In case you somehow don't know this, I'm a bit of a fanatic when it comes to chocolate chip cookies. I'm extremely particular and I rarely buy them since the ritual of making them is (more than) half the comfort for me but also, I am a human being and when I pass a window that offers warm gooey chocolate chip cookies I want one. I've passed Ben's Cookies a number of times and been pretty skeptical because they looked like they were made with too much baking powder for my preference. I personally use an all baking soda recipe but have professionally also used a combo powder/soda recipe that I've found acceptable. Too much powder definitely ruins the cookie for me. But after pilates the other day I gave in because what's the point of exercise if not to immediately indulge in warm cookies afterwards?*
I got a regular bittersweet chocolate chunk cookie and an orange and milk chocolate cookie. I appreciated that the cookies were warm and freshly baked and that the chocolate seemed to be of good quality and was still melty. The cookies were both soft in the middle and crispy on the outside, another quality I can't fault. They were really cake-y though, which I'm not into. I would definitely guess that I was correct in my initial assumption of too much baking powder for my preference. The cookie itself was also lacking in flavor. I wanted it to have more vanilla, brown sugar and salt. I really can't overstate the importance of salt in a good chocolate chip cookie. I'm not talking anything fancy (though a sprinkling of Maldon never hurt anyone) but salt in your dough makes the chocolate taste more chocolatey, it's so important.
Upon doing a quick search for Ben's Cookies to remind myself where else in Seoul I had seen one, I discovered that they're not a small Korean chain but actually a much larger chain UK based chain. According to their FAQ, all the dough is made outside of Oxford and then transported to stores to be baked off which explains why even though the dough was clearly freshly baked the cookies didn't quite have the freshly made taste I wanted.
If you're not too particular about your cookies, Ben's Cookies is probably fine but if you want some real fresh baked chocolate chip cookies, drop me a line, I'm always looking for an excuse to put my KitchenAid to work.
Ben's Cookies is located on Itaewon-ro
*I guess for keeping my hands from randomly going numb and undoing the the ruin years of staring down at a work bench has done to my back OR SOMETHING. I'm still going with pastry eating as my real reason.