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Is there such thing as a bad chocolate chip cookie? Not in my experience, at least thus far. And on the flip side, what’s the difference between a merely good one and a really good one?

We’re about to find out.

Rather than doing a one-on-one Food Fight this week, I opted to feature three local bakeries and a grocery chain. I’ll pick a winner and rank the rest.

I rounded up the cookies and toted them back to the FFF Lab™, piled them on a plate and started sampling. Tough duty, I know. I took bites in a random sequence, circled back and took more bites. My accompanying beverage was 2% milk.


This small kiosk in the Armature Works food court in Tampa offers a limited menu of sweets, and proudly touts its Salted Chocolate Chip Cookie ($4).

The big round beast came in a cute pink bag with the brand logo. Intrigued by how thick the cookie was, I broke out the FFF Tape Measure™. Three-quarters of an inch.

I brushed off the salt on top. No need for that. Once I bit past the outer crust, I found the innards too dense. It took work to chew and swallow — a cookie version of eating taffy. Overall, the salt was too present, even without the granules on top.


This strip-mall small shop in St. Pete is a secret that’s beyond well kept. I drive by it all the time, and had not seen nor heard of the place.

To make matters worse, the top of the storefront is off-white, no signage, and has been that way for quite some time, according to the counter man. Inside, the place was barren — a bakery counter and a couple of tables.

Still, Bread Artisans has been open seven years. Perhaps I’d stumbled on a hidden gem.

Uh, no. These were the smallest and least expensive ($1.50) of the cookie contestants. I bought a couple. I can best describe the flavor as: strange. Plus they were dry, even sandy, and left a vaguely unpleasant aftertaste. Too few chips, too. Perhaps Bread Artisans should stick to bread. There were a few loaves in the case, and they looked pretty good.

So, yes, there is such thing as a bad chocolate chip cookie.


The woman at the bakery counter told me that Fresh Market bakes its cookies in-store, although the dough is made elsewhere. The Giant Chocolate Chunk ($2.50) was true to its name.

I’ll describe this one as solid — slightly on the dry side, but not crispy. The flavor was fine but didn’t wow me. Plus, it was a bit too heavy on the chips. Still and all, I’d certainly eat one again.


This restaurant/bakery in downtown St. Pete was my last stop, so I bought two ($2.25 each). Back at the Lab, I broke out the FFF Tape Measure™. Five eighths of an inch thick. This cookie was darker than the rest. Hmm, I mused: What could this portend?

I took a bite. Moist, chewy — but not overly — with sublime chocolate chunks in just the right measure. Now, here was a cookie that wowed me. I finished one, then chomped into the other. I’d concluded my testing and was well full, but continued to munch and chase with milk. I finally managed to stop myself, saving a few bites for later.

And the Winner of the Four Bakeries Cookie Clash Is …

Need I even write it?


Here’s how the others ranked:

2. Fresh Market
3. Bake ‘N Babes
4. The Bread Artisans Bakery




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