Here's How The New Chips Ahoy! Cookies Taste

Is the updated Chips Ahoy! recipe an MMMprovement upon the original?

I have to hand it to Chips Ahoy!: Evidently, no other snack brand has ever claimed the term "MMMproved" when writing about their product's updated recipe. So when America's leading chocolate chip cookie brand announced this week that it's rolling out its biggest update in 10 years, it made use of the term many times (18, in fact) as it conveyed the particulars of these MMMprovements: "tastier chocolate, the right amount of chocolate chips and just the right cookie texture."

The new cookies roll out to stores nationwide this April, and Chips Ahoy! is so confident in these changes that the brand is enlisting beloved actor Keke Palmer to promote the rollout as well as launching an elaborate sweepstakes in which one lucky winner can score a trip to Malibu, etc. etc. But I'm way more interested in what's being touted about the cookie itself (emphasis mine):

"We wanted to challenge ourselves to step up our quality while staying true to what our fans already love,' said Sabrina Sierant, Senior Director Chips Ahoy! 'This was a daunting task, we heard time and again 'don't mess with the cookies we love,' but we knew we could bring Chips Ahoy! fans an even higher quality cookie that maintains all the things they already loved, like just the right amount of chip to cookie ratio. It took testing more than 60 recipes – and five thousand hours in the kitchen – but this Chips Ahoy! MMMproved original blue-bag recipe is the best overall cookie experience we've ever created."

Bold claims, no? It's only fair that we verify them in a side-by-side taste test, directly comparing the former recipe to the new one to see if we can detect those 5,000 hours of effort.

Old Chips Ahoy! vs. new Chips Ahoy!

On paper, the two products remain largely the same. The ingredient lists are virtually identical, with a small indication that more vanilla has been added to the chocolate chips for improved—sorry, MMMproved—flavor. Meanwhile, the only difference in their nutrition labels is that the new cookie features one more gram of protein per serving (one serving is three cookies).

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Nabisco notes that a new mixing process has been implemented to create "just the right cookie texture," and this is at least visually evident: The new cookies are much craggier, the chocolate chips wedged haphazardly into their bumpy surface. They also seem to have a paler complexion, rather than the toasty hue of their predecessor.

I can attest that there really is a slight, ever so noticeable difference in texture between the two cookies. Both are crispy, their crumb almost sandy in your mouth as you chew, but the new version is less brittle and crackling with each bite. It is by no means softer, just more yielding, somehow.

Having dug the chocolate chips out of each cookie with my fingernails like an animal rifling through a trash bin to evaluate them on their own merits, I can also say that the chips taste largely the same between the two cookies, but the new ones are more likely to be broken up into smaller pieces (maybe due to that new mixing technique?), and they're a bit creamier. Could this be because one package happened to be fresher than the other? Unclear. But since customers probably won't be eating the new cookies side-by-side with the old ones, it's unlikely anyone will be able to tell the difference between the recipes.

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That, it turns out, is the biggest takeaway here: The recipe changes are evident, but it's ultimately a distinction without a difference. Chips Ahoy!'s MMMprovements are nothing the average consumer could be expected to detect, but that's probably not the point so much as being able to give the average consumer the feeling that they're purchasing something new. Isn't that what all these sweepstakes and celebrity endorsements are meant to accomplish? This is new! New is good! New is better! And sure, maybe a little. But if this narrow margin of improvement is what 5,000 hours of experimentation yields, well, perhaps the field of snack innovation has bumped up against the ceiling of what a mass-produced chocolate chip cookie can be.Anyone who loves the current Chips Ahoy! chocolate chip cookie needn't be too worried about the new formulation. After all, shoppers can take comfort in the fact that the new package will be completely identical to the old one in at least one way: I opened it to find a significant percentage of the cookies were broken.

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