Chonky, Crumbl, Last Crumb: Softball-Sized, Goo-Filled Cookies Are 2021’s Hottest Dessert
Boozy kombucha, over-the-top charcuterie boards and spicy condiments have ruled 2021. But we’re feasting our appetite on the sweetest food trend of the year: giant cookies. It seems like everywhere we turn, there’s another gourmet cookie brand slinging massive made-for-Instagram confections, oozing with all kinds of frostings and fillings. Here’s everything you need to know about the trend, plus ten of our favorite places to order from.
Levain Bakery, an iconic New York City bread shop-turned-cookie haven, may have started the giant cookie trend back in 1995 (Gideon’s Bakehouse at Walt Disney World Resort, which is famous for small-batch, handmade cookies the size of your head, also has five years of baking giant cookies under its belt). And while it’s tough to compete with their classic flavors, like chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin, hordes of purveyors nowadays are baking up a ton of unconventional cookies that boast a wide range of unexpected ingredients.
Google Trends’s top results for cookies reveal that a bunch of small businesses are exploding in popularity. Searches for Crumbl, a Utah-founded bakery known for its signature pink cookie boxes, have shot up 3,750 percent over the past 90 days. Rush Hour Cookies n Cream Café, which sells fabled treats by Duchess Cookies at two shops in Queens and Brooklyn, is up 550 percent. Meanwhile, searches for extra-thick handhelds from the Insta-famous brand Chonky Cookies are up 350 percent, and L.A.’s Last Crumb, an exclusive cookie club with a massive waitlist, is close behind at 300 percent.
These direct-to-consumer brands ship cookies straight to hungry fans. Some, including Last Crumb, operate under a “drop” system, much like some streetwear and clothing brands do. Instead of ordering their baked goods at any time, consumers try their luck on a waitlist to snag exclusive curated cookies right after they’ve launched. Take My Cookie Dealer, a bakery that announces its limited-edition launches via social media and sells out in no time once the cookies drop.
Not only do the latest iterations of the giant cookie trend include super creative flavor combinations, but many also star a beyond-decadent gooey center. Whether it’s frosting, chocolate ganache or cheesecake, a slew of trending luxury cookies are stuffed with an absurd amount of filling (we credit Duchess Cookies with that movement, but more on them later).
Here are the details on some of our favorite giant cookie brands, plus the most outrageous flavors to order from each one.
1. Levain Bakery
The flavor to try: Chocolate Chip Walnut
Levain started it all. And while we’re all for over-the-top flavors, nothing hits the spot like a really, really good chocolate chip cookie. (Theirs are made with both semisweet and dark chips, BTW.) We’re also thoroughly obsessed with their dark chocolate chocolate chip cookies, which are rich enough in texture and flavor to cross over into brownie territory.
2. Last Crumb
The flavor to try: Not Today Mr. Muffin Man
We’re pretty in love with this exclusive cookie club. Not only do its flavors include top-tier classics and unconventional treats alike, but the box comes with a handy (and delightfully snarky) guide that explains the ingredients and inspiration for each cookie. The blueberry muffin-flavored cookie is decidedly flawless, but we also loved the banana pudding-infused Donkey Kong and the brown butter-salted caramel Macadamnia. Put your name on the waitlist so you’ll be notified when the next box drops.
3. Crumbl Cookies
The flavor to try: Classic Sugar
Crumbl’s menu of four to five epic cookies rotates weekly, besides its permanent milk chocolate chip offering. Previous flavors include the Pumpkin Cake topped with cream cheese frosting, the Funfetti sugar cookie filled with rainbow sprinkles and the Double Fudge Brownie, piled high with creamy chocolate ganache and brownie bites. But we have a soft spot for the chilled classic sugar cookie, which gets a modern makeover thanks to pink, almond-flavored frosting.
4. Duchess Cookies
The flavor to try: The Cookie Monster
Duchess is famous for its $1,000 cookie, but don’t fret: You can try the brand’s treats without dropping that much dough. There are standard and outlandish flavors alike, like Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup and Butterscotch Maple Bacon. But some of the most photogenic include the TwiZles, starburst pattern cookies that each boast a unique flavor mashup, and the Cookie Monster, a shocking blue sugar cookie stuffed with a gooey chocolate chip cookie.
5. Chonky Cookies
The flavor to try: The Bada Bing
There are tons of flavors to explore at Chonky, not to mention ice creams, coffees and cookie sundaes at their brick-and-mortar location. It’s *the* place for surprise-inside cookies stuffed with the most decadent of add-ins. We’re talking creations like the Cotton Candy Circus, filled with cotton candy and frosted animal crackers; the S’mores, filled with a massive marshmallow and milk chocolate; and our personal favorite, the Bada Bing, an almond-raspberry cookie stuffed with an Italian rainbow cookie. Talk about Insta-worthy.
6. Cookie Good
The flavor to try: Caramel Pretzel Chocolate Chunk
It’ll take a lot of dedication to try every flavor from this Santa Monica bakery, since they switch up the menu so often. You can expect cookies filled with candy, cookies that taste like doughnuts and, best (or worst) of all, cookies infused and rolled in Cheetos, both regular and Flamin’ Hot. Some of our current faves include the $100,000 Bar, loaded with milk chocolate, caramel and crisped rice, the Pumpkin Spice Donut and the sweet-and-salty Caramel Pretzel Chocolate Chunk.
7. Cravory Cookies
The flavor to try: Ube
Since The Cravory opened in 2009, the bakery has sold more than 5,000 unique cookie flavors—and the masterminds behind them aren’t running out of ideas any time soon. Go for an assortment of bestsellers including the Lemon Bar, Red Velvet and Salted Caramel Cream cookies, or branch out with the Adventurous Cookie Mix, which boasts off-the-cuff flavors like Pancakes & Bacon, Rosemary Balsamic and Taro, a starchy root vegetable.
8. Big Fat Cookie
The flavor to try: Apple Pie-ish
This Chicago bakery has no shortage of cookie options available, but we’re blown away by their giant Thanksgiving cookies pack, which contains four pie-inspired cookies that your guests will be just as impressed (and twice as surprised) by. Brace your tastebuds for the Pecan Cookie Pie, starring chocolate, pecans and caramel in a mini pie shell; the Chocolate Pumpkin, a cinnamon sugar-coated pumpkin cookie made with white and semisweet chocolate chips; the S’mores Cookie Pie, a graham cookie shell packed with bittersweet chocolate ganache and toasted marshmallows, and the Apple Pie-ish, a classic butter cookie filled with Granny Smith apples, cinnamon, caramel and streusel.
9. Gooey on the Inside
The flavor to try: Biscoff & Cream
The nostalgia is strong with these flavors that will wake up your inner child. If cookies are all about molten centers and creamy fillings to you, look no further than Gooey on the Inside’s hazelnut cream-filled Bueno Bueno, the cream cheese frosting-stuffed Red Velvet or the new Biscoff & Cream, a golden white chocolate cookie stuffed with cookie butter custard and topped with Biscoff spread and cookie crumbs.
10. Bell’s Cookie Co.
The flavor to try: Lemon Blueberry Shortbread
Sweet-and-salty lovers will go wild for The Pantry, which contains coffee, pretzel pieces, toffee bits and white chocolate, and The Bells, a chocolate chip cookie made with toffee bits, potato chips and pecans. Fall fanatics can opt for the Maple Snickerdoodle, a vanilla-spiked treat made with Saigon cinnamon. But we’re most eager to try the Lemon Blueberry Shortbread, a cookie that proves shortbread doesn’t need to be simple and boring.