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Ready-to-bake cookie doughs could be the solution to soothe your stress. Pastry chef and cookbook author Dede Wilson shares the scoop on the latest offerings on the market.
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A warm chocolate chip cookie might be the king of comfort food, but who has time to bother baking from scratch when you need to soothe your stress right away?Pastry chef and cookbook author Dede Wilson shares the scoop on ready-to-bake refrigerated cookie doughs.

ARE WARM, gooey chocolate chip cookies really as close as your supermarket refrigerator case? In times of stress many of us turn to comfort food, and what is more comforting than chocolate chip cookies straight from the oven?

“Today” put five ready-made cookie doughs to the test. Some come refrigerated, some are frozen. A couple can be found in supermarkets nationwide, others can be purchased at specialty food stores or over the phone or online.

We baked all of them to specification. In other words, if the manufacturer’s instructions said to bake at 375 degrees on an ungreased pan for 10 minutes, that’s what we did to give each of them a fair shake.

With all of the doughs, we used a heavy, sturdy baking pan. Also, just as when baking cookies from scratch, cooling them properly is important, so have a rack at hand. This allows air to circulate and the texture of the cookies will be their best.

Now all of the cookies contain some sort of flour, fat, sugar, eggs, chocolate, leaveners and flavorings.

Let’s get to the tasting!

NESTLE TOLL HOUSE: First we have two easily found versions. Nestlé Toll House dough comes two ways. This is their newest formulation, Nestlé Toll House Chocolate Chip “Just Break and Bake” Cookies. They come in an easy-to-use form. It’s a scored square of dough. Just pry the pieces apart and place them on your cookie sheet. They are available nationwide in most any large supermarket and the cost is about 18 cents per cookie. They have bleached, enriched flour and feature Nestlé semisweet chocolate chunks. They contain margarine (which is a partially hydrogenated fat), water, corn syrup solids, cornstarch, sodium aluminum phosphate (which is a leavener), vanilla extract and vanillin (which is an artificial vanilla). The label makes a point of saying that the dough is made on machines that process peanut products, which might be a concern for those with peanut allergies. Nestlé Toll House cookies are the chocolate chip cookie most of us grew up with, but when you make them at home, they don’t have the added corn syrup, cornstarch or vanilla.

PILLSBURY: These come in a tube; you just slice and bake. They also have a break-apart version, but we wanted to show you a tube style, as it is very popular. These are also available nationwide and the cost is also about

18 cents per cookie. They have similar ingredients to Nestlé but they use partially hydrogenated vegetable oil instead of margarine, there’s no corn syrup or cornstarch, but there are natural and artificial flavors added.

NAJLA’S: Najla’s Gone Chunky Hand-Shaped Frozen Cookie Dough is on the opposite end of the spectrum. These are preservative free and are made with organic flour and pure butter (no hydrogenated fats). They are also more costly at about $2 or $1 a piece. These are pricey, but they are huge and you could reduce the size if you like. You will pay more for an all-natural product like this and for ones that uses organic ingredients.

Nahjla’s can be ordered direct from the manufacturer by phone and can also find these in some specialty stores here in NYC. You can see that these come pre-portioned on their own little parchment round, ready to be placed on a baking sheet. The first thing that stands out with these is that they have large chocolate chunks.

DANCING DEER Dancing Deer is a Boston-based company that burst on the scene in the early ’90s, originally as a retail bakery providing baked goods for local coffeehouses. Last year they introduced their frozen cookie dough, which is available directly from them, either ordered online or by phone. It comes in a tub and the cookies cost about 53 cents a piece. This dough features unbleached flour, butter, brown sugar, pure vanilla and semisweet chocolate chip. There is also an ingredient not found in any of the other cookies. Can you tell what it is? They include rolled oats, which gives them a hearty chewy texture. The ingredients are all-natural, as are the Nahjla’s, and similar to a cookie you would make from scratch at home.

MAURY’S Maury’s All Natural Cookie Dough has its beginnings in NYC. Maury Rubin’s City Bakery is famous for its tarts, homemade marshmallows and their gigantic cookies. Now you can buy the dough and slice and bake them at home in a more modest size. They can be found nationwide at Whole Foods stores and locally at Food Emporium and cost about 30 cents per cookie. These list organic unsalted butter, flour, cane sugar, and organic eggs. This dough is an all-natural product with no preservatives. The company also supports NY State farmers and is committed to local agriculture. While the chocolate is not organic it is very high quality. It’s Valrhona chocolate, which I happen to love. These came with instructions to bake either eight minutes for chewy or 12 minutes for crispy and with a suggestion that they can be made in the toaster oven. You could do this with any of the cookies and this way, if you just want a few cookies, you can have them fresh and hot without turning on your big oven.