Soft Batch Cookie Crisis: to dye or not to dye. Please weigh in!

I'm working on developing a recipe for mock-Soft Batch cookies to share in my Sweets column. Getting oh-so-close! I've got the texture spot-on and the flavor is almost exactly where I want it.

The real issue is this: Soft Batch Cookies are made with oil and because there is no butter to brown during baking, they also include dye. This lets the cookies sneakily mimic "baked until golden brown."

I've made versions of them with butter, but even so they pale next to a real SB. And at any rate, using butter (clarified so it mimics oil more closely) makes 'em taste 1000000% more delicious than a real Soft Batch, which kind of misses the point of a copy cat recipe, no? The versions I've made with oil taste more accurate but look downright anemic.

So: to dye or not to dye? Normally, I would say no, but part of making a copy cat recipe is that it should mimic the original as closely as possible. Yet...dye is a contentious issue for many.

I would love to know what you, the denizens of Serious Eats Talk, think because I am developing this recipe for you.


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