For as many protein bars, cereal bars, powders, chips, peanut butter cups, and other snacky supplements Quest have released it’s pretty hard to believe it took them this long to get into the trendy protein cookie game. I generally find protein cookies to be pretty whack. Less desirable macro nutrients than a standard bar and inferior taste to an actual cookie, so who’s really winning here? There are a couple flavors of Lenny & Larry’s that are actually pretty tasty (Snickerdoodle and Lemon Poppyseed), and conversely the recent release by No Cow was so bad I couldn’t even bring myself to finish them. So how does the king of the protein world’s take stack up to the competition? With more grams of fat than a scoop of super premium ice cream, Erythritol, and soluble corn fiber I’m not feeling too optimistic, but let’s find out.
The cookie has a nice golden blondie aroma mixed with protein powder zing and an authentic tan to light brown coloring with decently sized chocolate chips all throughout. Biting in I’m immediately hit with what I’ll call the “Quest Curse”, or, a very strong artificial sweetener presence that dominates the whole profile. Quest have always had a problem with using too much sucralose, but since they’ve switched it up and fallen in love with Stevia and Erythritol I find the flavors, and in particular the aftertaste, much harder to ignore.
The texture is incredibly soft, although there is none of the outer crisp that makes a great cookie really shine. It’s soft and slightly crumbly, and I’ll give Quest some credit they aren’t dry or unpleasantly toothy at all. The chocolate chips are pure unsweetened chocolate, which is both good and bad for the overall experience. It’s good because there’s a legitimate rich cocoa flavor that comes through in the sizable chunks and nothing funky or artificial going on, but they do detract from the sweetness that I want when eating a cookie. I know Quest are very proud to have less than one gram of sugar in these cookies, but if they put two or three grams in there with the chocolate it might have made for a more well rounded naughty snack replacement.
The intensity of the Stevia fades the more that I eat, and I actually don’t hate the cookie, but the real problem is this isn’t any better, and actually is less enjoyable, than Quest’s solid Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough protein bar. While this might be a good option if you’re really trying to watch your carb intake and need a cookie fix, I don’t see any other reason to not just have a regular old Quest bar for better flavor and macros.
Nutrition: 250 cal – 17g fat – 10g sat fat – 220mg sodium – 19g carb – 9g fiber – 15g protein
Double Chocolate Chip:
In terms of texture, size, and appearance, the double chocolate version is very similar to the regular chocolate chip, with a much more pronounced cocoa aroma. The cocoa aroma translates convincingly to the actual flavor, as the deep chocolate flavor of the real cocoa they used tastes pretty damn good. There’s still a bit of Stevia zing that rounds out the finish, but the heavy chocolate does a better job of masking the fake sugars.
The inside is slightly dryer than the regular CC, and once again the use of unsweetened chips keeps the sweetness teetering on the low side for a cookie, but still pretty enjoyable. It’s worth noting that these cookies are also gluten free, so in addition to being low carb and moderate protein they could be a nice treat for someone with bready sensitivities. This double chocolate is a decently executed treat, but again, I don’t find it anymore enjoyable than one of my favorite Quest bars – Double Chocolate Chunk, which has half the fat, less calories, more protein, and very comparable carbs and fiber. In the realm of protein cookies, it’s not a bad attempt, but I can’t help but feel that as a whole it’s just kind of unnecessary.
Nutrition: 240 cal – 16g fat – 10g sat fat – 190mg sodium – 20g carb – 10g fiber – 15g protein
The smell of this one is a bit off putting. There’s a decent peanut aroma that comes through but it’s much closer to powdered peanut butter than the real thing, weighed down by a distinct protein-y presence that doesn’t really get me excited like a cookie should. Texturally it’s much denser than the others with a heavy firmness that makes sense for peanut butter but isn’t too enticing. Biting in it does have a nice slightly crunchy, sugar crystallized exterior that gives way to a softer more cookie-like interior and is pretty damn satisfying. The slight addition of 2 grams of sugar really helps here, at least in terms of texture.
The flavor, much like the others, isn’t terribly sweet, and is greatly defined by its unpleasant one-two-punch of Erythritol and Stevia. Peanut butter definitely comes through, and there are even little chunks of peanuts in the cookie, but as is the case with a lot of peanut butter flavored protein products, this one misses the mark on delivering the butter’s depth and deliciousness. The aftertaste on this ones seems even stronger than the ones with chocolate in them, as there’s no bittersweet cocoa escape from the dominant artificial landscape of the Quest cookie base. This cookie in particular, with its high fat content and weird flavoring, just doesn’t make sense to eat as a supplement. For the same fat, less carbs, and more protein you could have two tablespoons of real peanut butter and a half serving of any protein powder, which would be not only healthier but more enjoyable too.
Nutrition: 250 cal – 17g fat – 8g sat fat – 240mg sodium – 18g carb – 9g fiber – 2g sugar – 15g protein
Oatmeal raisin cookies may not be the coolest cookies in the bunch but I’m actually pretty fond of their classic pairing of toothy oats and spicy sweetness, so I was surprised but pretty happy Quest chose this flavor for their launch. The aroma is pretty good – nice and cinnamon forward with just a bit of haunting artificial sweetener lingering beneath the surface. The texture is soft and chewy with a bit of extra heft from the oats and feels the closest to a “real” cookie out of the four.
The flavor, unfortunately is still very heavy on the stevia and actually made me wince as I was chewing. The raisins add nice little pops of genuine sweetness, but the overwhelming flavor of artificiality takes over and makes it overall unappealing. I was hoping that the cinnamon would save the day and make the cookie the best of the bunch but it actually wound up being my least favorite, despite the fact that I do enjoy actual oatmeal raisin quite a bit. The fake flavors don’t linger around quite as long as the ones with chocolate, but it just isn’t a pleasant experience that I would ever want to have again.
Nutrition: 250 cal – 14g fat – 8g sat fat – 220mg sodium – 25g carb – 12g fiber – 3g sugar – 15g protein