There's not much new you can do with cookies, but God help the good people at Nabisco -- they're trying.
Less than a month ago, Nabisco felt the stirring desire for innovation -- a hunger, if you will. They set to task what I can only assume were a crack team of foodologists with their fingers on the pulse of American dietary trends. They came up with three things, a dynamic trio of dynamic duos, which, on paper, must've been at least half as impressive as the original draft for the Ten Commandments: The Brownie-filled Chips Ahoy!, the Birthday Cake Frosting-filled Chips Ahoy!, and last, but certainly not least, the Oreo Crème-filled Chips Ahoy! (That last one must've been a total "Duh!" moment for anyone on staff who'd ever even heard rumors of marijuana's effects on dietary habits.)
Now, I endeavored to try these culinary delights, but because I'm a good journalist, I did a little research beforehand -- more specifically, I perused the Wikipedia entry for Chips Ahoy!, which was surprisingly sparse. The cookies were introduced in 1963, named after (or just, coincidentally labeled) a sailor from an obscure Charles Dickens' short story. Even though the original recipe Chips Ahoy! have maintained the same bland, crumbly, disentigrate-in-your-milk-thereby-ruining-the-entire-point-of-chocolate-chip-cookies texture and flavor since Kennedy was running the country, they've gone through some serious changes. I mean, these guys have tried everything: Chewy Chips Ahoy!, Ice Cream flavored Chips Ahoy!, and even a few Reese's Peanut Butter Cup crossbreeds.. but this was different.
This time they put the stuff INSIDE the cookie.
So, last week, looking like a total weirdo, I went to Von's and bought the last box of Oreo-crème, the second-to-last box of Birthday Cake Frosting, and, because I had never seen it before and I figured I was going to go into diabetic shock either way, a box of the Gooey Brownie-filled Chips Ahoy! To manage the madness, I picked up a gallon of 2 percent milk, because whole is for weirdoes and 1 percent is for plebeians. Don't even get me started on skim.
I laid out the boxes, opened them up, and prepared for what would surely be a baked goods bacchanal for the ages. I went with the Brownie filled first, no milk - it was more chewy than gooey, and the cookies sort of dissolved around the chunk of brownie in the center. Weak stuff. Next, I reached for the Birthday Cake Frosting pack, and these are exactly what you'd expect: somebody took a syringe and injected the cookies with 20 CCs of low-grade vanilla frosting, with some wimpy sprinkles halfheartedly tossed in. The Birthday Cake aspects of the flavor -- which, I might add, has become an annoying trend (birthday cake ice cream, birthday cake m&ms, etc) -- were domineering at first, but quickly deviated into boring. Still a letdown.
But of course, the real reason I was here, the crown jewel of cookie chimeras, would not fail me: the Oreo-Crème filled. I took a cautious bite, a nibble, then a gobble. Then another cookie. There was barely enough crème in these things to make a dent, and the dry, powdery Chips Ahoy! soaked up any residual Oreo goodness that might've redeemed the snack.
Crestfallen, I gave all the cookies another try, this time really dunking them in the milk and letting 'em soak - barely an improvement. I tossed the packages in the backseat of my car, and forgot about them.
Until three days ago.
I had just picked up a friend, and he noticed the packages -- he was stoked that I purchased the novelty treats and wanted to chow down. I handed him the boxes with a heavy heart, explaining my disappointment, watching him select his cookies with the sympathy one has watching someone about to make the kind of terrible mistake you know they need to make in order to learn their lesson.
But then he kept eating them - all three varieties.
"I don't know what you're talking about, man," my friend said, vacuuming in another Oreo-Crème. "These are tops." (My friend's from the Midwest, so he says weird shit like "tops.")
I gaped, not ready to be so emotionally wounded again so soon, but I cautiously grabbed another Oreo-crème.
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I tried the other two brands -- equal bliss. Something about sitting in my hot car, with its leather seats and poor ventilation, over the course of the day had, somehow, heated the cookies to some perfect temperature and consistency. The filling melded with the cookie shell perfectly, the Brownie and the Oreo-Crème almost oven warm as they danced along my palate. Even the Birthday Cake lost its obnoxia, tasting like, well, a warm birthday cake.
It was a miracle -- and a real one, too; I tried to recreate the effect last night with both my oven and my microwave. The oven produced harder cookies, the microwave drier ones. Lose-lose. If I get desperate enough, I may try the toaster, but for now, I'm just leaving the cookies in the car, where on an average SoCal summer's day the temperature can get up to 98 -- apparently the perfect heat and humidity. In fact, I'd wager that this is such a miracle that a humble Prius could have such an influence on the packaged baked goods; it's one of those freak ideal circumstances, like a virgin birth, or how Dairy Queen Blizzards don't fall out of the cup when you hold them upside down.
It's a miracle, children -- so praise God, and buy the damn cookies.. just remember to let 'em sit back there for a couple hours.