The $155 Peanut Butter Cookie

If you could take a few moments to wrap your head around just how huge our food supply chain is, the result would be mind numbing. It’s 24/7, 365 and therefore never stops.

This massive food machine and its unpredictability makes the food safety of all of the things that we eat a key concern among consumers. How is it handled?

All around the country food and beverage testing lab equipment is used to evaluate the quality and integrity of solid and liquid food samples. They test for moisture, fat, protein, pH, salts, food allergens, shelf life, nutrition analysis and much more. Although a majority of this testing is critical for food safety, some of this testing is also used for old fashioned standard quality control.

After reading a few articles about food and beverage testing and geeking out on some of the equipment that they use and how they calibrate it, I came across a website by a government group called the National Institute of Standards and Technology or NIST. They make food products (amongst other items) so that you can calibrate machinery and equipment to accurately measure ingredients and values in many of the foods that we eat.

Technically speaking, you could actually eat any of these foods and they wouldn’t leave all that bad of a taste in your mouth. From a financial standpoint there are way better tasting and more exciting versions on your local grocery stores shelves at a fraction of the cost.

It was almost impossible to not ask my self, what could you make with these ingredients? How much would it cost? The peanut butter stood out as something easy to work with so I started with that. A simple peanut butter cookie seemed like a good start. Solid. Timeless. Classic. What was needed now was a simple recipe without too many extra bells and whistles. A peanut butter cookie. The recipe itself is nothing special, I converted it to grams and dropped the yield to 24 cookies.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Makes: 24 really expensive cookies

*Items in bold are from the National Institute of Standards and Technology

· 188g WHEAT FLOUR $2,489.00

· 4.5g BAKING SODA $80.55

· ¼ tsp baking powder $.05

· 2.85g SALT $9.43

· 113g unsalted butter, softened $1.48

· 125g granulated sugar $.04

· 110g packed light brown sugar $.03


· 5.5g WHOLE EGG POWDER $95.26

· 15g GISP WATER $365.25

· 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract $4.00

· 180g BAKERS CHOCOLATE $342.59

Grand Total for 24 Peanut Butter Cookies: $3727.28 or $155.30 per cookie

I couldn’t help but to look through the list of everything the NIST had to offer and list a few of the items that stood out…just in case you needed them.

· Dry Cat Food 50g@$866.00

· Wheat Flour 50g@$662.00

· Soy Milk 100ml.@ $866.00

· D-Glucose 50g@ $464.00

· Peanut Butter 510g @ $866.00

· Milk Powder 50g @ $866.00

· Yerba Matte Leaves 20g@$1167.00

· Baking Chocolate 455g @ 866.00

· Whole Egg Powder 50g @$866.00

· Soy Flour 50g @ $866.00

· GISP (Greenland Ice Sheet Precipitation) Water 20ml. @ $487.00

· Iodized Table Salt 200g @ $662.00

Published by Jason Stroh

I am a Los Angeles based food stylist and chef

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