The Cookie Corner: Cookie review

Selected cookies from Giant Eagle, Yummy for Every Tummy Bakery and Insomnia Cookies can all be found within four blocks in Indiana. (Dave Gershgorn/ The Penn)

In the last few years, Indiana has seen an influx of bakeries and specialty baked goods shops: Insomnia Cookies, Yummy for Every Tummy Bakery, Simply Cupcakes and Six Hand Bakery.

I took a walk around town on a sunny Thursday afternoon and collected cookies from a few different shops to see what each cookie purveyor had to offer.

The cookie I used as a “control” was Giant Eagle Express’ Maximum Chocolate Chunk cookie, sold for 99 cents at the checkout counter.

Their cookie tasted processed, a little hard around the edges but relatively soft and chocolatey – a very average store-bought cookie.

The two cookie shops I focused on were the two newest in town, Insomnia Cookies and Yummy for Every Tummy.

Each shop’s cookie varied in taste and texture as widely as their niches do.

Insomnia Cookies aims to please the late-night college students by offering warm, freshly baked cookies until 3 a.m.

On the other hand, Yummy for Every Tummy Bakery markets to the health-conscious consumer with a sweet tooth, offering an entirely vegan array of sweets alongside gluten-free options. They close at 7 p.m., so those looking for a late-night vegan treat will have to plan ahead.

First, we’ll taste the chocolate chip from Insomnia Cookies.

This is definitely your traditional chocolate chip cookie.

A consistent dough with large chunks of chocolate throughout, this cookie doesn’t leave you wanting for anything besides a large glass of milk.

Having eaten these cookies both warm and after cooling, it’s obv-ious these are meant to be eaten fresh from the oven.

Fresh, they’re gooey and soft, not too doughy, but after a couple of hours, the processed flavors begin to come out – the allure of the fresh cookie fades.

Compared to the Giant Eagle cookie, it tastes less processed but is similar after being left out for a while.

Moral of the story, eat these cookies right away. Although you’ll have a hard time doing otherwise.

Second, Yummy for Every Tummy makes two varieties of chocolate chip cookies.

They have their more traditional vegan chocolate chip and a gluten-free variety as well (which is also vegan).

The only-vegan cookie is defined by a greater contrast in the size of its chunks. Large, nickel-sized chunks of chocolate are lodged in a dough of finely ground chocolate specks, which is well-spiced and engaging.

This cookie is definitely more refined than the Insomnia cookie, which is one you might imagine baking yourself.

Yummy for Every Tummy’s cookie is more nuanced with hints of nutmeg and a consistent chocolate flavor throughout.

The cookie is served at room temperature but still maintains a reasonable softness.

The difference between this and the Giant Eagle cookie is night and day – Yummy for Every Tummy has no processed taste and is obviously made in a smaller bakery rather than on a large production scale.

Yummy for Every Tummy’s gluten-free cookie is a far cry from your traditional idea of a chocolate chip. It’s much thicker, has no extruding chunks of chocolate, and looks to be more granular in its dough.

However, gluten-free is the only alternative for those with celiac disease, and Yummy for Every Tummy makes a good run at the cookie for those who would otherwise be unable to enjoy it.

Initially, the gluten-free chocolate chip cookie is much more doughy than any of the other cookies reviewed.

It is also different in shape, more like a mound of dough than a cookie that melted into shape during the baking process. The dough is more coarse, but not unpleasant.

It’s still definitely in the range of a cookie.

The cookie has fewer chocolate chunks than any of the other cookies but still has the flecked chocolate present in the Yummy for Every Tummy’s other vegan cookie.

The aftertaste of the cookie betrays its nature; a distinctly gluten-free taste – closer to uncooked dough than an already-baked cookie – overpowers the initial chocolate and spices.

This is because of the gluten-free flour used to bake the cookies, which often is a blend of other gluten-free flours to simulate the taste of an all-purpose or baking flour.

The difference in shape, texture and flavor makes Yummy for Every Tummy’s chocolate chip a poor doppelganger for the Giant Eagle cookie, but it offers a unique opportunity to the gluten-free community: a tasty substitute for a small-batch chocolate chip cookie.