While many rave about the tacos from Two Brothers, fawn over the cheese fries from Bin 612 and praise the Dooey Nachos from The Little Dooey, Stromboli’s cookie dough bites are one of the most famous local Starkville dishes that I can also replicate in my own kitchen. The recipe seems simple enough: cookie dough securely wrapped in fluffy, baked bread, garnished with confectioner’s sugar and dipped in chocolate sauce. As a college student who is still growing accustomed to the concept of cooking my own dinner, I figured this recipe would be easy enough for a rookie like me. I decided to test out different recipes in the hopes to replicate the iconic sweet treat from Stromboli’s.
Judging by my observations of the real cookie dough bites from Stromboli’s, I headed to the store to grab ingredients I thought were most similar to the dessert's. Since I wanted the recipe to resemble the real-deal, I purchased the exact brand of cookie dough the restaurant uses: Pillsbury Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. While Walmart did not have the giant tubs of cookie dough Stromboli’s uses, I purchased a 30-ounce stick of Pillsbury Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough for $3.12 instead. This roll of dough provides more than enough servings with over 30 bites in one stick.
The breading is the most difficult in terms of replication, so I grabbed a couple of different options to try: Pillsbury’s Original Flaky Layers biscuits for $1.77 and a two-pack of Pillsbury Original Crescents (16 crescent rolls total) for $3.77. I also grabbed a 32-ounce package of Great Value Confectioners Powdered Sugar for $1.32 and a 24-ounce bottle of Hershey’s milk chocolate syrup for $2.28 as the chocolate sauce. These last two ingredients are just there to enhance the experience and not essential to the cookie dough bite itself.
During my first attempts, I baked the bites two different times, and, during that process, I learned two things: how to wrap the bites and how long they should be in the oven. There are two methods to wrap the bites. During the first attempt, I used two pieces of a quartered biscuit, sandwiched a piece of cookie dough like a ravioli between them and pressed tightly at the crevices. Pressing them tightly at the crevices ensured the cookie would not melt out. During the second attempt, I simply wrapped the dough around the cookie into a ball.
After eight minutes, I took them out of the oven. The “ravioli” method seemed to look the most like Stromboli’s softened triangular-shaped cookie dough bites, but simply wrapping the dough around the cookie into a ball was quicker, easier and just as tasty. As for the length of time in the oven, 14 minutes at 350°F was too long, making the biscuit and crescent roll dough slightly brown and cooking the cookie fully.
For the third test-run, I wrapped each bite using the little ball method and left the bites in the oven for 10 minutes. Lightly garnished with a delicate layer of powdered sugar, this batch proved to hold the closest resemblance to Stromboli’s actual cookie dough bites.
For the fourth test-run, I replicated the successful cooking process and wrapping method from test three (350°F, tight little ball of dough-wrapped cookie, 12 minutes), but instead of using the Pillsbury flaky biscuits, I wrapped the quartered cookie dough in a small strip of Pillsbury Crescent Roll, making sure to secure the crevices tightly.
In terms of how much crescent roll dough to use, only tear off enough to cover and tightly secure the cookie dough. If the dough is pressed too thin, the cookie may leak out. On the other hand, if the dough is too thick, it will overpower the cookie. After twelve minutes, I took the bites out, and the results were also a successful resemblance to Stromboli’s. The only difference was the breading having a less biscuity flavor.
My advice would be to serve them while they are still hot and fresh. You should also tightly seal the cookie dough within whichever breading medium you choose (biscuit or crescent), so the cookie does not ooze out of any potential openings. You want the overall consistency of the outer dough to remain soft to the touch. Fully baked dough likely means the cookie inside is melted. Since ovens vary in heat settings, it is all a matter of testing out which time is ideal. For mine, I found 10 to 12 minutes the most consistent.
After finding the closest two recipes for the cookie dough bites, I asked three members of The Reflector staff to say which cookie dough bite—biscuit, crescent roll or original Stromboli’s—they enjoyed the most. They rated each bite on a scale of one to ten.
First, the staff sampled the original Stromboli’s cookie dough bites.
Upon the first bite, Devin Byrd, advertising manager, did not seem too impressed.
“I didn’t get to the cookie dough. There’s just a small hole of cookie dough. It’s incredibly chewy. I’d give it a six. If you ate more than one, I feel like it’d be pretty heavy," Byrd said.
Rosalind Hutton, editorial illustrator, felt similarly about the dough, even thought she rated the bite higher.
“I didn’t get any cookie dough, but it’s good dough. The second bite is definitely the best. It gets so much (cookie) in the second bite. It was still yummy but a lot of dough. I give it a 7.5," Hutton said.
Stromboli’s cookie dough bite scored an average rating of 6.8 out of 10.
The staff then tried the homemade cookie dough bite made of crescent roll dough.
“You can definitely taste the crescent roll to me, which is not a bad thing. This is what I would imagine a cookie dough bite is supposed to be. Eight,” Byrd said.
Dylan Bufkin, the opinion editor, shared similar sentiments.
“It’s a lot more like a cookie than the Stromboli’s one—handcrafted with love. Eight flat,” Bufkin said.
Hutton focused more on the crescent roll bite’s composition.
“Way more cookie, way less dough. The taste is completely different. The powdered sugar wasn’t overwhelming. This one’s definitely an 8.5 for me,” Hutton said.
Lastly, the staff taste-tested the third and final cookie dough bite which was wrapped in the Flaky Layers biscuit. Each staff member noted the saltiness of this cookie dough bite in comparison to the previous two.
“It tastes very similar to the one we just tried, but it’s a little more salty. It’s like a good comfort food,” Byrd said.
Bufkin pointed out the saltiness of this cookie dough bite as well.
“I think that (the saltiness) is the biscuit. This one feels more professional than the Stromboli’s one because it’s more firm. I’m going to say (this) one’s an 8.5 for me,” Bufkin said.
After testing each cookie dough bite, I asked each of the staff members to discuss their favorite cookie dough bite out of the three. Byrd and Hutton both preferred the crescent roll bite.
“You get a good amount of cookie dough versus the actual outside dough, and it was still sweet and actually warm still. (The biscuit bite) did have a little salty edge to it though. I liked that,” Hutton said.
While Bufkin enjoyed both homemade bites, his favorite cookie dough bite was made with biscuit dough.
“I think the third one’s my favorite because I like the casing. I like the mixture of the soft cookie dough and the biscuit. You kind of get a whole sweet-salty thing going on,” Bufkin said.
With the average ratings out of ten, the crescent roll bites prevailed with a score of 8.2. The biscuit bites were in second place with a score of 7.7 while Stromboli’s ended up in third with a score of 6.8.
I am not a chef, especially judging by my multiple attempts and fails for this recipe, but the final product turned out fairly well. While I do recommend stopping by Stromboli’s for the real deal dessert, this test-run recipe certainly gives you the convenience of homemade cookies with a Starkville twist.
While three cookie dough bites from Stromboli’s cost $2.99, the crescent roll cookie dough bite replication costs a total of $6.89. With powdered sugar and chocolate syrup included, the grand total is $10.49. Though my rendition of the cookie dough bites cost slightly more than Stromboli’s serving of three, this version makes a much larger portion with over 30 cookie dough bites, puts a new spin on homemade cookies and brings the local flare of Starkville culture to the comfort of one’s kitchen.