1603 NE Killingsworth St. – Portland
I’m pretty sure there is no bakery that sees my face more often than Seastar. But here’s the crazy thing: I don’t typically end up with a cookie or pastry when I’m there. Totally unintuitive, I know. This is not because the cookies and cakes and muffins aren’t good (they are!) but after filling myself with thick amazing corn durham toast (all of their breads and baked goods are made with flours that they mill themselves from several different types of whole grains sourced by local growers – a labor definitely worth their efforts, imo!), plus an egg – and also seasonal vegetables – both of them cooked in their beautiful wood fire oven, and also a side of tahini…and honey and butter – and 3 cups of coffee, I’m too stuffed for cookies and cakes and muffins.
Last weekend, however, I stopped in for breakfast with my brother on our way out of town heading up to Seattle and bought one of these butterscotch numbers that I’d actually been peeping for the past few weeks – a relatively new addition to their lineup. (He is possibly as cookie-curious as I am, something I think I’ve mentioned before). We tossed it in the backseat of his car for a future snack during our 3 hour drive.
Which we did – somewhere around Centralia, WA. And here is the upshot: this is the first public cookie I’ve eaten in months that moved me enough to write about. Which justifies my lack of a single new post in nearly 10 months, but is also the absolute truth.
Here’s what I want to tell you:
• The butterscotch flavor (aka brown sugar and butter, aka one of the very best combination of ingredients ever invented in the history of the world) is present and accounted for. Assertive, in a good way. Who has time for an unassertive cookie?
• Firm and slightly crispy along the circumference – soft and perfectly underbaked in the center.
• Butterscotchness enhanced by a thin drizzle of butterscotch sauce atop.
• Additional and unexpected embellishment: a sprinkling of finely ground coffee (or espresso?). Nice move, guys. This really pulled it all together quite nicely. I wouldn’t have thought of it on my own but I’m for sure stealing that idea.
Cheese & Crack Snack Shop
22 E 28th Ave – Portland
Here’s what’s in it:
• chocolate chips, oats, coconut, dried cranberries, black sesame seeds, rainbow sprinkles, olive oil, sea salt.
I am not going to tell you this cookie is phenomenal, but it IS good enough that I’d get it again. I’ve been loving sesame lately, been thinking about how to up its role in desserts (ice cream, cake, etc.). So big points right off the bat for the seeds. As for the
Grano Bakery & Market
1500 Washington St. – Oregon City
Brand new excellent bakery alert: Grano opened about a month ago, in downtown Oregon City. As I posted on my March 10th FB review of the place in which I mention their great bread, bread pudding, bostock…did I mention AMAZING bread, this place is completely worth the drive from Portland. (I can count on one hand the amount of FB reviews I’ve bothered to give or even thought about giving so, seriously: heads up on this one!)
Eltana Wood-Fired Bagel Cafe
4 locations – Seattle
I didn’t go to this place looking for a cookie. I mean it’s a bagel joint – a step above the typical bagel bakery offerings with things like fava bean spread and shakshuka on the menu (check it out) – but still, not a place I was expecting to find a remarkable cookie.
And then I remembered that, historically, some of my favorite cookies ever were found when I wasn’t looking for them, like at grocery store bakeries and taquerias and throwback 1990’s coffee shops.
I’ve been on sort of a tahini/sesame jag recently (fyi: a little swirl is so nice on vanilla ice cream with a drizzle of honey and salt), so I didn’t think twice when I told my bro to grab this tahini cookie when we were ordering our bagel lunch – the only cookie (or any kind of dessert, I think) in the entire place.
Conclusion: It was not a mistake! Okay, so imagine the sort of peanut butter cookie that is made mostly of peanut butter, held together with a little flour and sugar and (maybe?) eggs. And salt. (Salt is a must, especially in a nut/seed heavy cookie. I cannot say this too many times. This one could have used more, imo.) It’s that same sort of dense, protein-y texture as that cookie, but sesame-y instead of peanut-y (obvs). With even more sesame seeds sprinkled atop, as your eyes can see. You could eat this cookie in place of a protein bar and not feel like you were lying to yourself. No joke.
Points to Eltana for their out of the ordinary offering.
1603 NE Killingsworth St. – Portland
This is really more like a tiny cake – or a “cake-let” – than it is a cookie, if you want my opinion. (And if you’re reading this, you clearly do want my opinion.) No, I cannot back up that declaration academically. All I can tell you is that when I think of a molasses cookie, this is what comes into my head. Or this. Or anythingI’ve written about under the “ginger molasses” pull-category over to the right.
Whole Foods Market*
NE 15th and Fremont St. – Portland
*my review pertains to this specific Whole Foods only because, in fact, not all WF cookie bakers are created equally. (I’m talking to you, WF @ NE 28th and Burnside. Over-baking your cookies and then wrapping each one up in Saran? Stop it.)
What is happening to my mouth? I suddenly crave snickerdoodles regularly. For the first time in all my cookie-eating years.