Let's face it: We need a new dessert trend. Cupcakes are sooo Sex and the City circa 2002. And even the Cronut line is dying down (sometimes). For our new favorite sweet treats, we're going to make a case for the underdog: the deceptively humble and all-too-overlooked cookie. Sure, they can be simple, but there are also plenty of complex flavors out there. And either way, nothing is better with a cold glass of milk during the mid-afternoon doldrums.
Best Cookies in America
Best Cookies in America
19. FLUFFERNUTTER COOKIE: Fluff Bake Bar, Houston, TX
We’re all about fluffernutter sandwiches, except for from now on, we’re taking this Houston sweet shop’s approach: peanut-butter-oat biscuits instead of bread, and peanut-butter cream cheese along with the marshmallow fluff in the middle. Just make sure there’s an ice-cold glass of milk on the side.
Fluff Bake Bar
18. Birthday Cookie: Milk Jar Cookies, Los Angeles, CA
We can’t imagine a happier cookie than this rainbow sprinkle bomb. Perfect for a kid’s birthday party, or any rainy afternoon that needs a little cheer.
17. Garbage Cookie: Meeting Street Café, Providence, RI
The cookies at this college town favorite are the size of hubcaps. Get a Garbage Cookie, with chocolate chunks, white chocolate, raisins, coconut, walnuts and pecans, and then invite over a football team to help you finish it.
16. Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookie: Levain Bakery, New York, NY
These giant lumps of sinfully (read: perfectly) undercooked dough are Instagram ready….if you can manage to take a picture before diving in headfirst.
15. Orange Habanero Chocolate Chip Cookie: Hello Robin, Seattle, WA
A little bit sweet, a little bit tangy and a little bit spicy, this sophisticated sweet is a total flavor bomb. Make sure to pair it with a dish of ice cream from Robin’s partner Molly, who opens a seasonal scoop shop out of the bakery in the summer.
Think of this as the best Little Debbie you ever had.
13. Black and White Cookie: Glaser's Bake Shop, New York, NY
Black-and-white cookies are as essential to New York cuisine as bagels, pizza and pastrami sandwiches. For the best, head to this 112-year-old family-run bakery on the Upper East Side: The cookies are cakey and lemony, with a fluffy schmear of the famous frosting.
12. Dark Chocolate Lavender Macarons: Bakery Lorraine, San Antonio, TX
The owners of this San Antonio bakery met while working at Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery--and it shows. Everything is delicate and sophisticated, especially their rotating selection of herbaceous French macarons.
11. Salted Chocolate Rye Cookie: Tartine, San Francisco, CA
San Francisco’s Tartine can do no wrong. Putting whole-grain rye flour in its chocolate cookies--a move we never would have ordinarily endorsed--somehow gives them exactly the right texture: dense and fudgy, with a complex chocolate flavor.
Skip the lines at Georgetown Cupcakes and head around the corner to this local favorite. You can’t go wrong with anything on the menu, but our favorite is the Peanut Butter Sin-Wich, which is like a Reese’s in cookie form.
8. Chocolate Chili Cookies: Pondicheri Bake Lab, Houston, TX
Located above a beloved Indian restaurant, this bakery infuses its treats with South Asian spices--there’s cardamom in the madeleines, and a rich, chai-custard pie. We love the chocolate-chili cookies, which are basically oatmeal-chocolate-chip cookies with a major kick of extra flavor.
Pondicheri Bake Lab
7. Chocolate Chip Cookie: Petrossian Boutique and Café, New York, NY
There are no bells and whistles or fancy ingredients here. It’s simply the perfect version of a perfect food: crispy edges; soft, buttery middle; and a scattering of dark chocolate discs to ensure ideal chip-to-batter ratio.
6. Ginger Molasses: Lovejoy, Portland, OR
With floor-to-ceiling windows, this Portland bakery is unfailingly pleasant--especially with a cup of tea and a chewy, spicy Ginger Molasses cookie in hand.
5. Coconut Macaroons: Salty Tart, Minneapolis, MN
Reminder: In the great world of cookies, there are macarons (colorful merengue sandwiches usually found in Paris) and macaroons (delightful mounds of toasted coconut). No one does the latter better than the Salty Tart, which uses real vanilla beans and tapioca syrup. Bonus: They’re gluten-free!
The Salty Tart
4. Chocolate Mint Cookie: Batter Bakery, San Francisco, CA
Mint-flavored desserts can be tricky: When things go awry, they taste an awful lot like toothpaste. Not so at this beloved San Francisco kiosk, run by a former accountant who quit her job to bake all day (life goals). Her cookies are deeply chocolately, with just a hint of minty freshness.
3. Ranger Cookie: Sweet Mandy B's, Chicago, IL
The Ranger Cookie--a favorite with the Chicago stroller set--is all about texture. Big and pleasingly lumpy, it’s filled with oats, walnuts, chocolate chips and Rice Krispies.
2. Compost Cookie: Momofuku Milk Bar, New York, NY
When it comes to desserts, Momofuku’s pastry chef Christina Tosi definitely takes an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach. The compost cookie has chocolate and butterscotch chips, graham cracker crumbs, oats, potato chips, pretzels and even coffee grounds. And somehow it all works.
1. Homemade Oreo: Flour, Boston, MA
It’s hard to imagine anything actually improving an Oreo. But Boston’s spectacular Flour bakery manages to do just that. Its version is part whoopie pie: soft and squishy, with a variety of flavored creams on the inside (we especially like the Matcha Green Tea).