Is Organic Sugar Better in Chocolate Chip Cookies?

Disclosure: I will receive some compensation for this post from Minted.com in the form of a credit for some of their awesome indie printed products. This works out perfectly for me because I was going to buy some anyway.

On Wednesday while grocery shopping with Timothy, he asked me if we could make cookies. I realized that I had never made regular old chocolate chip cookies with him, or for him. I always have a stock of different kinds of sugar in my house and I got to thinking, for a basic chocolate chip cookie, how would a chocolate chip cookie be different if made with organic or regular sugar.

Comparison of chocolate chip cookies

A comparison of regular sugar and organic sugar in simple chocolate chip cookies. Is the cost worth it?

As we head back into the the school year and then, gasp, into the holiday season, I know I will be doing a lot more baking. When I got the opportunity to work with Minted I thought of baking even more because of their unique Christmas cards and gorgeous Christmas inspiration boards. With Timothy’s birthday coming up, I will also be checking out the pirate party decorations.

Well, the best way to test to see if it is worth it to fork over the extra cash for organic sugar when it comes to Christmas baking was to run an experiment with the chocolate chip cookie recipe that I have memorized.

The first comparison needs to be the cost. For one kilogram of the organic whole brown sugar that I buy, it is $7.19. Compared to the $2.79 for one kilogram of non-organic dark brown sugar, this is a huge difference. The organic granulated sugar is $5.99 for 907 grams and the non-organic granulated sugar is the same price as the brown sugar, $2.79  but you get two kilograms in a bag.

The next comparison would be to compare how healthy each sugar is. Frankly, I don’t intend to go into it in depth here because when it comes right down to it, sugar is sugar. If you are deeply concerned about the chemicals used to produce the non-organic sugar then you won’t really care about a comparison with organic sugar because you are probably a devout organic food buyer. The calories and effect on your insulin levels are very likely exactly the same whichever sugar you use; meaning, terribly bad for you. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that if you use a cup and a half of organic sugar, you are making healthy cookies for your kids. They are not healthy, they just cost $5 more.

The most important comparison for me, is how the cookies taste. For the sake of science, I also tried the raw cookie dough. You’re welcome. Ok, I tried a lot of cookie dough. In fact, I ate more cookie dough than actual cookies. The result: both doughs taste virtually the same. The cookies, however, did taste different. Unless the cookies were side by side, you might not notice though. Since I made the cookies only a couple days apart and I was looking for differences.

The cookies with the non-organic sugar tasted just fine. They had a lot more caramelization on the bottom and the top was much whiter. The cookies with the organic sugar had much more even colour. The flavour was also much more consistent throughout.

So, what is the verdict? Is it worth it? For me it is definitely worth it to use organic sugar to get the richer flavour in the cookies since I seem to make chocolate chip cookies once every four years. I also believe that cookies like these should be a real treat because of the high sugar and butter content. Real treats should cost money because one should think twice about making them. Although, if you make cookies all the time and just don’t care about the slightly better flavour you get with organic, then just go with the regular sugar since it wasn’t a marked difference between the two.

Basic Chocolate Chip Cookies

Traditional chocolate chip cookies.

15 minPrep Time

15 minCook Time

30 minTotal Time

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Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Stir together the flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
  3. Cream together the butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar.
  4. Beat the eggs into the creamed butter and sugar one at a time until thoroughly mixed. Mix in the vanilla.
  5. Stir the flour into butter mixture with a wooden spoon or use the paddle attachment on a stand mixture. When there isn't any flour visible, stir in the chocolate chips so that they are reasonably well distributed.
  6. Spoon the cookie dough onto the prepared pans with a cookie scoop, three across.
  7. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 14-16 minutes or until the edges of the cookies are golden brown.
  8. Remove the cookies from the pan and let cool on a rack. Best eaten still warm but will keep for 2 or 3 days (in theory).
Recipe Type: Cookies
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Comments

  1. Simon says

    When I see recipes like this I really wish I wasn’t gluten intolerant. I agree that it is worth the slight extra expense when these are a rare treat. Is it really five dollars more per batch?

    It’s early and I’m having trouble doing the conversions from kilograms to cups.

    • Christina says

      No – it isn’t $5 per batch. I exaggerated a little bit. I didn’t run the numbers on the exact cost per batch, but you are welcome too. 😉 (P.S. – to those who don’t know, Simon is my husband).

  2. says

    I bake way too much to justify the cost of buying organic sugar on the regular. I think that even though you can taste a subtle difference, most people (meaning my family, friends and co-workers) are too busy shoving cookies in their faces to even notice! Love that you did this comparison!

    • Christina says

      Thanks Robyn! I agree that when doing a large amount of baking that it isn’t really worth it. I know that at Christmas I will be using regular sugar in my baking. Christmas is expensive enough that I don’t need to add an extra $20 to the grocery bill.

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