Sunday, June 01, 2008

Souplantation's Cookies

Souplantation is a harmless (I don't mean that sarcastically) and serviceable way to detox from a weeklong meat binge. It's also perfect when you want to please the vegetarian in your midst. We took a visiting Indian colleague who was "veg", and he gushed about it for days.

But Souplantation's got an even higher purpose for existence: their chocolate chip cookies.

In my opinion, these are the greatest chocolate chip cookies the universe has ever known. They make Mrs. Fields look like a two-bit fraud.

Bagged as a baker's dozen (that's 13 cookies!) you'll see them near the end of the buffet line. Yet most people ignore them. After all, why buy the cookies when they are given away for free inside, next to the desserts?

But to shove them in your gullet willy-nilly as part of an AYCE gorge-fest will make you oblivious to how good they actually are.

I, on the other hand, bypass the meal entirely, and pay for the bag of cookies to take home.

These cookies are worth relishing slowly, away from all the rush.

When you do, you'll notice how buttery and not overly sweet they are. The edges are crisp and slightly porous, like sea coral. In the middle -- if it's a particularly big cookie -- there will be an area of softness that's wonderfully chewy.

To ensure you're eating the best possible, a "baked fresh" label is attached to the bag with plastic twine. Check it if you'd like, but it will always be the same date you bought them.

Now the bad news. This month, like the price of all foodstuffs, I noticed that the cost for a bag jumped modestly from $1.79 to $1.99. On closer inspection of the ingredient's list, I may have figured out why; The margarine is gone, replaced by a "palm oil butter blend". The rest of the roster remains the same; flour, chocolate chips, water, sugar, bown sugar, eggs, baking powder, salt and vanilla.

But since this "palm oil butter blend" is presumably trans-fat free, it makes the cookies actually healthier. And if 20 cents ensures this, it's two dimes I'd happily part with.

I wouldn't take this as a license to binge though...a cookie is still a cookie, after all.

THIS WEEK ON OC WEEKLY:
Springbok - Long Beach

22 Comments:

At 9:40 AM, Blogger WSL98787 said...

Yum! I remember having these cookies a few years ago. So buttery and chewy. Great cookies, and great photos elmomonster!

 
At 6:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You mention that these cookies include “palm oil butter blend”.

Did you know production of palm oil is responsible for the widespread destruction of rainforests in Southeast Asia? Rainforests are being destroyed and replaced by monoculture oil palm plantations.

Species which used to live in the rainforests, such as orang-utans, tigers, elephants and rhinos, are facing extinction due to habitat loss.

Perhaps you should think about that next time you enjoy these cookies with “palm oil butter blend”.

 
At 7:09 PM, Blogger Desert Squirrel said...

funny you mention souplantation... i just ate there yesterday! except rather than the cookies, i made sure i had plenty of the vanilla soft serve over the warm, delicious, and crunchy apple strawberry cobbler... =)

 
At 11:50 PM, Anonymous Eileen said...

I love Souplantation. Just went there a few days ago for their special Strawberry menu. Love the strawberry salad and strawberry muffin (and strawbery green tea & strawberry lemonade... yum). I don't really remember seeing those cookies. I'll pay closer attention next time I go. Definately want to get a bag to try.

 
At 12:28 AM, Blogger ChristianZ said...

Souplantation actually has some decent stuff. I use them sort of as Elmo does, as a big culinary purge and reset, if that makes any sense. As far as the cookies go they've been around as long as I can remember and quite often the workers will go around and hand them out for free right after a batch comes out of the oven . . . one or possibly two cookies per customer.

And, without knocking Souplantation's cookies in any way, I will say, Elmo, that you will have to try my homemade ones sometime.

 
At 3:37 PM, Blogger digkv said...

Hey anon!

Did you also know that palm oil production is the major means of income of these Southeast Asian countries and by boycotting these products you are crippling their main export and thus their economy. Of course it is a major problem that forests are being destroyed but until a plan that can properly ensure a stable economy while preserving the ecosystem has been made, don't be so judgemental!

Oh and lovely post elmo I really don't remember how these cookies taste but your description makes them sound truly perfect, chewy and buttery and soft!

 
At 5:30 PM, Anonymous evelyn said...

Wah, you just awakened my cravings again! Those cookies look heavenly.

 
At 7:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

OKAY, SO I READ THIS BLOG TODAY AND SAW PICTURES OF THESE COOKIES...
I WANTED TO START MY DIET TODAY, BUT COULDN'T RESIST A BITE OF THOSE "DELICIOUS COOKIES". SO ON MY WAY HOME TO WORK, I STOPPED BY THE NEAREST SOUPLANTATION TO PICK UP SOME COOKIES, ONLY TO BE EXTREMELY DISAPPOINTED...
WHY YOU ASK? BECAUSE THESE COOKIES ARE HORRIBLE. I CAN'T EVEN TASTE THE CHOCOLATE CHIPS...AND COMPARING THESE COOKIES TO MRS. FIELDS? ARE YOU SERIOUS?!?!?
I DONT KNOW IF THESE ARE THE COOKIES FOR THE PEOPLE TO BUY THE BUFFET, BUT THE GUY AT THE REGISTER HAD TO GO TO THE BAKERY AND TAKE THEM OUT OF THE OVEN. DO NOT WASTE YOUR TWO DOLLARS ON THESE COOKIES! THERE ARE BETTER ALTERNATIVES, FOR EXAMPLE, MCDONALDS, CARLS JR, BURGER KING, AND ALBERTSONS....YES, I SAID ALBERTSONS FOR CRYING OUT LOUD...

 
At 7:02 PM, Blogger elmomonster said...

wsl98787,

Hey thanks! At this moment, I wish I had another bag!

Anonymous (or Richard Zimmerman),

I deleted your first and more diplomatic comment from my blog. It looked like a bot wrote it (and I've been swamped with bot spam), so that's why I got rid it. However, it sounds like you're a real live person with something to say.

But while I appreciate your opinion, my food blog is not the appropriate forum to debate anything other food.

So to anyone who is interested in how palm oil production in Southeast Asia affects the orangutans, here is Richard Zimmerman's website where you can find out more info:

http://redapes.org

desert squirrel,

Those are good too! Except they're a lot harder to take out!

Eileen,

If you're already inside the restaurant, definitely taste them there! However, if you're just coming in specifically for them, bypass the line and go all the way up to the cashier!

ChristianZ,

I'm sold. Let me know when you've baked a fresh batch!

Digkv,

Hey thanks for providing the counterpoint and for having my back! Always good for people to hear both sides of an issue.

Evelyn,

They are heavenly. And probably, like all other things good, not good for you either.

Anonymous,

Whoa! McDonald's?! HA! Well, at least you didn't say Chips Ahoy!

 
At 10:10 PM, Blogger Chubbypanda said...

Lol. So, palm oil and coconut oil are the only two vegetable oils with contain all the saturated fat/cholesterol hazards of butter, lard, and other animal products. That's what makes items containing those oils to delicious, and also why my cholesterol contaminated arteries can't have them. =D

My general philosophy is if you don't have them all that often, go ahead and enjoy cookies with butter or palm oil. Just don't make the mistake of thinking they're any healthier.

 
At 10:30 PM, Blogger nomnomnom said...

evil, evil cookies... Souplantation also makes evil cornbread too.

 
At 8:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

McDonalds has really good cookies!
VONS and ALBERTSONS have really good cookies (go to the bakery and self serve yourself)
7-ELEVEN(YUM!) Arby's(at participating locations).

 
At 12:14 PM, Anonymous JB said...

^^^First, I agree that the cookies sold at Vons and Pavilions in those transparent plastic containers are very good, esp. if you get a fresh batch. Peanut butter and sugar are two varieties I'd recommend. Don't know if all stores follow the same recipe but the Vons @ Adams and Harbor in Costa Mesa and the Pavilions on Beach Blvd. in HB are with the program.

Second, this thrifty NYC boy/buffet lover finally went to the Souplantation on Main Street in Irvine in March, and it was just the awesome carbohydrate-loaded/meat-devoid experience I was eagerly anticipating. I walked out of there on a Saturday at about 1:00, and didn't eat again for the rest of the day. I get set adrift on memory bliss just when I eyeball those Souplantation coupons you see inside Sunday's newspaper.

 
At 12:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh yeah, can't forget COSTCO!

 
At 12:41 PM, Blogger elmomonster said...

CP,

Word. I don't know why butter isn't used whenever possible. Grandma knew best!

nomnomnom,

You said it. I love the cornbread there too...slathered with plenty of that whipped butter, of course.

Anon, JB, and Anon,

Okay, yeah, the Costco cookies are also damned good. We buy them all the time. Except I just wish they were crispier. I'm of the crisp-cookie camp...less the chewy. I'll have to check out Pavillions. Though I'm not shocked that there are good cookies there...Pavillions makes the most awesome cheesecake!

 
At 2:25 PM, Blogger ChristianZ said...

I live the cornbread with the Honey Whip on it.

 
At 8:28 PM, OpenID tastymealsathome said...

YUMMM cookies..........

 
At 2:37 PM, Anonymous Josh said...

I appreciate the fact that Costco's cookies aren't that crisp- it means that they're baked fresh. Crispy cookies were built that way in order to be shelf-stable, where they could last for months and months. And, Costco cookies don't have to worry about lasting months on a shelf ;)

 
At 3:33 PM, Blogger elmomonster said...

Christian,

Ah yes. Honey whip. Taking something good, even better.

tastymealsathome,

Yum indeed!

josh,

Crispy cookies don't last long around me either.

 
At 2:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just wanted to say that the cookies are !@#$ing bomb!!1!!one

BTW, there are often buy 1 get 1 free coupons in the mail or Sunday OC Register (not always) for Soupplantation.

 
At 8:00 AM, Blogger elmomonster said...

Anon,

Er, I guess that means you liked it?! ;-)

 
At 5:11 AM, Blogger preeti said...

I am a big fan of souplantation and i always prefer souplatation while eating out.There bakery products are so fresh and so yummy.And i always keep an souplantation discount coupons with me by which i can save good money on food.

 

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