Sunday, August 28, 2016

Village Bakery Kitchen Sink Cookies (Aldi)

Don't get too excited...they're basically a very good peanut butter-chocolate cookie.
On our last shopping trip, we bought some Chocolate Chunk cookies from Village Bakery; it had been a long time since I'd had them, and some chocolate chip cookies sounded really good. I quickly skimmed to see what other varieties they had available—I think I saw an oatmeal raisin something or other, which doesn't appeal to me—and was about to call it a day when a purple label caught my eye. It was called “Kitchen Sink”, an obvious ode to all the ingredients that it has being akin to them putting in everything “but the kitchen sink.” I was slightly intrigued, but we decided to stick with the chocolate chunk version.
As soon as we got home, I fired up the old computer and did a little research on the ol' Kitchen Sink cookies. What did others think of them? Were they that good? Much to my surprise, I could find little in the way of other bloggers' reviews for them, but what I did find piqued my interest level up even more than most reviews could: A PLMA award for best cookie of 2015. Enticed, I also looked up the PLMA, because I had no idea what the hell that was or what this prestigious award stood for.

I learned that it stands for Private Label Manufacturers Association. They have end-of-the-year awards where they go through dozens of off-brand products across three dozen different categories (everything ranging from cereals, to side dishes, to cakes and pies, and just about everything in between), and pick a product that they feel best exemplifies that category. Obviously, it's not just limited to products at Aldi, but rather any store-brand product across the entire nation (in fact, out of all the different categories, Aldi only claimed the top spot on two of them). So out of every single cookie the judges tried, this one took the top spot.

Look at all those delicious, unnecessary ingredients...
So what are these Kitchen Sink cookies? That's the question you have probably been asking yourself the entire time it has taken you to read the previous three paragraphs. Well, as the name alludes, there are really no set recipes for these; it's just a way to clear your pantry by throwing as many sweet things in as you can. In Village Bakery's version, they are peanut butter cookies with chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, chunks of white chocolate, little bits of pretzel, and finished off with some coconut. How can all of these possibly combine into something that doesn't taste like a complete mess?

They're not the taste sensation that the PLMA was leading me to believe they would be, but what we have here is basically an above-average peanut butter-chocolate cookie. Since the cookie base is peanut butter, and there are added peanut butter chips, it makes sense that's the dominant flavor, with large chunks of milk chocolate coming in right behind. The rest of the ingredients leave little-to-no-mark on the proceedings...I love white chocolate, and didn't really notice it all that much, while the pretzels and coconut seem to add only to the texture, by giving the soft, chewy cookies some added crunch. I was a little worried about the coconut since it's one of the few things I don't like at all, but I couldn't taste it one bit.

I was very disappointed at first, but over the course of what amounted to almost the entire package (my wife did not like them and only ate two or three out of the included ten), I really grew to like them for what they were. They aren't as mind-blowing, or even as complex, as all the ingredients would lead you to believe, so dial back your expectations a bit and you should be just fine. Assuming you like peanut butter and chocolate, of course.

Overall: 7.5/10. Really, these are just an unnecessarily over-the-top presentation of a typical peanut butter-chocolate cookie. Ignore a majority of the ingredient list, because the white chocolate is barely noticeable (at least it was to me), and all I can tell that the pretzels and coconut left behind is a crunchier texture. I don't generally like peanut butter cookies, but these are perfectly soft, and the peanut butter is counterbalanced by the chocolate, so it's not the overwhelming flavor. Once the disappointment of expecting a much crazier taste explosion died down, I slowly grew to appreciate these for what they were, and I would definitely get them again at some point in the future. For the sake of full discourse, and as a second opinion, my wife was less than impressed.

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