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MSP Cookies

Sadly, tres leche cake; cheapie bakery cake with Crisco frosting; and a good cookie are the only sweets I really crave. Not much of a chocolate or ice-cream gal, though I'd never turn them down (neither would I seek anything like that out).

My point? I'm looking for a bakery or coffee-shop cookie or even chain-store cookie (like at the mall) that I could frequent frequently and buy, say, three cookies at a time. But good. I am a cookie snob, unlike with cheapie bakery cakes. Those chain-coffee-shop Crisco cookies are so disgusting they make me boiling mad. They're overpriced, hard enough to break a tooth on, and taste of nothing but chemicals. I'm getting all worked up thinking about them. The audacity! And they're often one of the few edibles at such places.

At any rate. I know I could and should make a batch (sugar or chocolate chip) at home, but then I'd eat them all. Preferably St. Paul recs as I want to get there quite a lot. I know the bakery near Randolph and Hamline has been mentioned. Plan to check that out today.

Jean

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  1. The peanut butter cookies at Turtle Bread are huge and hugely expensive. I usually get the peanut butter with chocolate chunk. One cookie is a meal. But they are about as far from Saint Paul as you can get, sorry.

    In the same vein, those huge Victoria's cookies you see in jars at gas stations and convenience stores around town. Give one a whirl. Maybe it's just me but I love those crumbly things.

    1. The bakery on Randolph just east of Hamline (at Syndicate) is PJ Murphy's.

      I'm not a huge cookie person, so am reluctant to make a recommendation to a self-defined cookie snob, but, maybe Key's Cafe? They do make all of their own baked goods...

      Also, how about Bread & Chocolate on Grand Ave near Victoria? They are affiliated with Cafe Latte somehow--am never sure the exact connection:

      http://www.cafelatte.com/bread_chocol...

      EDIT: Oh! I know, I had some FANTASTIC cookies at that Bakery on Selby just up from the Cathedral. I don't mean "A Piece of Cake," though their bars are awfully good, but the place that bakes the good bread on the other side of the street. Can't remember what it's called, Great Harvest, maybe? Anyway, I had some snickerdoodles and oatmeal chocolate chip ones that were really good.

      ~TDQ

      1 Reply
      1. re: The Dairy Queen

        Hi TDQ:

        Good tip! I'm not the biggest fan of a Piece of Cake. I know exactly the place you mean across the street. Great Harvest. Only have bought bread there. Good bread. I'm going to try that today too!

      2. I've had some great cookies from A Piece of Cake, including the closest thing in the twin cities to a true Black and White Cookie. (It is way too small to be legit, but the taste and texture is there.)

        I also had an outstanding cookie recently at Mel-O-Glaze bakery. (They have something there that resembles a black and white, but avoid it - they even warned us that it wasn't a real black and white, just a sugar cookie dipped in their (outstanding) white and chocolate glaze. It ends up way, way, way too sweet for serious consumption)

        http://www.meloglaze.com/

        1. I haven't tried the Black & Whites at Piece of Cake, but then again, I'm not a fan of any of the black & whites that I've tried anywhere. I have tried several of A Piece of Cake's other cookies though, and find them in general much more pleasing in appearance than in taste. Regardless of the type, they all taste pretty much like Crisco sugar cookies to me. Even the date bars are too sweet and one-note for me. The frosted ones look great though, and thrill the kids.

          Great Harvest cookies are huge and chewy, but the taste and texture are, for me, a little too reminiscient of the homey honey whole wheat cookies I was served way too many of back in the 70s.

          Bread, Coffee, Cake has good, chewy oatmeal and cranberry cookies, along with good versions of the other usual suspects. All of his are the wide, chewy--not cakey--kind, with enough spice and flavoring to taste of something other than brown sugar and flour.

          Jerabek's has some very fine cookies all year round, and especially at Christmas when they make traditional cinnamon stars and lebkuchen. Good snickerdoodles too, dosed up with sufficient nutmeg to suit my tastes.

          But my favorite two places for bakery cookies are Patrick's (Richfield and Edina) and Truffles and Tortes (Plymouth). Truffles and Tortes has a limited selection and the offerings change, but what there is is (as Spencer said of Hepburn's flesh) choice. Best bets there are bar cookies and anything with chocolate. Patrick's makes marvelous, finely textured butter cookies filled with preserves, almond ganache cookies, meringues, etc.

          3 Replies
          1. re: clepro

            Clepro, you sound like you know your cookies.

            I don't remember thinking the Great Harvest snickerdoodles and oatmeal choc chip cookies were overly healthy--the oatmeal choc chip cookies, in particular, were addicting and were a favorite at my house, even among those who resist desserts that might appear to have actual nutritional value to them. They had enough butter and good quality chocolate, to make you forget that oatmeal is technically healthy. I can't recall anything about the snickerdoodles that could be interpreted as "healthy."

            I love the desserts at Patrick's (I've only been to the Richfield location)--very fancy and decadent. I don't recall having cookies there, though. Maybe I'll need to get over there and try some. Their sandwiches are good, too.

            ~TDQ

            1. re: The Dairy Queen

              Not healthy particularly. Just the very strong flavor of grain--oats or wheat. But maybe I need to go back and try them again, based on all the good reviews they're getting--it's been several years since I've had one there. And nope, I'm not much of a cookie girl actually.

              1. re: clepro

                I was inspired by this discussion to stop by Great Harvest yesterday, where I bought six whole-wheat oatmeal raisin cookies. I just ate the first one, and I loved it!

                The whole wheat definitely gives the cookie a "good for you" heartiness that some might find a bit much, but I love the flavor that ww gives to baked goods. And there's clearly a LOT of butter in this cookie - another plus in my book.

                These huge cookies are 6 for $6.75 - not cheap, but a smidge less expensive than cookies from Rustica and the area co-ops.

                Thanks for the tip on Great Harvest's cookies!

                Anne

          2. I can't believe I'm suggesting this, but have you ever had cookies sold at Noodles & Co.? I haven't tried any other ones except for their 'Snoodledoodle' cookie, a soft, chewy, cinnamon, toffee cookie -but it's pretty darn good, especially for one you can purchase at a chain "fast-food' joint.

            1. I'm partial to the cookies from French Meadow Bakery. They have several varieties, and they're about the size and shape of muffin tops.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Jordan

                I hate to damage my credibility, but since you said the word 'chain' I will admit to a
                fondness for Mrs Fields cookies, not the vending machine ones but from a place that
                bakes them right there. Block E in downtown Mpls has one and I see there is one in
                Maplewood Mall. I usually get the semi-sweet chocolate chip with or without nuts. They
                do use butter and some margarine but you can really taste the butter, also real vanilla.
                I agree about the disgusting margarine cookies that are all over the place.

              2. The cookies at the Wedge are incredible -- there's a triple chocolate chip cookie that's very good, and I even like the pistachio sugar cookies -- a shock since I'm a traditionalist when it comes to sugar cookies -- no one makes them like my great grandma did!

                1 Reply
                1. re: lindsaybrice

                  i know this is an old thread re-hashed, but seriously if anyone hasn't tried the baked goods at the wedge you must. i also just had the parsnip cake this weekend. holy crap amazing. .. very interesting ingredients list, too (had mustard in it!).. i gotta find that recipe. !! and oh yes, we have tried 4/20+ kinds of cookies. all good so far. read the ingredients on them, too.. some are really interesting (like the pistachio one lindsay mentioned above.. i didn't get it bc too much butter makes my stomach turn, but it sure sounded interesting)

                2. Breadsmith - corner of Grand and Snelling has cookies. Just a few. They are quite good, a nice size & chewy. & their pumpkin bread is like crack to my family.

                  PJ Murphys is excellent for cupcakes. I don't know if I've ever purchased a cookie from there. ever. Let us know about that one.

                  Many people are fan's of Wulloets - personally they don't float my boat.

                  I'm a baker - but lately I've been buying the vats of cookie dough from Kowalskis from keys (near the eggs at the one on grand) and whipping up (aka plopping the dough on a sheet) smaller batches of cookies at home. They are excellent - I think the smell etc helps with that. Plus you don't over cook them.

                  Don't buy the premade cookies in the bakery at Kowalskis - they are always dry, every type, every day.

                  Bread & Chocolate might be a decent bet. I haven't eaten one myself in ages - however I recall being enamored with them in the past.

                  I'm with you on the crisco chain coffe shop cookies as well. Yick

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: St Paul Susie

                    I haven't had a cookie from PJ Murphy's either--just the cupcakes and the bars. The "monster" cookies and the "tea hat" cookies are adorable, though. Might be too much frosting to be tasty (for a grown-up's sensibilities.)

                    ~TDQ

                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                      actually its too much frosting for even my kids.

                      Thats saying a LOT.

                    2. re: St Paul Susie

                      I can't edit my prior post.

                      I was just at Breadsmith and they haven't switched from brownies to cookies yet. But they'll have oatmeal raisin & choco chip.

                      Per the gal behind the counter - it will be soon, she didn't have an exact date & it sounded like I wasn't the first person to ask.

                      1. re: St Paul Susie

                        Hey the Keys dough is a great idea. I like Keys cookies, which I admit to rather shamefacedly, I guess. But you can see their ingredients right there on the dough bucket thingee they sell nearby.

                        1. re: St Paul Susie

                          The cookies at PJ Murphy's are really good. Once I had them give me some sugar cookies and containers of different colored icings for my students to decorate ( I think I did it for my birthday, I don't remember...)Anyway, it was a great project, (of course a mess...) but those cookies were fantastic...

                        2. Just remembered! The Mississippi Market on Selby and Dale has fantastic ginger cookies. Not snaps; the big spreading kind with bits of bakers sugar sparkling on top and the bite of fresh ginger.

                          1. Not sure if this is the kind of thing you’re looking for, but when I was at Whole Foods in Saint Paul the other day they had a table set up near the front door with things from Lilly’s Bake Shop. Babka, rugalech, and black and white cookies. I picked up a pack of the black and whites and I LOVE THEM. Now, I’ve never had a real New York black and white, so I’d love to know what other people think of these. They are smaller then the real thing, but I think the texture and the taste are just what I’ve read about.

                            I can’t wait to go back and try some of the other Lilly’s products. Here’s their web site...

                            http://www.lillysbakeshop.com/site/i....

                            Uncle Ira

                            1. They don't have them all the time, but Cupcake makes a mean molasses chew. I had a sample of a triple chocolate chip today which was good too, but not as good as the molasses.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: kolgrim

                                Kolgrim, you are so right - Cupcake's molasses cookie is excellent! Thanks for the tip!

                                Anne

                              2. Rustica makes amazing double-chocolate cookies. I haven't tried their shortbread cookies, but I bet they're great, too.

                                http://www.rusticabakery.com/menu.php

                                And I tried to resist mentioning the Birchwood, because it's my answer to every question, but they have really good cookies, too.

                                http://www.birchwoodcafe.com/menu/men...

                                But those are both Minneapolis joints. For St. Paul, how about the Finnish Bistro at 2264 Como Ave. in St. Anthony Park? Soile Anderson used to make the most amazing lemon cookies - I wonder if she still does?

                                http://www.finnishbistro.com/

                                And La Patisserie (Randolph & Snelling) is a strong possibility, although I've only been there once for a slice of cake - I don't know if they do cookies.

                                Or perhaps Swede Hollow Cafe? Their web site says they have cookies (I've never been there):

                                http://www.swedehollowcafe.com/menupa...

                                Anne

                                7 Replies
                                1. re: AnneInMpls

                                  I'm not a big fan of La Patisserie. Everything I've tried there is pretty average. Not awful, but you just shrug your shoulders and go, "meh."

                                  ~TDQ

                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                    That's good to know. On my only trip to La Patisserie, they had a visiting baker from Germany who made a good - but not great - black forest torte. I've been wondering if I should stop by again for another try, but I think I'll spend my calories (and gas money) on Rustica instead.

                                    Anne

                                  2. re: AnneInMpls

                                    Agree on Rustica's double-chocolate cookies.

                                    One cookie that I have not seen mentioned here yet is Lucia's chocolate-sea-salt cookie, which can occasionally be found at the To-Go counter. It's crispy on the outside, malleable-but-not-gooey on the inside, and the counter-balanced flavors of sweet and salty are really well proportioned.

                                    1. re: Chris Mitra

                                      I have to add a rec. for Lucia's choc. chip cookies as well, and agree with the
                                      lovers of Great Harvest oatmeal/choc chip cookies. Many oatmeal cookies are
                                      way too sweet and drown out the taste of the oats. Great Harvest's are nice and
                                      oaty.

                                      1. re: Chris Mitra

                                        Love all of Rustica's cookies. Real butter. Baked until sufficiently caramelized. Even their plain sugar cookies are superior to all.

                                        1. re: shoo bee doo

                                          i am not a huge cookie monster, but when i buy cookies it is from rustica. they rock!

                                      2. re: AnneInMpls

                                        Finnish Bistro has great cookies. It's really the only place I go when I want a cookie but don't want to bake. I especially like the oatmeal-chocolate-walnut one. The walnuts are chopped really fine so that you get a lot of walnut flavor in every bite. Once in a while I get cookies that are rather hard - I think it's best to buy and eat them early in the day while they're as fresh as possible.

                                      3. My two favorites are the chocolate chip cookies at Rustica and at Sebastian Joe's.

                                        1. What good timing. Kathie Jenkins in her small bites column in today's Pioneer Press raves about the "big, spicy, chewy molasses cookies" at Cafe Juliahna in West St. Paul (879 S. Smith Ave.)

                                          We have some of the Key's cookie mix in our freezer and I was going to look up the ingredients for you, but the must have been on the packaging we tossed (I vaguely recall a cardboard wrapper.) I can't say I've been totally completely impressed by the mix; it's probably because I'm such a bad baker I can't even do a decent job with pre-made cookie dough, but I also wondered if there were, perhaps, some ingredients in there that makes the dough soft that also aren't in the Key's cookies they bake and sell in-house that are also affecting the overall taste and "bake it yourself" experience.

                                          Has anyone tried Cooqi on Marshall Ave in St. Paul (nearish to Cleveland or Fairview I think)--I think it's a gluten-free shop? Just wondered if it was any good.

                                          ~TDQ

                                          10 Replies
                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                            There was a place on Snelling just noth of the SA by Hamline University that sold good cookies out of the Muddy Paws store. I'm not sure if it is still there though, but I always enjoyed them when I'd pick some up before class.

                                            1. re: mnfoodie1

                                              Muddy Paws Cheesecake moved locations. I think they are now in uptown?

                                              1. re: mnfoodie1

                                                Muddy Paws cheesecake...not sure about cookies, but the cheesecake was old and "freezer tasting", fakey flavors - i opted to try a few before i judged - the little bit of crust that was there (seems they lost a bit somewhere, as one of my pieces had only about 1/2 the crust there) tasted like cardboard. Stay away. From the uptown location, anyway.

                                              2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                Last time I was at Key's (picking up a birthday cake), I read the ingredients on the bake-it-yourself cookies. I don't remember the details, but I think the mix is all "real food" - no unpronounceable chemicals or trans-fats. Yay, Key's!

                                                Anne

                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                  Speaking of "bake it yourself" cookies made from all real ingredients, Lucia's To-Go also has recently been selling their chocolate chip cookie dough, balled and ready-to-bake.

                                                  1. re: Chris Mitra

                                                    I LOVE Lucia's! Can't wait to try the cookies next time I'm in Minneapolis.

                                                  2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                    This is in response to TDQ - But I don't know why it posted down here..... sorry!

                                                    Key's cookies have..... everything a home made toll house cookie would (flour, sugar, etc etc) except margarine instead of butter.... But nothing else gross/fakey. Same with oatmeal raisin.

                                                    plus the eggs are pasturized - so you can technically eat the dough. Not that it ever bothered me to eat the dough made from non pasturized regular eggs.

                                                    I've had good luck when I read & respect their "12 mins" vs. free lancing. and don't make them too big. smallish medium works best.

                                                    Cooqi - I haven't been - over easter relatives of mine stopped in (since they have other relatives who have gluten allergies)
                                                    and they said "ick" but I think it was also later in the day when most bakeries aren't at their prime.

                                                    1. re: St Paul Susie

                                                      back to the margarine - are the key's kosher? is that why?

                                                      I know the breadsmith ones also have marg. since the whole place is kosher.

                                                      1. re: St Paul Susie

                                                        My guess is that Key's food isn't kosher. The margarine is probably cheaper than butter.

                                                        Anne

                                                        1. re: AnneInMpls

                                                          Yup - I'm certain. But It struck me when I was at Breadsmith today...& I realized that all their yummies were margarine.

                                                  3. You should also try the cookies at MN Maid on Minnehaha and about 39th or so in Minneapolis. Baker's Wife's Pastry shop on 28th Ave and 42nd has great cookies too.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: bigchow

                                                      A Baker's Wife pastry shop in South Minneapolis is quite good, and very inexpensive considering the high quality.

                                                      4200 28th Ave. S. Minneapolis 612-729-6898

                                                    2. Zelino, the take-out counter of Zelo in downtown Minneapolis has GREAT cookies.

                                                      1. I don't consider myself a discerning cookie critic, but my office is near the hampden park coop on raymond avenue in st. paul, and I get my lunchtime cookie fix from there. the fresh baked ones on the bottom shelf, underneath the ones they import from other bakeries (these could be imported too, but they're not wrapped, so I'm assuming they bake them there). my favorites are the monster cookies and the chocolate cookies, which are more like a brownie in the shape of a cookie: rich, chewy on the inside, with a slighty crisp buttery outside. but all of their varieties are very good to me!

                                                        1. I agree about turtle bread company- i was pleasantly surprised the first time i was there. but huge cookies...try Bellaria bakery on France Ave. - St. Lois Park, I think. A bit out of the way, but I've had her cakes, truffles and cookies. Well worth the trip. Plus you can check out her displayed wedding cakes. Absolutely amazing. I'm not a fan of Patricks - done a lot of "taste-testing" around MPLS/ST.PAUL. Although beautiful presentation, I felt somewhat dissappointed when I got them home to actually eat them.

                                                          1. In St. Paul, the places that come to mind are:

                                                            St. Paul Classic Cookie Co. (in 5th St. Center downtown) - I especially like their snickerdoodles. Only problem is they're only open for a short time during the day - so if you don't work downtown it can be tough to be there during business hours.

                                                            Bread and Chocolate was already mentioned, for good reason.

                                                            Swede Hollow Cafe near Metro State on E 7th St. has great baked goods - I've had bars and a muffin and was very impressed - never tried the cookies, though.

                                                            Not in St. Paul, but the best cookies in the whole wide world, are those at the Positively 3rd Street Bakery in Duluth. Their anise cookies are absolute cookie perfection. They're famous for their Thunder cookies, which also hold a special place in my heart. They will ship, and they freeze well.

                                                            Good luck!

                                                            3 Replies
                                                            1. re: diesel

                                                              OK, I know it seems everyone else has moved on past the cookies, but I couldn't help doing a little extra research on this topic.

                                                              Saint Paul Classic Cookie Co.:

                                                              After my May 15 post, I felt a strong sense of urgency to revisit the St. Paul Classic Cookie Co. - after all, it had been several months since I'd last been there. So a few weeks ago, I stopped by on me lunch break and bought a snickerdoodle and a ginger cookie. Today I stopped by again and bought a snickerdoodle and a peanut butter chocolate chip cookie.

                                                              All four cookies (all three varieties) were so, so, so very satisfying. Whether they use butter or margarine I don't know, but there is nothing chemical-tasting about these cookies. It's the real deal. Also, they achieve an excellent texture - their cookies don't fall apart while you eat them, and have a slightly crispy exterior while maintaining a wonderful chewy-yet-not-too-dense interior.

                                                              The "menu" here sticks to the classics - no adventurous or innovative varieties of cookie. But if you're looking for a classic done really well, get to SPCCC! They have a blog (?) at saintpaulclassiccookie.blogspot.com but it doesn't look like it's updated very frequently.

                                                              Keys

                                                              I also had an occasion to retry Keys' cookies (the ones they sell in the restaurant downtown St. Paul - I haven't tried to grocery store bake-it-yerself dough). In the past I've felt they were kind of "meh" (as I think TDQ puts it). The flavor was OK, but nothgin special and the texture was too crumbly and smacky for me.

                                                              So this time I ordered a peanut butter cookie - it looked like it was going to be fabulous, with deep, golden crusted criss-crosses about the top. Sorry to say it was terrible. I think they actually may have forgotten the peanut butter. It didn't taste like peanuts at all, just nondescriptly sweet-ish. I threw it away after several bites.

                                                              Don't know how helpful this info is to the original poster, but I thought someone out there could benefit!

                                                              1. re: diesel

                                                                Hey, I *never* move past cookies! Cookies are an everyday interest for me. Thanks for this noble research.

                                                                I'm especially pleased to learn about the St. Paul Classic Cookie Company. Any place with good snickerdoodles is a place I need to try.

                                                                Anne

                                                              2. re: diesel

                                                                Still going. . .

                                                                Tried a snickerdoodle at Swede Hollow Cafe today. It was very good. Real, honest, snickerdoodle flavor, nice texture - a little denser and smaller than the St. Paul Cookie Co. version. I think St. Paul Classic Cookie Co.'s are better, but only by a smidgeon. And you can get a pretty decent cup of coffee to go with your cookies at Swede Hollow!

                                                                Swede Hollow had several other varieties of cookie, including oatmeal dried cherry. Wish I would have bought one of those to try too. Alas, bathing suit season is upon us.

                                                              3. I got some snickerdoodles yesterday at the Franklin Street Bakery (oh, the sacrifices I make in the name of research!) and I would like to report that they are excellent. Possibly the best snickerdoodles I've ever had, but I haven't had nearly enough. They also had oatmeal-raisin and chocolate-chip cookies.

                                                                I blame this thread for making me crave cookies all the time! My package of nilla wafers just doesn't cut it after reading all these recommendations. I'm already planning my next cookie run (The Baker's Wife or Jerabek's are high on the list of places to try).

                                                                Anne

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: AnneInMpls

                                                                  Hey Anne, as long as you're going to Jerabek's, you might as well take the opportunity to grab a cookie from Bread, Coffee, Cake. Cafe Juliahna--someone mentioned it above-- is also over in that neighborhood. Well...nearby, anyway.

                                                                2. I fear this reply will be only half relevant to your request, Jean, but I feel so strongly about the cookies that I'm compelled to share...and I promise, this is not a paid endorsement.

                                                                  Tank Goodness is a husband and wife team based in South Minneapolis that bakes the _best_ chocolate chip oatmeal cookies I've ever had, and delivers them warm (with organic milk, if you want) to your home or office. They deliver a dozen per box, so I know it's not exactly what you're looking for, but if you ever get the chance to order them, I guarantee you'll be impressed. (www.tankgoodness.com).

                                                                  I'm also a complete, unabashed chocolate chip cookie snob, and The Tank Goodness cookies have actually inspired me to create my own choc chip oatmeal cookie recipe (still working on it)...they're that good.

                                                                  1. You need to find the Koala Cookie lady. She delivers to Ginkgo Coffeehouse (on Snelling and Minnehaha). Chewy oatmeal cookies half-dipped in dark chocolate. Her cookies are always fresh-tasting and satisfying. I think they also sell her cookies at Espresso Royale in Dinkytown.

                                                                    1. Two Smart Cookies at 181 Snelling Avenue - right at the cross of Snelling and Selby. We went there on Friday and had chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin cookies. They were the best and the owner was extremely friendly. Also, there are no preservatives or anything funny (I bought some "whole grain" cookies at Kowalskis only to notice corn syrup listed as an ingredient - yuck and, why?) in them. Two Smart Cookies' were pretty much perfect - chewy and delicious! They also have brownies and bars. Yum!

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: albertheijn

                                                                        Can you buy single cookies at the counter, or do you have to buy a whole dozen like the website says?