The Great Downtown Philadelphia Chocolate Chip Cookie Project

(UPDATED, 4/11/12) I’m a big fan of lists, especially ones that have rankings or otherwise note the best of a particular category.  It’s not too difficult to find countless roundups and surveys that espouse Philadelphia’s best restaurants, hoagies, pizza, hot sandwiches and, of course, cheesesteaks.

But you know what category of food in Philadelphia has not had much in the way of rankings or listings?  One of my favorite snacks: the chocolate chip cookie.  Sure, chocolate chip cookies are not exactly the first thing people think of in terms of Philadelphia food, but the great thing about them is that they’re so widespread.  Bakeries, coffee shops and even fast food restaurants all make chocolate chip cookies, with some more notable than others.

To say which cookie is the best in the city isn’t an easy task.  Everyone has different qualities they enjoy in a cookie, and there’s not really one perfect cookie.  Similarly, a cookie may be absolutely phenomenal but may also be prohibitively expensive.

So, after some research, word of mouth, personal experience and some aimless wandering, I tried out cookies from sixteen seventeen spots (a Sweet Sixteen (with one play-in) , if you will) within the Philadelphia downtown area with the potential for being among the best chocolate chip cookies in the city.  Just like the NCAA Basketball Tournament, I’m not guaranteeing that these selections are the fifteen best cookies in the city, but I can tell you that some or many of the best, along with my personal favorites in the city, are among them.  I tried to stick to mostly local spots, but truthfully, some chain locations had some great cookies I couldn’t ignore.

The additional superlative rankings are relatively self-explanatory and very scientific.   Continue reading