Although Tiktok may appear to be full of trendy jokes and useless information, the multi-dimensional social media platform leads viewers on different (and occasionally useful) paths tailored to their interests: “Witchtok,” “Frogtok,” “Draco Malfoy Tikok,” and so on. If you’re like me, you’re on “Baking Tiktok.” From my “for you” page, I chose three random recipes with clear baking instructions. After completing the recipe, tasting the cookies, and noting potential adjustments I should make, eight volunteer participants tried each of the cookies and ranked them on a scale from 1-10. As a final verdict, I then found the average rating of each cookie.
The first recipe I chose to bake was for Cookie Monster cookies. After watching the video on a loop, I determined a list of instructions and ingredients.
- Combine 2 ¼ cups flour, 1 ½ teaspoons of cornstarch, 1 teaspoon baking powder, and 1 teaspoon of salt in a bowl. Whisk, and set aside.
- Melt 2 sticks of butter, and set aside to cool in a separate bowl
- Once the butter has cooled, mix in ¾ cup brown sugar, and ½ cup white sugar. Mix everything in the second bowl until “super combined”
- Add in 1 whole egg and 1 additional egg yolk, stir in 1 teaspoon of vanilla, and add in blue food coloring. Mix until “super combined.”
- Combine both bowls, and then form the dough into balls, adding chunks of chocolate into the center.
- Flatten the balls onto a baking sheet, and then chill the dough for two hours in the refrigerator.
- Bake at 350℉ for 20 minutes
To my dismay, the cookies were bright green instead of blue, and the chocolate inside of the cookies did not melt (this could be because a specific brand was required, but not specified in the video). Secondly, 20 minutes was an unnecessarily long amount of time to bake. I discovered that 14 minutes, or maybe a little less, is ideal. This recipe was the most difficult and the most time consuming of the three. Tobias Klooster (‘21), said the cookies “seemed like a plain sugar cookie,” but he was pleasantly “surprised…with the hidden chocolate filling.” It received an average rating of 6.75/10.
For the second treat, I made peanut butter cookies:
- Combine 1 cup brown sugar, 1 cup peanut butter, 1 large egg, 1 teaspoon baking soda, and ½ cup chocolate chips. Mix thoroughly.
- Divide dough into 12 balls on baking sheet
- Bake at 350℉ for 8-10 minutes
This recipe was very easy and required the most basic ingredients of the three. The only necessary change to the instructions was to bake the cookies for at least ten minutes—eight was not enough. Volunteer Halle Koelzer (‘23) described this cookie as “just a little dry.” Others noted its strong peanut butter taste; those who do not love peanut butter will not likely love these cookies. This recipe received a rating of 8.0625/10.
The last video I found was the most appealing to me, but had gaps in the information. It instructed:
- Mix one box of red velvet cake mix, 1/2 cup of vegetable oil, and 2 eggs
- Bake at 350℉
With the recipe being a little vague, I had to do some improvising. For the cake mix, I chose the Betty Croker brand; however, the original recipe did not include how long the cookies should be baked for. With some experimenting, I came to the conclusion that ten minutes was the perfect amount of time. This recipe was my personal favorite, taking both the preparation and consumption into consideration. After review, these cookies received the highest score of 8.5625/10.
To my surprise, all three of these recipes proved to be a success. Once I sifted through the nonsense, I was pleasantly surprised to find that maybe we underestimate the value of the information gained from TikTok.
Special thanks to the volunteers: Tara Kloostra, Breck McCloskey, Bodia McCloskey, Tobias Klooster, Halle Koelzer, Natalie Telman, Abby Wieschhorster, and Jenna Grzelak.