"So I did something I haven't done since I entered culinary school 12 years ago—I used my dough to buy another's."
As a professional pastry chef, I did the unthinkable last night. I bought pre-made cookie dough from the market. (Shame.)
As I scanned the cookie aisle for something sweet to follow dinner, I didn't find a whole lot worth purchasing (for the record, no one should ever eat cookies being advertised as "healthy"). It was such a chilly night, that the notion of warm cookies just couldn't be substituted with a bag of gingersnaps. But it was already 9 p.m. and spending an extra hour making cookies from scratch on top of dinner prep was simply out of the question. So I did something I haven't done since I entered culinary school 12 years ago—I used my dough to buy another's.
I'm glad I did. Because the purchase really got me thinking about dough—as in the stuff draining from my wallet.
The $2.99 price tag seemed mighty high for an eight-ounce package (which makes about 12 cookies). Sure, it was cheaper than most of the already-baked and bagged options, but it didn't offer as many cookies. On the other hand, its warm, chewy and time-saving options certainly had their appeal. But how does that translate into dollars? And where is the value? I did a little math and here's the result:
The cost of my purchase came to $0.25 per cookie. The cost of making my own cookies would be $0.12 per cookie*. Less than half the price if I made them from scratch. But, do I really need to save a $1.50 to lose 60 minutes of my free time? Yes and no.
Yes, because quite frankly, the pre-made cookie dough wasn't that good. Way too heavy on the vanilla extract, and too many chocolate chips (I can't believe I just had to say that!). They had a weird surface that wouldn't brown, and took twice as long to bake as the package instructed. Pretty disappointing.
Then again, no. Because when served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream all my said complaints were erased. Who cares about all that stuff?! I had warm cookies, from start to finish, in 15 minutes and I didn't have to measure anything or wash a single dish! That's priceless.
* Calculations based on the original Nestle Toll House recipe (nothing beats it!) and FreshDirect.com prices in my Brooklyn zip code.