Does all the talk about rising gas and food prices have you reaching for the cookie jar?
They say a healthy diet and exercise can fall by the wayside as people feeling stress from a bad economy reach for feel-good foods.
But can you even afford a chocolate chip cookie?
We arranged a taste test and price comparison of chocolate chip cookies so you don't have to forgo your sugar for savings. We tried the store-bought and the Nestle Toll House from-scratch kinds, as well as all the spoon-and-bake and just-add-an-egg-and-butter versions on Safeway's shelves.
And we found — with five being the best rating — a clear winner, so you can get your real chocolaty and buttery cookie fix for about 19 cents a cookie. The ratings are at www.modbee.com/taste.
Tops with tasters and one of the best values
Betty Crocker chocolate chip cookie mix
Cost: $3.25 plus an egg (39 cents) and a stick of butter ($1)
Makes: 24 large cookies
Price per cookie: 19 cents
Tasters' take: Buttery and flavorful, these cookies are what homemade aspires to be. A few tasters thought there could be more chocolate chips.
Cost: Chocolate chips ($3.39); flour (57 cents); baking soda (less than a penny); salt (less than a penny); butter ($2); granulated sugar (38 cents); brown sugar (32 cents); vanilla (82 cents); eggs (78 cents)
Makes: 36 large cookies
Price per cookie: 23 cents
Tasters' take: Just like Mom used to make, because that's probably the recipe she used. But side by side with the other cookies, one taster thought, "Seems like a lot of work for an ordinary cookie."
Pillsbury ready-to-bake Big Deluxe Classics chocolate chip
Makes: 12 large cookies
Price per cookie: 33 cents
Tasters' take: Another mixed bag for our tasters; some thought these cookies had a delightful, airy crunch while others thought they were dry and had an odd, spicy flavor.
Nestle Toll House chocolate chip cookie dough
Makes: 32 large cookies
Price per cookie: 17 cents
Tasters' take: These cookies were overly sweet and unremarkable.
Safeway bakery ready-to-eat jumbo chocolate chunk cookies
Comes with: 16 large cookies
Price per cookie: 37 cents
Tasters' take: This super-chewy version would do in an absent-oven pinch, but the cookies were too sweet with a flat flavor.