Which Batch: Mix or Scratch?

by Kate Diuguid and Tori Newby ‘22

 Many wonder if baking cookies from scratch is worth it: does the time and extra effort result in better cookies compared to a mix? My friend, Kate Diuguid, and I decided to put the age-old question to the test. 

 I made chocolate chip cookies from scratch using a recipe by Rosanna Pansino, the Youtube baking sensation with 11.7 million subscribers. Kate made her batch of chocolate chip cookies using a Betty Crocker bagged mix from Rite Aid. The recipes seemed similar on the surface, with the same bake time and oven temperature. However, the execution and results were quite different.

 The bagged mix only required butter and an egg, whereas the Rosanna Pansino recipe called for more appliances and ingredients… meaning more cleanup, too! While the steps in the from-scratch recipe weren’t extensive, multiple bowls, measuring cups, and mixing utensils were needed. On the other hand, the Betty Crocker mix only required a single bowl to stir the ingredients. Both batches entered the oven at 375 degrees for about 10 minutes.

 Now for the taste test. Upon bringing the cookies to lunch and requesting opinions from my friends, many agreed that the milk chocolate chips from the bagged mix were better, as opposed to the dark chocolate chips I used in Rosanna Pansino’s recipe. My cookies included salt and salted butter, while the mix caused the cookies to turn out much sweeter rather than salty.

 The textures are what really made the difference, though. Kate’s cookies from the mix turned out crisp and dense, as opposed to mine, which came out soft and chewy. Most in our group preferred the texture of my cookies much more. They melted in the mouth and tore apart easily due to more butter in the recipe, which made the dough creamier. The mix created much crunchier cookies, crumbling when broken apart, despite the fact that the oven temperature and bake time were the same. 

 Overall, many of our friends decided my cookies, the ones from Rosanna Pansino’s recipe, were the better batch. Although many liked the sweetness of Kate’s bagged mix, the texture was a deal-breaker. So, if you have the time and the means, bake your chocolate chip cookies from scratch. It’s worth it.