The hunt for the ultimate chocolate chip cookie

The five best cheap and quick spots in Charlottesville to grab this classic cookie

chocolate-chip-cookie-insomnia
It’s no surprise that Insomnia takes the number one spot on this list. Ally Donberger | Cavalier Daily

Chocolate chip cookies are an iconic dessert option that never fails to satisfy the craving for something sweet. However, the effort of baking a whole batch is time consuming and often makes so many cookies that many end up going to waste.

While nothing can quite beat a gooey chocolate chip cookie fresh from the oven, Charlottesville offers University students a couple different options for grabbing a quick but delicious cookie on a college budget. Some restaurant cookies are better than others, so I’ve ranked the five best fast and inexpensive options that Charlottesville has to offer students.

While not a bad flavor, this cookie was definitely the most artificial tasting.


5. Subway

Although Subway had the cheapest option out of the five locations, offering one cookie for only $0.69, the chocolate chip cookie’s taste reflected its lower price. The cookie was about three inches in diameter and was perfectly round. The chocolate chips were all semisweet and evenly dispersed throughout the cookie. It was crispy around the edge and slightly chewy in the middle.

While not a bad flavor, this cookie was definitely the most artificial tasting out of the selection. It had a good texture but was not anything special. A cookie of equal quality could be purchased at any local grocery store. After eating a sub this would probably hit the spot, but I would look elsewhere if you are solely seeking a good chocolate chip cookie.

It is definitely worth purchasing the Panera cookie if you are a member and have the $0.99 bakery item upgrade on your order.


4. Panera

I was slightly disappointed with my Panera cookie. The chocolate chip cookies are always so beautifully displayed and tempt me whenever I order a meal. Perfectly round and about five inches in diameter at $2.29, the cookie is full of semisweet chocolate chunks of various sizes.

I was certain this would be in the top three best cookies — however, its texture let me down. The cookie was too crunchy. It needed to have a more chewy center to balance the crunchy edges. It most likely had been sitting out in the air for too long and probably would have tasted better freshly baked, as any cookie does.

The taste of the chocolate chips with the dough, however, was rich and delicious. It is definitely worth purchasing if you are a member and have the $0.99 bakery item upgrade on your order. Again, as with the Subway cookie, I would not go out of my way specifically for the purpose of purchasing this chocolate chip cookie.

The cookies are bursting with semisweet chunks, milk chocolate chips and dark chocolate chunks.


3. Zoës Kitchen

I am a dedicated fan of everything Zoës Kitchen. I was very upset not to give their cookie first place, although it still is definitely one of the best cookies I have had from a fast dining restaurant. It is about the same size as Panera’s cookie, priced at $2.39, five inches in diameter and is round — but in a more natural and imperfect way. The ingredients are all recognizable and are listed on the cookie’s sticker.

The best part about these cookies is the chocolate chips. The cookies are bursting with semisweet chunks, milk chocolate chips and dark chocolate chunks. Every bite is full of chocolatey goodness. The texture is both chewy and gooey which pairs nicely with the heaping amount of chocolate. However, the dough’s flavor is what prevented Zoës from achieving a higher ranking. The actual cookie does not have much flavor beyond what the chocolate provides. Despite this negative aspect, I would still recommend purchasing this cookie even without a meal.

The chocolate in the Chik-fil-A cookie was rich and melty.


2. Chick-fil-A

Chick-fil-A is more recognized for its milkshakes when it comes to the dessert department. However, their chocolate chip cookies are fantastic and should not be overshadowed. They are around three to four inches in diameter and filled with gooey semisweet chips. They are served freshly baked and were still so warm that they lost their perfect shape in the bag — yet their misshapen form did not impact the delicious taste.

The chocolate was rich and melty. Each bite offered multiple chips surrounded by a thick, chewy and slightly cakey dough. The key to the dough’s great flavor is the addition of oats to the mixture. The oats give the cookie a more distinct flavor that is able to be balanced against the chips without being lost. Grabbing a bag of six cookies for $6.99 on the go is the perfect snack to share with friends on a car ride or just to keep around for an indulgent treat.

It’s no surprise that Insomnia takes the number one spot on this list.


1. Insomnia Cookies

It’s no surprise that Insomnia takes the number one spot on this list. They know how to make a good cookie for only $1.60. I was interested to see if their taste was overrated compared to other options, but I am happy to pronounce their quality as superior to all the cookies in this list. They are about three inches in diameter and are formed into a natural circular shape. They are filled with layers of thick semi-sweet chocolate chunks.

Each cookie is served warm, and the chocolate chunks are soft and gooey throughout each bite. Their thick rectangular shape chunks are folded into the dough so perfectly that they are layered over each other. The dough maintains a rich flavor against the decadent chocolate and has the best flavor of all the cookies.

The best part of these cookies is the ability to have them delivered directly to your dorm or apartment. While a delivery fee is included and there is a minimum order required, it is definitely worth the cost. Nothing helps a long study session or bad day more than a box of freshly baked and melty chocolate chip cookies delivered right to your doorstep.

Ally Donberger is a Food Columnist for The Cavalier Daily. She can be reached at life@cavalierdaily.com

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