There’s no shortage of craveable cookies popping up in bakeries and restaurants all over Little Rock. We’ve set out to eat as many as humanly possible and we’ve ranked our favorites for you below. And that’s just how the cookie crumbles…
10. Sugar Cookie from Dempsey Bakery: Some folks may shy away from a place like Dempsey Bakery simply because of the boldly advertised lack of gluten, wheat, soy, and nuts. I get it…I heart gluten, too. But the folks over at Dempsey are working magic with unconventional ingredients like rice flour and arrowroot. Their sugar cookies play look plain and sound simple, but after your first bite, you’ll be singing their praises…and you’ll hardly even miss the gluten.
9. Oatmeal Golden Raisin from Arkansas Fresh Cafe: Ashton Woodward’s baked goods are the worst kept secret in the city. His talents for baking are on display at numerous restaurants across central Arkansas, and just about everyone in town wants his products on their menu. Take a trip on down to Bryant and visit their home base, Arkansas Fresh Cafe, for the full array of sweets and treats…and while you’re there, sink your teeth into the best cookie they’ve got. It’s the inclusion of golden raisins (over traditional regular raisins) that gives these morsels a stand-out flavor. Pack a few up for later, too…you’ll want to munch on these all day.
8. Brown Butter Chocolate Chip from Sweet Love: Owner Kelli Marks places her wide assortment of cookies front and center on the display counters at her popular bakery, Sweet Love off Cantrell Road. Every cookie has its own jar, which helps them keep their freshness throughout the day. It’s difficult narrowing down your cookie selection to just one (and you’re not actually required to do so), but my money is on the sweet and rich flavors of browned butter and chocolate contained in this cookie.
7. Peanut Butter Cookie from Natchez: With this downtown restaurant cutting down its hours to weekends only, it’s become a bit more difficult to get your hands on any of Zara Abbasi Wilkerson’s desserts. But Zara has built a reputation for some of the finest baked goods in town…and that’s not going away any time soon. If you’re able to snag one of her peanut butter cookies, be sure to take advantage of that opportunity. They’ve got a slight crunch on top, soft interior, and they’re packed with peanut butter.
6. Shortbread from Mylo Coffee Co.: I’ve been enjoying the cookies from Mylo since the first day I met Stephanos and Monica Mylonas (seemingly) so long ago, standing behind a humble table at the Hillcrest Farmers Market. They were producing exceptional food then…and they continue to do so today. They’ve always go some new creation gracing their countertops these days…but the simple sugar-coated shortbread hangs around for good reason. You’ll find customers dunking them in coffee with their morning meal or noshing on them from behind a laptop during a mid-day study session.
5. Peanut Butter No-Bake from Kris & Sam’s: Let me start with this…I generally hate “no bake” cookies. So the fact that I’m helplessly addicted to these soft, gooey conglomerations of sugar, oats, and peanut butter should really tell you something. I don’t know what they do to them to make them so wonderful. Truth be told, Kris & Sam’s is chock full of splendid options…and even their iced sugar cookies are something to get excited about. But the no-bakes have a sneaky way of always ending up in my box of treats whenever I make a visit here.
4. Almond Macaroon from Silvek’s: They’re unlike any other macaroon (or “macaron” for that matter) I’ve ever eaten…but in truth, this European bakery nestled inside the Heights Kroger is filled with pastries and baked goods you won’t find anywhere else in Arkansas. These cookies are assembled from a sweet, nutty almonds paste that imparts a smooth, almost creamy texture. To finish them off, the almond cookies are coated with a thin translucent sugar glaze, giving them a slightly crunchy outside.
3. Chocolate-Dipped Macaroon from Boulevard Bread Co.: You’ll most often find these little ladies on a display stand near the register at Boulevard’s Heights location — and there’s honestly a lot available for purchase crammed into that small bit of counter space. But when these macaroons make their way onto the menu, you’ll want them to make their way into your mouth. They take these glorious balls of sweetened, chewy coconut and partially dip them in dark chocolate. They’re slightly crunchy on the outside, cool and creamy on the inside. Good luck eating just one.
2. Chocolate Chip Cookie from The Root: Here’s a known fact: There’s absolutely nothing bad on the menu at The Root. Owners Jack and Corri Sundell seemingly have a magic Midas touch and just about every locally-sourced ingredient they touch turns to gold. Not surprisingly, everything they’re offering inside their small display case of baked goods is worth your attention…but these splendid chocolate chip cookies are as close to perfect as possible. Nab one shortly after they’ve been pulled from the oven and you’ve just won the cookie lottery, my friend.
1. Ginger Cookie from kBird: Don’t be fooled by kBird’s humble surroundings…the food these guys are putting out is the real deal. But seriously? A Thai joint is dishing out great cookies? Oh yes. And they happen to be the best cookies in Little Rock. They’re baked up fresh by owner Richard Glasgow’s wife Aimee, and unassumingly placed in a glass jar near the cash register. Do not overlook them. They’re everything you want in a cookie…not overly sweet, chewy middle, crunchy around the edges. But the slightly spicy ginger notes are what really set this cookie apart. Do yourself a favor, try one for yourself.