Eureka moments come in all shapes and sizes, from stumbling upon complex scientific formulas to realizing that you can actually bake using the cookie dough in ice cream.
We put that theory to a successful test using Ben & Jerry's, but finding out the answer just led to another important question: which store-bought cookie dough ice cream makes the best actual cookies? We scored the six major brands to find out. Science!
First, we scored the six different major ice cream brands: Breyers, Häagen-Dazs, Edy's, Baskin-Robbins, Friendly's, and ol' Ben & Jerry's. To separate the dough, we plopped the whole carton into a strainer, hit it with a faucet of hot water to wash away the ice cream, and picked out the nuggets like little chunks of gold before removing the excess water. Because food waste is bad, we also made a donation to a local food bank. Then, we baked! This is how they stacked up.
Friendly's is lacking in the chocolate chip department and also the tasting-good department. Hints of staleness and big notes of being rubbed on the floor... this is the worst possible outcome of this concept. This might suck.
Fun fact: Edy's is the Hardee's to Dreyer's Carl's Jr., and the container had by far the most dough. That means this cookie expanded in the oven to consume its neighbor, much like Unicron in Transformers: The Movie (1986), which is especially worth watching after consuming the substance that resulted in this whole half-baked idea. Whereas Transformers is actually my favorite movie, this was not my favorite cookie. It felt like a gag version of a cookie: cheap-tasting and over-the-top chocolatey in a nonsensical way. If I had to compare it to a Transformer, I would say this is Grimlock.
Mr. Robbins was the least endowed of the batch, and thus the resulting cookie is thin as a wafer (it didn't help that all the doughs lack eggs). We can't fault them on this, but what we can fault them on is that this doesn't taste at all like a cookie. It tastes like someone put a pint of ice cream in one of those machines that crush old cars into tiny cubes. As such, this bomb of sugar is shockingly satisfying on the first bite, but too sweet to actually enjoy.
This is a solidly adequate cookie. It's richer than usual, and although it isn't hitting you over the head with a flavor bat, it's clear that there's some juicing going on, as evidenced by a slight stain of burnt milk. It's still very edible, but would raise red flags to any upstanding cookie commissioner and might result in a suspension from major league cookie play.
The dainty chocolate chips in this classic Danish-by-way-of-the-Bronx brand didn't survive our de-creamification process, which is a shame, because a little bit of chocolate might've pushed this into first place. The gloriously golden balls resulted in an exponentially more flavorful experience, like the richness of 10 cookies was packed into one. Despite the intensity, this somehow managed to taste subtle and sophisticated (branding?) and didn't bludgeon my palate to death. Highly recommended.
1. Ben & Jerry's
It's hard to top a classic, and Ben & Jerry's comes out of the gate with the most traditional cookie vibes of the group. It's chocolatey, but not to a fault. The chips are substantial and the dough is flavorful, but it doesn't taste like an experiment conceived in a state of heightened consciousness (which it obviously is). This tastes like an old-fashioned cookie, and a damn good one at that.
This is a cookie that your grandmother could've baked if you lived in a Rockwell painting where grandmas didn't just smoke slims and drink G&Ts. This is a cookie that your mother could've made if she wasn't too busy working to pay for your liberal arts degree and fund your first two years as a recently graduated “philosopher." This is a cookie that you could actually make yourself if you weren't such a lazy-ass. And all you need to do to get one is waste $5 worth of delicious ice cream!
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Dan Gentile is a staff writer at Thrillist. To make up for the wastefulness in this article he gave a pint of ice cream to a homeless man. Follow him to forgetting to give the poor guy a spoon at @Dannosphere.