Cookies are one of the most popular desserts in the U.S. But there’s an endless array of types. Sugar cookies, M&M, peanut butter, oatmeal raisin, macadamia nut, and of course, the traditional chocolate chip cookie.
A more recent type of cookie that has become loved by some and loathed by others is the Lofthouse cookie. Lofthouses, more commonly known as frosted sugar cookies, are in fact a softer, thicker form of the traditional frosted sugar cookie. They’ve become a part of cookie pop culture due to strong reactions from fans and haters.
Participants were told to “Look at the cookies below…” then shown one of the following photos. We selected both photos due to their similar nature, which holds constant other factors that might influence participants’ ratings, like packaging, labelling, brand, etc.
Participants were then asked, "To what extent do you like these cookies?" and responded by answering on a 1-7 scale (1 = Not at all, 7 = Extremely). At the end of the survey, we included a question asking “Which of the following types of cookies have you eaten before? (select all that apply)” with both pictures of the cookies again shown; this question served to limit our analysis to just those who’d tried both types of cookies.
Using an independent samples t-test, we found that people liked chocolate chip cookies (avg. = 5.21) significantly more than Lofthouse frosted sugar cookies (avg. = 4.53), (p = 0.010). This difference of 0.68 for our tried-both-cookies participants was about the same as the difference for our full sample of participants (0.67). Gender did not influence the results (p = 0.388).
A cautionary note regarding these results. The interaction analyses are exploratory, and thus we’d put less faith in them replicating than the main results. The main results, while more likely to replicate if we ran this study again on MTurk, are beholden to our limited sample. It’s impossible to say how the results may change in a different sample, or a truly representative sample of the U.S. population. Nevertheless, for a cookie study the results are certainly interesting.
It looks like the more modern Lofthouse cookie is still inferior to good ol’ chocolate chip. At least according to our MTurk sample. But some of the disdain toward Lofthouses might be psychological, or the product of social norms that favor more traditional cookies like chocolate chip. So, if you’re trying to decide what cookies to bring to a party, chocolate chip might be your safest bet. But if you like Lofthouses, feel free to get some for yourself.