Wednesday, August 28, 2013

How to Administer a Cookie-Tasting Test




There are countless cookies on the shelves of grocery stores and in the catalogs of www.cookiesbydesign.com and other online retailers. Each package may promise sweet morsels of goodness, while others may have the flavor of sawdust. The best way to know which brands are excellent and which ones are sub-par is to try them all out for yourself. When sampling these cookies, you may be biased by the brand names, so it’s wise to go through a blind taste test. For tips on administering this fun and delicious test, follow these suggestions.

Setting Up
First, buy the cookies you wish to try out. You can compare 2 or more different varieties. You may wish to do a general cookie tasting test or stick to one category, say chocolate chip cookies. Next, get a head count of how many people are participating and use that number to decide how many disposable plates to use. Divide the plate into smaller equal sections with a permanent marker. Label each marked box on the plate with a number. On a separate piece of paper, write down which cookie brand you’ll assign to each number. This will serve as your key. Place each cookie or part of a cookie on its designated number. Bring these plates out on the table where your participants are sitting. Be sure the table has crackers and milk as well so they can cleanse their palates.

Giving the Test
Once everything is set up, you can tell your participants to begin. You may ask them to be blindfolded so the appearance of a cookie won’t bias them. On the other hand, this creates more work for you since you’ll have to hand your blind participants the cookies instead of asking them to feed themselves. It’s all a matter of what you intend to get out of the test. Let the cookie testers work at their own pace and take notes on paper or in their heads. Instruct the participants not to comment on the tastes, since this will affect others’ opinions. Everyone should have their own personal idea of what they like or dislike about a cookie. When all cookies are sampled, you may use your key to let them know which number goes with which cookie. Open up the floor for discussion. For more ideas on what other activities you can do with cookies, visit http://www.cookiesbydesign.com/.


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