The Daily Info Team took it upon ourselves to do a team review of Ben's Cookies (it's a hard life). Here's our half-baked opinions in the post-cookie conversation:
Maddy: As designated cookie collector, I was pleased to find that there was no queue for the Ben's Cookies stand in the covered market today (there often is). I was greeted with cheer by the young man behind the counter, who took my order quickly and efficiently. In the background, his colleague patted down lumps of dough for the next batch of freshly baked cookies. Very authentic. The cookies are priced by weight, and ours came to £6.70 for 5. So around £1.30 each. It would be pricey for a bog-standard biscuit, but that's the way the sweet treat crumbles when it is almost more like a cake. And as for the taste-teste, I'll let the others give their esteemed opinions. Over to Michael...
Michael: The cookie is enticing. It seems to contain unruly amounts of chocolate, within and without - even that pecan perched candiedly on top isn't enough to keep me away. I bite it - the taste is delicious. I chew it - it has the all-important power of squidge. More skimpily widthed cookies might have a hint of this no-bake ethos, but at this level, I pause to consider my health. There is no need - this is Ben's. Nothing negative can emanate from Ben's. From South Kensington to Kuwait, it's a Quentin Blake-graced brand to trust. And maybe much like Guinness, the taste is better, nay truer, the closer you are to the source. As the Covered Market is the origin from which these delectable treats came, Oxford probably has the claim on the Ur-cookie. These are my impressions of the simple 'Dark Chocolate & Nuts' creation - this is without the menu's other tantalising prospects of dates, double ginger, peanut butter or cranberry and white chocolate being involved. Get 'em fresh - they're baked on the day from dough driven in from Oxford's outskirts in the early morning.
Maddy: Susie, can you offer us your musings on the success of the BC?
Susie: The very point of Ben's Cookies is that they avoid the too-common causes of cookie disappointment (too chewy or too hard). Their makers have understood that the best cookies should not stray too far from the cookie dough, and they've managed to get the knack of cooking their cookies just enough to retain a pleasing central goo with a light cakey exterior and crisped edges. This is good. The different flavours of the cookies don't really seem to come out - bit too subtle. But really, who cares? Chocolate is nice.
Maddy: Agreed. Anything to add, Katy?
Katy: I tried the Chocolate Orange offering and there was a perfectly balanced combination of milk chocolate chunks and orange marmalade. The consistency of the cookie is, as Susie says, perfect - soft but the dough is baked enough to comfortably hold in one hand without fear of breakage. Best bought while still hot to enjoy the gooey chocolate delight. Dunking not recommended.
Maddy: And what about you, Russell, do you have an opinion on BC?
Russell: Ben's cookies have always been one of my favourites, with the cookie seeming to find the right mix that almost makes them a cake (but not quite). This time I had Milk Chocolate Chunk and (my favourite) Triple Chocolate Chunk. One of the great elements of a Ben's cookie is that there actual chunks of chocolate inside. They don't hold back here and this is one of the reasons why they are my cookie of choice.
Indeed, I think we can conclude that they are THE cookie of choice and we should be proud to live in the birthplace of the Ben's Cookies empire.