1943 First Avenue South – Seattle (plus 2 other Seattle locations)
At the beach this week – in lovely Manzanita, Oregon. I am with my family, celebrating my mom’s 70th birthday. Knowing that I’d be kicking around here for 5 days with nothing more on the agenda than reading, running on the beach, munching on forty seven different types of snacks that come in bags that I rarely normally eat, drinking too much white wine, and hanging out with my kinfolk, I figured I’d have some extra time to track down and then tell you about a great beach cookie.
Alas, the only bakery I’ve seen here so far (Bread and Ocean) had some pretty decent-looking artisan loaves, but the two cookies in the case – a pale and crusty oatmeal raisin and a chocolate chip that seemed phoned-in – were less than compelling. Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever experienced a good bakery in a beach town. Could it be that the coastal dessert focus is so dominated by candy (fudge, sea foam and salt water taffy) that baked goods take a back seat? Note to self: give this pressing question more thought (and research) in order to arrive at an accurate thesis statement.
Luckily, my brother (who, as I’ve mentioned previously, carries my family’s cookie monster gene) and his girlfriend had made a stop at Seattle’s Macrina Bakery before heading down to the coast. The pink box bore a thoughtfully chosen array: snickerdoodles, ginger molasses, oatmeal raisin, chocolate chip – in addition to a unique take on the chocolate chip called Rick’s Chocolate Apricot Espresso. No relation to my brother, btw, who also happens to be called Rick.
That last one I mentioned (pictured just above) is much better than it may sound, although is sadly lacking in salt. I give high marks to the ginger (stronger cinnamon hit that usual and not shy with the molasses). The snickerdoodle, a cookie I typically find dry, cakey and relatively bland, was appropriately under-baked and had a nice hit of salted butter, and ended up being one of better snickerdoodles I’ve come across.
The star of the bunch for me was the oatmeal raisin – pictured at top. This may not seem surprising to anyone who knows me (and my unconcealed preferential treatment of oatmeal raisin cookies). But the truth of the matter is that because I love oatmeal raisin cookies so much, I am actually more critical difficult to please in this genre than I am in others.
Here’s why this one was good: Chewy and stiff (and when I say stiff I mean neither thin and floppy nor thin and crunchy) with a girthy center, surrounded by an ever-so-slightly crispy exterior. The brown sugar was dark and in addition to the raisins, and (I’m pretty sure) there were some finely chopped figs thrown into the mix, although it’s not listed on their menu, so I can’t be sure. Also, the pecans (and, in most cases, would ask you to hold the nuts when baking me a cookie) were chopped small, offering were a complimentary accent as opposed to completely dominating the experience, as they so often do. As is nearly always the case, it could use some salt. But other than that: aces.
P.S. photo-quality disclaimer: It was really windy and bright while I was taking these cookie portraits and if I had kept monkeying around with the angles and the posing the damn cookies would’ve blown right away from me. Honest.
(Rick’s Apricot Espresso Chocolate)