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Cookie review: Local bakeries' treats will save time, alleviate stress during holiday season

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Where to find holiday cookies

* Cookie Cottage: 508 Noble Drive, 471-6678

* New Haven Bakery: 915 Lincoln Highway East, New Haven, 749-2161

* Pembroke Bakery and Cafe: 300 East Main Street, 247-7220

* Starbucks - 502 West Jefferson Boulevard, 422-2587

* Taste of Tradition Bakery: 13302 Irving Road, New Haven, 413-1166

* Vanilla Bean Unique Cookies: 701 South Clinton, 442-3663

* Waynedale Bakery: 2610 Lower Huntington Road, 747-2992

* Zinnia’s Bakehouse: 1320 East State Street, 483-4765
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press
Monday, December 05, 2016 11:05 pm
I love, love, love baking Christmas cookies. In my house it’s a family affair and everyone pitches in, including helping with the several hundred buckeye candies we make every year. I treasure the recipes passed down from my grandmother and honor her by making them. But I realize that not everyone has the luxury of time to bake such goodies, so I set out in search of some ways to make your holiday more merry and less stressful. One such way might be stopping by a local bakery and buying some Christmas cookies. For a change of pace for me and for some sweet ideas for a shortcut, a friend and I have sampled Christmas cookies at various places around the city. We went to seven different bakeries, including the downtown Starbucks, seeking the best of season.

Our overwhelming choice for the best holiday cookies came from Zinnia’s Bakehouse. Their cookies were thick, but baked perfectly and beautifully decorated.

Zinnia’s gingerbread men were the best gingerbread cookie each of us has ever had. Warm holiday spices permeated the gingerbread, which made for a cookie that was not only delicious, but exuded the aroma that any holiday baker would love to have coming from their kitchen.

Their Christmas tree shortbread cookie featured a ribbon of almond buttercream frosting and was topped with festive rainbow sprinkles. This buttery shortbread would pair well with a cup of hot tea.

Zinnia’s star-shaped sugar cookie also had almond buttercream frosting that was sprinkled with golden turbinado sugar.

Another one of our favorites came from Taste of Tradition Bakery. The Mexican wedding cakes (sometimes called Russian tea cakes or Dreams) reminded us of the kind of cookie we bake with our families. The cakes were oversized, well-dusted with powdered sugar and had plenty of pecans. They were delicate and tasty.

We found double chocolate mint cookies and cheery sugar cookies at the Cookie Cottage. The intense chocolate flavor was cut by an after-dinner chocolate mint candy that was swirled on top. This large cookie had a nice chewy texture. And the sugar cookie was so thick that it looked like a small tart. These cookies were among some of the best we had. They were loaded with white buttercream and decorated with holiday sprinkles.

The sugar cookies we ate from Waynedale Bakery were shaped like Christmas trees. The frosting was buttery and the cookies were large and moist. And they were reasonably priced.

I have had fantastic cakes from New Haven Bakery in the past and had high expectations for their cookies. We liked the bite-size thumbprint cookies the best. The bell-shaped cookies had good icing, but the aroma of anise flavoring and pepper turned us off. (But if you like anise, you will like this cookie.)

Pembroke Cake Bakery and Cafe had gluten-free sugar cookies. A snowflake was neatly piped on each cookie, which then had cake sparkles dusted on it so that it shimmered like fresh Christmas snow. Unfortunately, the cookie was too dry and had an unpleasant aftertaste.

The day we visited Vanilla Bean Unique Cookies, I was disappointed they only had one kind of cookie - the Clementine buttercream sandwich - that seemed remotely holiday. They were prepackaged and had suffered some damage - the cookie was partially crumbled. I loved the strong tangerine taste and rich buttercream frosting. We agreed that less buttercream would be better.

Lastly, we stopped at Starbucks and were pleasantly surprised to find Christmas cookies. But we had mixed opinions about the java joint’s options. They get high marks for decorating the ugly sweater gingerbread boy and the snowman sugar cookie. Neither one of us cared for the taste. What we did like was the cranberry bars. They had a good mix of flavors that complemented one another. The cookie crust was studded with white chocolate chips and was moist. The lemon cream cheese icing and cranberries provided a tartness that we really liked.

We tried to cover the city, but it’s possible I’ve missed one of your favorites. If so, drop me an email and I’ll look forward to including them next year.

This column is the commentary of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of The News-Sentinel. Email Laura Weston-Elchert at lweston@news-sentinel.com, or call her at 461-8468.



          

More Information

More Information

Where to find holiday cookies

* Cookie Cottage: 508 Noble Drive, 471-6678

* New Haven Bakery: 915 Lincoln Highway East, New Haven, 749-2161

* Pembroke Bakery and Cafe: 300 East Main Street, 247-7220

* Starbucks - 502 West Jefferson Boulevard, 422-2587

* Taste of Tradition Bakery: 13302 Irving Road, New Haven, 413-1166

* Vanilla Bean Unique Cookies: 701 South Clinton, 442-3663

* Waynedale Bakery: 2610 Lower Huntington Road, 747-2992

* Zinnia’s Bakehouse: 1320 East State Street, 483-4765

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