Serious Eats: Sweets
KFC's New Chocolate Chip Cookies, Now With '11 Secret Herbs & Spices'
With salted caramel everything appearing in mass market sweets and fast food desserts, it was only a matter of time before a fast food chain ventured more daringly into the realm of savory sweets. We've already seen a small-batch company bake up some addictive stuffing-flavored cookies; now KFC is in on the action with a cookie that keeps up the fried chicken spirit.
Well not exactly. There's no chicken, real or manufactured, in this chocolate chip number. But it is made with the Colonel's eleven 'secret' herbs and spices, perhaps an expression of our latent desires for fried chicken meals to never actually end.
The cookies are still in development and not yet on-menu at KFC locations (regular chocolate chip cookies are currently on-menu as part of a $19.99 Festive Feast package with fried chicken, sides, and biscuits). But they're asking fans of their Facebook page to vote on whether the cookies should join the regular lineup. What says the Serious Eats Fast Food lobby?
There's something to like about these cookies, but it has nothing to do with the herbs and spices. It's not that the idea of savory herbs + sweet chocolate chips is inherently off-putting, but when you're happily munching your cookie and discover mid-chew that your tongue is suddenly tingling with an injected dose of rubbed sage and thyme (the only seasonings that really come through), it's more than a little unsettling. OH HI HERBS, didn't see you there—that sort of thing. And for all the savory talk, there's surprisingly little salt to bridge the gap between dried herbs and sweet chocolate chips.
But as we tasted our herb-bombs next to KFC's current Festive Feast chocolate chip cookies, we couldn't help but think that for all their herby weirdness, they tasted more homemade. Check out those crisp toffee-like edges and that crackly crust. There's a more generous brown sugar flavor going on here, granted over-baked to the point of dryness, but still more desirable than the poofy chemical emptiness of the old models. If you take out the herbs and spices you could easily imagine them as coming from your own oven, via a Toll House break-and-bake dough.
So KFC: cookies that taste more homemade = good. Senseless acts of herbal violence against chocolate chips = less so. Here's hoping for a more natural-tasting cookie-based end to our fried chicken in the future.