For years, I've been going to Torchy's and ordering a couple of tacos (except the one time I ordered three, which was a mistake) and leaving fully satiated. Sometimes a chips and guacamole or salsa or queso situation is involved. Never once have I ordered dessert.
This isn't for lack of consideration. I've eyed the sometimes stale-looking packaged "Love Puppies" (dark chocolate brownies apparently available in different flavors) with no small amount of skepticism, but I've always pondered the "Nookies," or "deep-fried chocolate chip cookies," with curiosity. The confounding issue is always stomach space.
So the question is: Are the nookies worth your dollars and stomach space? Let's break it down:
Cost: For three golf-ball-size nookies, you'll shell out $3.95. A baker's dozen will cost you $11.95, or less than a dollar a nookie. Not a terrible deal if you split the order with friends.
Appearance: A few maraschino cherries come alongside the nookies, which are dusted in the lightest sprinkling of powdered sugar. If I'm not mistaken, the outside of the nookies is rolled in slightly pulverized Rice Krispies and they are fried to a golden, medium-firm crisp.
Feel: By medium-firm, I mean that yes, I could pick a nookie up intact, but yes, I was also slightly worried the very soft ball was going to give way to a cookie-dough meltdown in my hand. At least they weren't too hot to handle — they arrived lukewarm, which was the first, shall we say, sign.
Taste: Upon first bite, it became clear that the description on the Torchy's menu (at least on its website) is substantially misleading. These are not deep-fried cookies; these are straight-up, deep-fried balls of COOKIE DOUGH. The interior is gooey, with some chocolate chips still partially intact and others forming a melty, warm pool in a glob of otherwise sticky cookie dough. The nookies are a mess to eat, in case you were wondering; keep the napkins close.* Even though they were deep-fried, the Rice Krispies were a tiny bit chewy rather than creating the super-crisp crust I was hoping for, and taste-wise? There was a subtle essence of salty cardboard. The cookie dough itself is a pretty standard, semi-enticing cookie dough, albeit with a very one-dimensional flavor, so much so that I popped a maraschino cherry in hopes of adding some kind of balance to the doughy, saccharine sweetness. It helped a tiny bit.
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The biggest problem I had with the nookies is that — as with all things consumed in cookie dough form — they weren't as satisfying to me as a whole baked cookie. Because the nookies are just dense little calorie balls, it would be easy to pop all three of them in one go and still be less satisfied than when eating one really good cookie, simply because the dough isn't that good.
So to answer the question: Are the nookies worth it? For the cost, they're really pretty reasonable, but in terms of the satisfaction factor, my verdict is no: Save your stomach space for the tacos and get your dessert fix elsewhere.
*Lesson learned: It is definitely better to pop these in one bite than taking multiple bites.