With Nita Mauigoa, Staff Writer
Nothing beats a batch of freshly baked cookies; there’s just something homey and comforting about them that appeals to kids and adults alike. That’s why the final installment of Anchorage Food Quest sought to find the best local peanut butter cookies.
The peanut butter cookies we sampled had lots of differences between them; some were traditional, some had chocolate chips and others had ganache. It was a challenge to find five locally-owned locations that made cookies on a regular basis, let alone peanut butter ones. Our criteria for rating the cookies, then, primarily involved the quality of the cookie itself, how powerful the flavor was and if the portion size was worth the cost of the cookie. Original cookie creations typically gained extra points for creativity.
5. Yummy Bakery: $2 – Yummy Bakery’s peanut butter cookie is the most traditional peanut butter cookie in both flavor and texture. It’s soft, but very crumbly, and has little chunks of peanuts in the cookie for added texture and flavor. The peanut butter flavor is very strong; just like dipping a spoon in a tub of the stuff and eating it straight. The bargain was great as well, $2 for two relatively large freshly wrapped cookies. When TNL purchased them, they were still a little warm. There really isn’t anything negative about these cookies, other than that they are the most plain of the bunch. If that’s what you enjoy, this is the way to go.
4. Terra Bella: $3.50 – This cookie has the added benefit of being gluten-free, so it can be enjoyed by a wider variety of cookie lovers. Terra Bella makes plain gluten-free peanut butter cookies, but the ones in stock when TNL visited had chocolate chunks in them. Gluten-free foods don’t always compare in taste, but these cookies are more than up to par. They’re less dry than other gluten-free cookies we’ve tried, but still crumble. The flavors are interesting; the peanut butter flavor is very mild, and the chocolate chips overpower it for the most part. The scent of the cookie is decidedly peanut butter, however, which is both misleading and a little amusing. It’s a tasty cookie overall however, and an especially good one for those who are on a gluten-free diet.
3. L’Aroma Bakery: $1.50 – This was the last cookie TNL sampled on questing day, so it deserves extra kudos for being delicious, despite the two of us fighting sugar-induced stomachaches at the time of sampling. Like Terra Bella, L’Aroma was out of stock of regular peanut butter cookies, so we went for their chocolate chip peanut butter option instead. Unlike Terra Bella however, L’Aroma’s cookie isn’t overpowered by the chocolate flavor. Instead, the peanut butter is strong enough to muscle in some attention, and the two flavors compliment one another beautifully. The cookie is also deceptive in appearance; its darker color makes it look dry and very over-baked, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. The cookie is moist, soft, and chewy. The cookie was a strong contender for second place, but that honor goes to …
2. Alaska Cake Studio: $2.50 – It’s a peanut butter chocolate cookie sandwich — as in, there are two very traditional peanut butter cookies smooshed together with chocolate ganache between them. It’s also delicious. The cookies themselves are soft, but moderately crumbly, and taste strongly of peanut butter rather than possessing a more muted flavor. Unfortunately for peanut butter lovers, the chocolate flavor of the ganache filling completely coats the cookie flavor to the point where it is hardly noticeable. Unlike with L’Aroma’s cookie, the flavors don’t work together. The portion size of two cookies plus the ganache, product originality and taste are good enough however, to slide the Cake Studio’s sandwich into the honored spot.
1. Fire Island Rustic Bakery: $3.50 – This cookie sandwich is pure peanut butter. Two peanut butter oatmeal cookies filled with peanut butter ganache (which might as well be straight peanut butter) characterize this treat, and it is nothing short of peanut butter heaven. The outside of the cookie has a bit of a crunch, but the inside is soft, and the contrasting textures are pleasing to the tongue. The ganache is smooth and ripe with flavor as well. It’s impossible to share this treat; you’d sooner buy another for someone else just to keep them away from yours. The most apt way to describe the experience of this treat is that it is like sex for your mouth. And if it isn’t legal to print that, it should be.