - The texture is not unpleasant. 
Jacob - It's almost like a shortbread. 
Alli - What's it called? 
Alfredo - Zurich. Or Zurg. Like Buzz Lightyear. 
Theresa - Not amazing for a Pepperidge Farm cookie. Not worth it for the price. 
Joe - It's a little bit better than a grocery store cookie. 
Nicole - You can never beat a homemade sugar cookie. 

Gingerman Ginger: 
Theresa - This might be the first time I've had so many cookies in one night. 
As I'm cutting it into pieces, I cut off the gingerman's head. 
Nicole - That's what I do! Bite off the head first. 
Rachel - It's crunchy. With cinnamon. I'd eat the bag. 
Jacob - I think it would be better dunked in milk. 
Ian - You started them and didn't tell me! 
Nicole - It would be good with chocolate milk. Or hot cocoa!
Jacob - Those are better than the gingerbread cookies we got at Disney. 
Nicole - Definitely a "leave out for Santa" cookie. 
Joe - I like the sugar crystals on top of the gingerman. And the crunchy cookie. 

The kids both got pieces of paper and are being pretty serious after each cookie. I wonder what they're up to. 

Chessmen Butter: 
Theresa - Ooh, I like Chessmen. 
Joe - These are like Sewing Tin cookies. 
Nicole - Those are simple. I like them though. With a cup of coffee. Or hot chocolate. 
Theresa - I like butter cookies. They're one of my favorites. 
Nicole - It's a classic. 
Alfredo - Not bad. I taste the butter. 
Jacob - They remind me of the Walker Shortbread. 

Holiday Nog: 
Joe - I hope it's subtle. 
Nicole - So it's a shortbread type cookie. 
Joe - Who likes Eggnog? I do. 
Alfredo - I love it! I can drink a whole bottle.  
Jacob - I like it in limited quantities. 
Nicole - I want it without eggs. Texturally it's too thick. 
Theresa - The flavor isn't good enough to justify the calories. 

Joe - Okay, how about the cookie? 
Rachel - It's kinda light. 
Alfredo - Oh! It's artificial. 
Groans coming from many of the participants. 
Nicole - I like the regular ones better. 
Jacob - That's a bust. 
Alfredo - I like eggnog, but I don't like that. It's so artificial. 
Nicole - Bottom of the barrel. I did not like that one bit. 
Joe - That was not good. Can you pass me a cup of milk? 
Theresa - I wasn't expecting to spit out any cookies tonight, but I did that one. The Holiday Nog is not good. 
Joe - This is the first year I've seen that one. 
Theresa - And it might be the last. 
Nicole - It's like someone had a good idea, and bad execution. That Nog is nasty. 
Ian - They were disgusting. 

Snowball Citrus: 
Joe - This was a special request from Alli. 
Jacob - I like that. It's very much dessert, with a little citrus. It's a little crunchy. 
Joe - I like the powdered sugar topping. 
Nicole - It's reminiscent of a cookie I like better. 
Rachel - A girl scout cookie? 
Nicole - Yes! The Lemonade cookie. I still enjoyed that. 

Linzer Raspberry: 
Nicole - The Epcot Linzer was probably the best one at the Cookie Stroll. 
Joe - I like the raspberry. How's the jelly? 
Nicole - It's the Verona in a different form. 
Jacob - I like it better than the Verona. The jelly is stronger. 
Theresa - I don't like jelly cookies. 
Ian - It's a copy of a thumbprint cookie. I don't like it. 

Milano Slices Peppermint: 
Nicole - Right away, you put mint on a cookie and I am in.
Alfredo - Oh yeah. 
Nicole - That is lovely. I love these. 
Joe - It's a really good cookie in the first place. Light and crisp. 
Jacob - Number 1!
Nicole - That's a good ratio. Only half a cookie, so lots of chocolate. 
Theresa - Dark Chocolate. That's a staple every year. 

But how does the Peppermint compare to the Mint Milano cookies? 

Milano Mint Chocolate: 
Theresa - I don't know. They're different. 
Joe - It's more subtle. 
Nicole - The slices are better. 
Theresa - But they're so good. 
Joe - I like peppermint better. 
Theresa - I would not say no to either of those. Any time, any day of the year, any day of the year. 

I kept busy cutting all the cookies into halves and quarters so people didn't have to eat over a dozen cookies tonight. 

Milano Orange and Chocolate: 
Nicole - Rachel, you're not going to like this one. 
Joe - You don't like Orange and Chocolate?
Rachel - It's a disgrace. 

Theresa - I'm not a big fan of chocolate and orange either. 
Rachel - I mean. It's a cookie. 
Alfredo - You can smell the orange. 
Nicole - I still like it. 
Jacob - It's like a breakfast cookie. Orange juice. 
Theresa - It is just a hint of orange. It's not overpowering. 
Alfredo - You're not getting any Vitamin C out of it. 
Joe - I like it. 

Milano Double Milk Chocolate: 
Nicole - It's a new one to me. 
Alfredo - The chocolate on that one is really good. 
Nicole - I'm a dark chocolate girl. 
Jacob - Not me. New winner!
Jacob - I kinda knew it was going to be. 

Farmhouse Thin & Crispy Dark Chocolate Chip: 
Theresa - I saw these and really thought about buying them. I'm glad you did Nicole! I really wanted to try them. 
Joe - They're breaking into crumbles when I cut them. They should still taste the same though. 
Nicole - I'm excited to try this. 
Theresa - (eating it) Oh! That is not...
Rachel - Dark? 
Alfredo - I didn't taste any dark whatsoever.
Nicole - Is there a lot of artificial vanilla to that, or is it just me? 
Rachel - Yeah... I think that's it. 
Theresa - Oh my goodness. 
Jacob - The cookie is too thin and the chunks are too big. 
Theresa - That was disappointing. 
Nicole - It tasted nothing like what I wanted it to taste like. 
Jacob - Swing and a miss. 
Nicole - I'm glad I didn't get more of the Thin & Crispy flavors. 
Theresa - That's what these taste tests are for! To make sure you don't buy the wrong thing in the future!
Jacob - It takes a lot to mess up a chocolate chip cookie. 

Captiva Dark Chocolate: 
Nicole - I'm excited about these! I don't normally like a soft cookie, but the idea of double chocolate sounds good. 
Alfredo - I love soft cookies. 
Nicole - We are complete opposites when it comes to cookies. 
Rachel - It's really soft. 
Nicole - Nope! I don't like soft. I was hoping the chocolate would overcome the softness. 
Alfredo - It's kind of like a brownie! 
Jacob - A less flavorful brownie. 
Alfredo - Like a Chick-fil-A brownie. 

Sausalito Milk Chocolate Macadamia: 
Joe - I do like Macadamia. 
Rachel - It's chocolatey. 
Alfredo - Yeah! 
Nicole - I like that one. That's my favorite of the chocolate chip cookies. The texture is really nice. That's the texture I wanted the Thin & Crispy to be. 
Alfredo - I can live with that. The cookie is so good, I can live with the hardness. 
Theresa - The texture is not as offensive? 
Alfredo - It's just the right amount of sweetness.
Ian - It's too nutty. 

Time for the Pirouettes. 
Jacob - When I got them I wasn't sure if they'd count as cookies. I figured if they don't count as cookies, it's more for me. If it does count, then it's more for everybody. 

Pirouette Chocolate Hazelnut: 
Nicole - These were a Carson Christmas tradition. 
Jacob - My mom would always have these out. I love them for the memories. 
Jacob - They're harder than I remember. 
Theresa - They're solid filled with chocolate. 
Joe - But they're flaky when you bite it. 
Jacob - The first piece I had was way crunchier. The second piece wasn't. It depends on where you bite into it. 
Nicole - Maybe I'm more used to dunking it. 

The kids have been grabbing their cookie samples then running off to the corner to write on their papers. 
Ah, I see what they're doing. They are rating each cookie they try! 

Here's Alli's list. 
1. Verona Cherry - Eww
2. Brussels Dark Chocolate - Prety good
3. Zurich Sugar - Prety good
4. Gingerman Ginger - The Best So Far
5. Chessmen Butter - meh
6. Holiday Nog - No
7. Snowball Citrus - Yum (not as good as 4)
8. Linzer Raspberry - no no

9. Milano Slices Peppermint - Love It (not as good as 4)
10. Milano Mint Chocolate - i like it (not as good as 4)
11. Milano Orange Chocolate - me love
12. Milano Double Milk Chocolate - ehh prety good
13. Farmhouse Thin & Crispy Dark Chocolate Chip - eww worst yet 
14. Captiva Dark Chocolate - GOOD
15. Sausalito Milk Chocolate Macadamia - prety good
16. Pirouette Chocolate Hazelnut - mhh prety good

And Ian's list? 

And Ian's list. 
1. Verona Cherry - Verona was disgusting
2. Brussels Dark Chocolate - the Brussels were decent
3. Zurich Sugar - the Zuric was like a sugar cookie. Dissapoint.
4. Gingerman Ginger - the gingerman were good. like really good. 
5. Chessmen Butter - the chessman was just a butter cookie
6. Holiday Nog - eggnog was horrible
7. Snowball Citrus - snowball citrus was really good. nice citrus.
8. Linzer Raspberry - linzer was disgusting. a copy of verona
9. Milano Slices Peppermint - milano peppermint was good. nice chocolate
10. Milano Mint Chocolate - milano mint was yum, although below peppermint
11. Milano Orange Chocolate - milano orange was not very good
12. Milano Double Milk Chocolate - milano double chocolate was meh
13. Farmhouse Thin & Crispy Dark Chocolate Chip - farmhouse was too dark
14. Captiva Dark Chocolate - captiva was not good. too soft.
15. Sausalito Milk Chocolate Macadamia - sausalito was too nutty
16. Pirouette Chocolate Hazelnut - pirotte was horrible texture. good flavor

Well when you get 8 different people to try 16 different cookies, you're going to get a lot of favorites and failures. What did everyone like and hate overall? 
Theresa - Anyone on the fence about their second and third choices? I'm just going to cut up these peppermint milanos. 

Ian - Best: Gingerman, Milano Peppermint, Snowball Citrus. Worst: Verona, Linzer, Eggnog (the worst)
Alli - Best: Gingerman, Milano Peppermint, Captiva. Worst: Farmhouse Thin & Crispy.
Nicole - Best: Brussels, Milano Peppermint, and Sausalito. Worst: Holiday Nog. But I was most disappointed with the Thin and Crispy because I wanted something else from that experience. 
Alfredo - Best: Sausalito, Pirouettes, Milano Double Milk Chocolate. Worst: Holiday Nog. 
Rachel - Best: Milano Peppermint, Sausalito, Milano Double Milk Chocolate. Worst: Verona and Snowball Citrus. 
Jacob - Best: Milano Double Milk Chocolate, Milano Peppermint, Pirouette. Worst: Verona, Linzer, Holiday Nog.
Theresa - Best: Milano Mint Chocolate, Chessmen Butter, Brussels, Gingerman. If the Brussels were Mint Chocolate, that would have been number 1 for me. Worst: Holiday Nog. And I really disliked the Farmhouse Thin & Crispy. 
Joe - Best: Gingerman, Brussels Dark Chocolate, Milano Peppermint. Worst: Holiday Nog and Thin & Crispy. Surprises: Milano Orange Chocolate and Snowball Citrus. I liked the flavors. 

If I rank them by points (3 for 1st, 2 for 2nd, 1 for 3rd) the top cookies were:
Milano Peppermint Slices (12 points), Gingerman (9 points), Brussels (6 points), Sausalito (6 points), Milano Double Milk Chocolate (5 points), Pirouettes (3 points), Milano Mint Chocolate (3 points), Chessmen (2 points), Snowball Citrus (1 point), Captiva (1 point).
And it seemed like everybody hated either the Holiday Nog or the Farmhouse Thin and Crispy cookies. 

That was a whole lot of cookies to eat! We've got plenty left over to enjoy all the way up to Christmas! 

1 comment:

  1. I like that Pepperidge Farm Cookie many varieties seen at the stores but never tasted many of them. Great group photo with EVERYONE in it along with the nicely displayed cookies! Some funny comments from the tasters...some favorites: "First year I've seen that one...And it might be the last!", "Not getting any Vitamin C out of it.", and "It takes a lot to mess up a chocolate chip cookie!" :-) Definitely not a "jelly cookie" person (jelly seems to stick to my teeth!), but do like soft cookies over crispy ones (provided it's a yummy soft cookie!) Be sure to save some cookies for Santa :-) EOM