The 18 Best Cookies in America
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.
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).
Multiple locations; flourbakery.com
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.
Multiple locations; milkbarstore.com
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.
1208 W Webster Ave., Chicago, IL; 773-244-1174 or sweetmandybs.com
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.
Multiple locations; batterbakery.com
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!
Multiple locations; saltytart.com
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.
Multiple locations; lovejoybakers.com
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.
911 7th Ave., New York, NY; 212-245-2217 or petrossian.com
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.
2800 Kirby Dr B132, Houston, TX; 713-522-2012 or pondichericafe.com
9. Peanut Butter Sin-Wich Sandwich Cookie: BAKED & WIRED, WASHINGTON, D.C.
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.
1052 Thomas Jefferson St. NW, Washington, DC; 703-663-8727 or bakedandwired.com
10. Gingerbread Cookie: Sugar Bakeshop, Charleston, SC
Sugar is best known for its gorgeous, made-to-order layer cakes. But its cookies are not to be overlooked. We love the spicy gingerbread, which is basically Christmas in a bite.
59 1/2 Cannon St., Charleston, SC; 843-579-2891 or sugarbake.com
11. Salted Chocolate Buckwheat Cookie: Tartine, San Francisco, CA
San Francisco’s Tartine can do no wrong. Putting whole-grain flour in its chocolate cookie—-a move we never would have ordinarily endorsed—somehow gives them exactly the right texture: dense and fudgy, with a complex chocolate flavor.
600 Guerrero St., San Francisco, CA; 415-487-2600 or tartinebakery.com
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.
Multiple locations; bakerylorraine.com
14. 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.
522 19th Ave E, Seattle, WA; 206-735-7970 or hellorobincookies.com
15. 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.
167 W 74th St., New York, NY; 212-874-6080 or levainbakery.com
16. 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.
220 Meeting St., Providence, RI; 401-273-1066 or meetingstreetcafe.com
17. 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.
5466 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA; 323-634-9800 or milkjarcookies.com
18. 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.
314 Gray St., Houston, TX; 713-522-1900 or fluffbakebar.com