by Lisa O’Neill
For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a weakness for the perfect or near-perfect cookie. Oatmeal chocolate chip with pecan is my go-to, but other flavors can rock my world such as peanut butter chocolate chunk, peanut butter & jelly, salted oatmeal raisin and the occasional Snickerdoodle.
Even though I’m not professionally consulted, I have a highly-tuned “sweet-tooth” palate. And with many years, and cookies, under my belt, let’s just agree that I’m a cookie expert. Should any bakery or cookie specialist want to hire us for public relations, we have high baked-good standards (and so should you). By the way, I can bake a damn good oatmeal chocolate chip cookie, so my self-proclaimed expertise does include experience in product development. With that, I present my list of Austin’s best cookies:
This tiny spot may be the top ranking in the city even though they don’t sell my beloved oatmeal chocolate chip with pecans. In fact, none of my top picks do, so guess I’m the winner in that category.
Thoroughbread produces four dreamy cookie flavors and each one is excellent. It is way too hard to order just one unless you live within walking distance and know you’ll be back within the next 24-48 hours. Fortunately, my family also loves cookies, so I order a few and we split them. These are BIG cookies and must be divided with a friend or eaten over time, otherwise, you’ll turn into a blob resembling cookie dough. Seriously.
If I had to pick my top two favorites, it’s the Peanut Butter & Jelly and Banana Nutella. They also have Chocolate Chip and Chocolate Chip Pecan. Get there at the right time, and you’ll receive these babies just out of the oven – heaven! — as well as a bit messy when the jelly or chocolate oozes out, but well worth it.
1709 Bluebonnet Lane, Austin 78704
Henbit is home to another massive, must-share or eat-over-extended-time cookie. There’s only one flavor available which is fine by me – the Monster Cookie of chocolate chip pecan. As with a Thoroughbread cookie, time it right and get one just out of the oven for a melt-in-your-mouth piece of heaven on earth.
If I worked or lived downtown, I would probably weigh a few more pounds. The upside/downside if you don’t live or work in the vicinity is that it’s a hassle to drop in via car, as is anyplace downtown, parking garage or not. Please open a drive-through in South Austin!
Fareground Food Court, 111 Congress Avenue, Austin 78701
The chocolate chip cookie rules at this adorable West Austin restaurant which recently opened a walk-up bakery and coffee shop. Before entering the Austin market, they had built a reputation on this perfectly baked classic. It’s soft and slightly gooey, with just enough crisp on the outer edges. And these can be consumed easily in one sitting – in fact, you may be tempted to eat two.
1503 W. 35th Street, Austin 78703
For starters, this is one of Austin’s top bakeries with a history that takes me back to my college days and Quackenbush’s on Guadalupe. They exceed in much more than cookies – cakes, pies, cinnamon rolls, cupcakes, you name it. But, this is a celebration of the cookie and you can’t go wrong with either their Salty Oat or Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk. These large cookies are also shareable and affordable – a bonus!
411 E. 43rd Street, Austin 78751
OK, this family-owned spot is located in Georgetown, 25 miles north of Austin, but the baked goods are so fantastic, it must be on the list. I can’t go through town without making a stop for a Chocolate Chunk and/or Cranberry Oatmeal Walnut cookie. And, the bag or box usually gets filled with a few cupcakes, muffins or delicious savory croissants as well. Beware – they are closed Mondays and Tuesdays, so plan your visit accordingly.
107 E. 7th Street, Georgetown, TX 78626
Their warm cookie trio is the way to go. You get a chocolate chip, peanut butter and wildcard cookie that is perfect for sharing on a date or with your darling children. Just don’t read the calorie count provided on the menu. Fine to include for appetizers and main courses, but just not necessary for dessert. We know it’s going to be a big number – no need to rub it in!
All locations in Austin
A great salted chocolate chip cookie; love the flavor and texture. Had to include it, but not a good deal for your $4. Much smaller than the huge cookies offered by Thoroughbread and Henbit. Plus, sad to say, the service is less than friendly. Not one smile or hello when we walked up to the counter. Since this was the first visit in a few months, I sincerely hope this setback was a fluke.
2307 Hancock Drive, Austin 78756