Equal parts buttery and brittle, Tate’s Bake Shop cookies offer sweet proof that you can never be too rich or too thin, exactly what you’d expect from a treat born in the Hamptons. They also tell an amazing and unlikely success story; one that began with a 21-year-old somehow convincing the world that it needed another chocolate chip cookie, and ended with a $500 million sale to food conglomerate Mondelez in 2018.
Along the way, founder Kathleen King has expanded her line to include brownies, coffee cakes, ceramic cookie jars, Tate’s scented candles and of course lots more cookie varieties, but the original is still the one to beat. Toasty and caramel-colored, deceptively simple yet utterly irresistible, Tate’s continues to produce the best mass-market chocolate chip cookie out there, Mondelez — the company behind Sour Patch Kids, Oreos and Clorets — having had the good sense not to mess with a winner.
Which brings us to Tate’s two newest cookies, vegan chocolate chip and vegan vanilla maple, both available for the first time beginning today. The increasing popularity of veganism would seem to pose a threat to empires built on eggs, milk and dairy butter, but Tate’s has reportedly spent years working on perfecting recipes for cookies without them.
No cookie can stand up to milk like Tate’s and I was pleased to discover that the crackerlike snap and strength of the original is achievable minus cows and chickens. Each has zero cholesterol and about a gram less fat than the original as well, which will come as good news to those on a never-ending, oxymoronic quest for healthy cookies.
Anyone seeking a satisfyingly rich flavor experience will be less thrilled, I’m afraid, and for that I blame the original Tate’s, which long ago convinced us that the best cookies are those with high dairy butter content. No combination of sunflower or palm oil, pea protein or the like has yet produced a substance that tastes and bakes like dairy butter. Plant butter cookies tend to be blonder in color, sandier in texture, and okay-tasting at best. Tate’s vegan varieties are better than OK — particularly the vanilla maple, which has the advantage of a pleasing graham cracker-esque flavor and no reputation to live up to — and will not go overlooked in the cookie jar. Indeed, for all I know, there may well be no better vegan cookies out there than Tate’s. Whether they are worthy of the name is another matter.
Tate’s new line of vegan cookies goes on sale today. Visit tatesbakeshop.com for more information.