It’s hard to overshadow the pizza at Hollywood’s Stella Barra, but chef Jeff Mahin’s cookies do. Studded with everything from salty bacon to Rice Krispies Treats, they are our new must-grab snack for a flick next door at the ArcLight (but you didn’t hear that from us!).
A good cookie can be more than just a snack, too. Cookies have all of the nostalgia we love without the (cupcake) craze. Lately, pastry chefs around town have been pulling some admirable options out of their ovens. From downtown to the coast, here are some of our favorite cookies in L.A. today.
Genevieve’s Walnut Shortbread ($1.25) at Short Cake at The Original Farmers Market in Beverly Grove has a sandy texture thanks to the ground walnuts that are folded into the buttery dough. Though it’s a sweet bite, there’s enough salt in there to cut the sugar. Try it with a cup of tea. » Short Cake at The Farmers Market W. 3rd St., Beverly Grove, 323-761-7976 or shortcakela.com.
The Rye Chocolate Chip Cookie ($2) at Sycamore Kitchen on La Brea looks like it’s going to be a crisp and crunchy, and though it has a certain snap, the rye flour that it’s made with keeps it chewy. Dark chocolate shards offer a nice contrast to the cookie’s deep butterscotch flavors. » The Sycamore Kitchen, 143 S. La Brea Ave., Mid-City, 323-939-0151 or thesycamorekitchen.com.
Cookie Casa’s Molasses Sandwich Cookie ($3) uses fluffy vanilla buttercream against a pair of spicy ginger molasses to deliver a textural mouthful. Though they might sound ideal for the holidays, the cookies make a nice foil for an iced coffee when the days are hot. » Cookie Casa, 8116 Beverly Blvd., Beverly Grove, 310-922-6396 or cookiecasa.com.
It’s hard to beat the Chocolate Chip Cookie ($2) at Ramekin, Los Feliz’s dessert-centric cafe. Besides the fact that they’re baked to order and arrive at the table still warm, the cookie manages to be chock full of dark chocolate. Pastry chef Jason Park is now hosting a cookie contest for fans: which chocolate makes the better cookie, TCHO or Valrhona? Vote with your tastebuds now until the end of the month. » Ramekin, 1726 N. Vermont Ave., Los Feliz, 323-667-9627 or ramekinla.com.
Is this cookie full of crack? “No,” says baker Rose Lawrence of Culver City’s new Red Bread, it’s called the Cracked Cookie ($2) because “when it bakes it cracks in the center in unpredictable patterns.” Thanks to whole rolled oats, stone-ground chocolate, organic California walnuts, and a host of other healthful ingredients, this cookie is both good and good for you. » Red Bread, 13322 W. Washington Blvd., Culver City, 424-272-5752 or thebreadisred.com.
The Alfajores at Los Balcones del Peru are true to form. Two melt-in-your-mouth cookies are held together by caramel’s sexy sister, dulce de leche. Sometimes, coconut shards are used to keep the caramel cream from leaking out. At Hollywood’s best Peruvian joint, a single cookie is all you need. Consider ordering a cortado as well—the frothy espresso drink will cut the cookie’s sweetness and up your Latin cookie street cred. » Los Balcones del Peru, 1360 Vine St., Hollywood, 323-871-9600.
Other cookies we love: Sherry Yard’s OMG Cookie at Father’s Office (and soon, at her new Helm’s Bakery), Valerie Confections’ Durango Cookie, Milo & Olive’s Gluten-free Oatmeal Raisin Cookie, and Bouchon’s Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookie.