Baskin Robbins raises cookie dough to new standards

    Cast your mind back to the childhood fantasies of indulging into a bowl of cookie dough. Now transfer those pleasurable moments to scoops of vanilla ice cream, mixed with moist chocolate chips. In other words, treat yourself to luscious and appetizing chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream.

    But with the whole modern phenomenon of cookie dough craze, and about every ice cream parlor having it’s own version of the flavor, deciding which brand would best soothe your palate could be inconceivable. So the 19-member Voice staff has conducted a blind taste test of four different brands of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream to ease your quest for the perfect taste.

    In choosing the brands to be tested, we selected four commonly known ice cream industries in the United States, namely Haagen Daz, Dreyer’s Grand, Ben and Jerry’s, and Baskin Robbins. We asked the staff/panelists to rate and comment on each brand’s version of the cookie dough ice cream on a scale from one to five, without them knowing which brand they tasted.

    We also critiqued each brand on its price and calories from fat. Due to excess in Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, we decided to set up two stations for testing the brand, mainly to examine the consistency of flavor and quality in its products.

    — The main surprise that resulted from these tests was that the brands primarily credited for providing exquisite ice cream, such as Haagen Daz, failed in the eyes of our panelists to meet the standards of exceptional cookie dough quality. However Baskin Robbins seemed to present its cookie dough ice cream with a, "Perfect balance of sweetness and texture," as one panelist commented.

    Since flavor is the most important part of an ice cream, we used it as the primary criterion for the four different brands. The consumer looks for one key thing in flavor: does the product provide a credible taste for each of the ice cream’s ingredients, or is it just some plant-manufactured composition of preservatives?

    Haagen Daz received an average flavor score of 2.5, which is odd because Haagen Daz claims to use only all-natural ingredients into all its products. Yet, the panelists said the ice cream had an artificial vanilla taste and nasty aftertaste.

    Dreyer’s Grand received a slightly better rating of an average of 3, than Haagen Daz possibly because Dreyer’s has no preservatives and no artificial ingredients. Panelists had mixed thoughts on the ice cream such as "Vanilla [is] very creamy, cookie dough fair tasting" and "Chips kind of funny tasting."

    Ben and Jerry’s, which was tested twice, received two very different reports from the panelists. In one report, the ice cream received an average of 3.9 for taste, with comments such as "Thick, creamy, pretty good!" However in the second report it received an average score of 2.1, and comments from the panelists stating that it had a bland and bad aftertaste. The difference in scores could be due to several reasons: several of the ice creams were slightly melted at the time of the test, and one sample of Ben and Jerry’s was scooped into plastic cups, and the other in Styrofoam cups, which may have had an effect on the taste or smell.

    Baskin Robbins led the flavor score with an average of 4.1, and was declared by many of the panelists as being very sweet.
    Texture was the next main criteria, with creamy vanilla feel, chewy cookie dough, and crunchy chips as optimum features. Haagen Daz once again received a low average of 2.3, with the panelists claiming "Cookie dough soggy" and "Poor texture." Dreyer’s Grand got a 3.2 on average, with diverse comments ranging from "Texture is odd" to "Texture was nice."

    The first sample of Ben and Jerry’s received an average score of 4.4, the brand leader in texture of ice creams. Almost all the panelists agreed that the dough and chips were abundant, and crunchy. But responding to Sample B of Ben and Jerry’s, panelists said the brand was average of 2.6. Baskin Robbins received an average of 4.3, just trailing behind Ben and Jerry’s. Panelists mainly felt the ice cream had "Good texture" and "Creamy texture."

    Though not as important as the flavor and texture of the ice cream, cheap prices and low calories from fat are seen as ideal in an ice cream. Haagen Daz has a fairly expensive price per pint, set at $3.19, however still less than Ben and Jerry’s $3.59.

    Dreyer’s Grand is priced at $2.85, and Baskin Robbins at $2.25.
    In regards to calories, Dreyer’s Grand is the healthiest way to go with 80 calories from fat per _ cup serving. Ben and Jerry’s is middling in its amount of fat, and has 130 calories from fat per _ serving. Haagen Daz and Baskin Robbins top the fatty list with 180 and 160 calories of fat per _ cup serving, respectively.

    Recent studies have shown that fat is not too much of an issue with consumers, but for the health-conscious Dreyer’s Grand is a good way to go with a reasonable taste and texture as an added bonus. Ben and Jerry’s is a fine choice for exquisite cookie dough, but should be ruled out for inconsistency in production and high price. Baskin Robbins is left as the primary choice with delicate texture set at a low price.