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Unusual and Amazing Cookies in SF or Wine Country?

opinionatedchef Mar 16, 2008 01:58 PM

Unusual cookies are a passion of mine. And man, they are few and far between.
If I am truly lucky, I will find one new worthwhile unique cookie-per annual vacation.
Unique? I am talking cookies that are one-of-a-kind, most likely because of their particular combination of ingredients,and where delicious is a given.

Past Examples:

Mocha shortbread coookies at la fete(?) in mendocino

coconut shortbread-like sandwich cookies at oakville(?) grocery in st helena (made by an outside vendor, tony chiapetta(?), who used to be a pastry chef in boston)

shortbread cookies with crushed potato chips at Gayle's in Capitola(this yr.)

raisin, walnut and candied orange cookie 'bark' at gayle's in Capitola(this yr.)

For this particular quest- unique amazing cookies- I have not previously found anything in SF ,after looking at:Citizan Cake, Tartine, La Boulangerie, Whole Foods, Miette(?) in the Ferry Bldg.

Any suggestions out there? To me, in our abundant world of 'a bakery on every corner' it doesn't get much tougher than this quest. Thanks much for any specific finds!

  1. r
    rahir Apr 3, 2008 05:02 PM

    I'm a huge fan of Clairesquares (esp. the dark chocolate ones). I took some home to family a few weeks ago and they gobbled them up. You can find them at the La Cocina stall at the Ferry Plaza Farmers' Market and other locations (Bi-Rite and some other groceries, I think).

    http://www.clairesquares.com/

    1. opinionatedchef Apr 3, 2008 01:15 PM

      We've just finished our yearly march cal. vaca. and the never-seen-before cookies that I tried and really liked were:

      Bi Rite Market on 18th near dolores:
      Kika's Cardamom Espresso Shortbread Cookies glazed w/ Dark Chocolate
      Kika's Choc. Shortbread Cookies w/ Cocoa Nibs, glazed in dk. choc.
      Bi Rite Lemon Gingerbread cookies full flavor, chewy; lemon added alot
      (I did NOT like kika's brazilian honey cakes. dry dry dry.

      Rainbow Market on Fulton has the largest stock of kika's.

      Boulette's Larder in the Ferry Building:
      Peanut Cookies (really like a chewy almond paste'horn' or cookie, except w/ peanuts, studded w/ chopped peanuts, and tiny (2" diameter)
      Cardamom Shortbread- nice flavor and fine texture, but tiny tiny for 75 cents

      Sweetie Pie Bakery in the Napa Hat Building:
      Coconut Sandwich Cookies tasty and not cloyingly sweet but too much filling. I prefer my version of her recipe, with maple extract added., and no filling.

      Gayle's Bakery, Capitola:
      Gayle's Bark- tasted like it was made of leftover danish dough, combined with candied orange peel, raisins and walnuts , rolled out , cut and and baked to a rich buttery crisp w/ great chew elements.

      Wanted to, but did not get to , the bakeries in berkeley (crixa etc closed on easter sunday)or arizmendi.

      It's a narrow path when I am looking for never-seen-before cookies that also taste great!
      Thanks to all of you who enabled me to experience some wonderful new things.
      I will try to get to the other bakeries you've recommended on our next trip there.

      4 Replies
      1. re: opinionatedchef
        m
        MRMoggie Apr 3, 2008 02:24 PM

        For classics done well, the Downtown Bakery in Healdsburg is top flight. Pecan shorthbread, chocolate *refrigerator cookies,* and excellent ginger cookies. The chocolate brownie cupcake and bread pudding are also tops, the latter is even better topped with some fresh fruit and a little whipped cream or soft ice cream.

        Model Bakery in St. Helena does quite well with old fashioned oatmeal cookies and chocolate chip....but nothing too far off the map.

        1. re: opinionatedchef
          opinionatedchef Apr 3, 2008 02:54 PM

          I forgot to mention some packaged cookies from spain(cheating i know)
          available at dean and deluca in napa valley."Matiz Olive Oil Crisp Bread, Sugared" tastes like an olive oil version of a crunchy sugary-topped anise palmier, but are flaky, flat and round. addictive as all getout.

          1. re: opinionatedchef
            chocolateninja Apr 3, 2008 03:24 PM

            Mmm...I love the Matiz Crisp Breads, both savoury and sweet, but especially the sweet. You're very right...they are quite addictive! You can also find them at Traverso's in Santa Rosa, and I'm pretty sure I've seen them at the local Oliver's grocery store and Whole Foods. (usually hanging out near the cheese)

          2. re: opinionatedchef
            emily Apr 3, 2008 03:32 PM

            I didn't care for Kika's honey cakes, either.

            Perhaps next time try the walnut shortbread from Miette in the Ferry Building. I've only had them once, but I'm still fantasizing about them. They may not be very unusual, but they're a great combo of salty & sweet.

          3. wolfe Mar 18, 2008 07:47 AM

            Chocolate chip coconut cherry cookie at the Mosswood Cafe Market & Bakery in Boonville.

            1 Reply
            1. re: wolfe
              w
              wineaux73 Mar 19, 2008 02:48 PM

              Scandia in Sonoma...very oldschool. And, they have the best princess cake I've ever had.
              Boulangerie, I agree, has pretty good cookies too, but don't get the seasonal frosted ones. They are utterly tasteless and really overpriced

            2. s
              sugartoof Mar 17, 2008 11:38 PM

              Arizmendi for their shortbread (hazlenut, lavendar, green tea) and brickle.

              1 Reply
              1. re: sugartoof
                Windy Mar 18, 2008 12:26 AM

                Their ginger shortbread with pepper is one of my favorites.

              2. c
                chemchef Mar 17, 2008 07:50 AM

                Sketch on 4th St. in Berkeley has a good lavender chocolate chip cookie.

                1. Carrie 218 Mar 16, 2008 06:20 PM

                  They are not especially unusual, but when I drive through Sonoma, I always stop at Basque Boulangerie -- they seem to make the best Mexican Wedding Cookies I've ever had.

                  And while not a bakery, the coconut macaroon at Rouge in Berkeley is worth me going out of my way for...

                  1. pilinut Mar 16, 2008 03:45 PM

                    Kika's Treats-- delicious! I remember cocoa-nib chocolate shortbread, cardamom-coffee shortbread, and Brazilian honeycakes--all covered in chocolate.
                    kikastreats.com

                    And, of course, the fantastic alfajores of Sabores del Sur, available at the Alemany Market.
                    saboresdelsur.com

                    Both enterprises are connected with La Cocina in the Mission.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: pilinut
                      Windy Mar 16, 2008 04:12 PM

                      Both Kika's and Sabores del Sur are sold at Canyon Market in Glen Park. I love the tiny alfajores.

                    2. l
                      lintygmom Mar 16, 2008 03:15 PM

                      Masse's on Shattuck right near Saul's has some good cookies. And financiers/macarons. How wide is your definition of "cookie?" I love lamington's ( http://www.joyofbaking.com/Lamingtons.html) from Bakesale Betty, which has pretty good cookies, too, but not too unusual. Crixa Bakery on Adeline just off Shattuck near Ashby has cookies: http://www.crixacakes.com/archives/co...

                      And the Hopkins Street Bakery, which I usually find terrible, has very good cofffee shortbread cookies with chocolate chips. Right near Gioia pizza, most authentic East Coast pizza in the area.

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