For some people, chocolate chip cookies are a holy grail – like a fine wine or a perfect steak. Finding that perfect balance of sweet outer crunch, inner chewiness and just the right amount of chocolate chips is a quest worth undertaking.
As an American who grew up on chocolate chip cookies, it was only a matter of time until a craving hit in Bogotá. Sadly, the first one I was able to hunt down here was a profound disappointment.
I didn’t think much of it then, but as time went on and I tried a few other chocolate chip cookies, I couldn’t help but notice a pattern: they were all average at best. Puzzled, and missing this childhood treat, I began a search for the greatest chocolate chip cookie, or as I like to say, CCC.
A quest would not be a proper quest without rules. Mine were that it had to be from a bakery, café, or restaurant with seating (no factory-made cookies or domicilios). Second, that I would judge each cookie based on freshness, texture, and flavour. And third, if they offered to heat the cookie up, I would always say yes.
I started with the big names: Oma, Juan Valdez, and Tostao’. All three sell cookies that were either too dry and crumbly or strangely salty. Feeling like goldi-chocs, my quest continued.
A few days later I passed the shining lights of a Subway and my cookie hopes soared. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this US chain had CCCs just like the ones in the US. The cookie was the perfect size and had just the right amount of chocolate chips, evenly distributed. They heated one up for me and I took a bite. It was delicious, easily the best one so far.
It’s worth mentioning at this point that it was not uncommon for me to walk into five cafés/bakeries in a row and have all five tell me that they either didn’t make CCCs or didn’t have any left. But how boring would it be if Subway had the best chocolate chip cookies in Bogotá? I had to quest on.
Next up was another US chain – surely Starbucks would deliver the goods? After a work meeting that involved a pitcher of beer, I ventured inside. The note in my phone reads: “$4,800…wow everything here is so expensive!!! And the cookie is fine, but weirdly sugary.” I may have been tipsy, but my verdict was for less sugar and more chocolate chips.
Having exhausted the chains, a friend recommended The Cookie Jaar in the Zona T. Technically, their cookie was full of chocolate chunks and not chips, but at this point I was willing to be flexible. It was doughy, but a little salty and a bit stale on the edges. Inexplicably, all of the chocolate chunks were at the bottom of the cookie – I can’t explain why because I’m not a cookie scientist, just a cookie critic.
So I ventured on to Panacée, a little south of the Zona Rosa. Their CCC had the right amount of chocolate chips in it, but it was weirdly fluffy and dry, almost like a muffin. Negative.
I decided to head to Masa next. I took a bite of their cookie. After so many dry, crumbly cookies, I was pleasantly surprised by the gooey and doughy texture. It was crispy on the edges, delivering an unexpected contrast of textures. The cookie fell apart, but I was ok with it. The flavour was not overly sugary or salty and the chocolate chunks were clearly high quality chocolate. Eating it was a nice experience. But sadly it still wasn’t up to Subway standards.
I have tried a lot of CCCs now and, although it is anticlimactic, I have to say that Subway still sells the best CCC in Bogotá. My quest has left me disappointed, emotionally drained, and trying to avoid diabetes.
My advice is to dunk your chocolate chip cookies in coffee. If you don’t drink coffee, order a glass of milk or a hot chocolate – anything to disguise the slight staleness, saltiness, or sugariness of the cookie that you are likely to experience. And more importantly, let me know if you find a better CCC!
Editor’s note: Following Meagan’s quest we received a gift pack of cookies from Sweet Tale. You can order them online so it wouldn’t be fair to include them in her quest. But the editorial team agreed they are pretty good.
By Meagan Mahar