Sunday, April 21, 2024 Apr 21, 2024
51° F Dallas, TX
Restaurants & Bars

The Best Cookies in Dallas, In Our Crumble Opinion

Here’s the ultimate field guide to finding the right cookie for you.
| |Photography by Elizabeth Lavin
Chocolate Chip Cookies
The chocolate chip cookie at Carte Blanche has a unique texture—and it's uniquely great. Elizabeth Lavin

I love cookies. In college, a personality test asked which fictional character I looked to as a role model, and I answered Cookie Monster. This year, I set off on a quest to find Dallas’ best—and things got complicated. There can be no such thing as the “best” cookie when we have such a tremendous variety of styles: crispy and soft, salty and sour. There are s’mores, Longfellow, and Unicorn Bait cookies.

What follows is a field guide to Dallas’ best treats, assembled over months of research. Instead of telling you the single “best,” I have organized the guide to help you find your own favorite, based on your tastes. Tough work, but somebody had to do it.

For this guide, I tried to visit every retail cookie bakery with regular hours (no pop-ups or caterers). The cookies are arranged by category, not by quality. I stuck to the traditional definition of “cookie” (sorry, Wikipedia, but brownies don’t count). Most big chains are excluded, but I made space for Tiff’s Treats, a Texas company that opened its second-ever location in Dallas. Spoiler alert: it doesn’t compare well to the true locals. 

The Traditionalists

Like your cookies on the crisp side? Head to Empire Baking Co., where the stars are a nuttily sweet sesame cookie and a ginger-molasses variety that nicely balances sweetness and spice, offering a hot ginger afterburn to go with all that scrumptious sugar. More old school is Stein’s Bakery, which traces its history back to 1863 and still sells some cookies for less than $1 each. If you want to branch out from chocolate chip, try the toffee-laced option.

If you prefer more of a chew, hit up JD’s Chippery, where cookies look like they just came off Grandma’s sheet pan with crisp and golden edges and gooey centers. Everything is good, including Dallas’ best snickerdoodle. JD’s was voted Dallas’ best cookie bakery by middle schoolers, the only people in town who eat more cookies than I do.

Also in the chewy category: Village Baking Co., where the chocolate chip cookie is perfectly golden but soft inside. The only difference between Village’s cookies and the kind I grew up with is that these are bigger. Keep an eye on newcomer Sugar and Sage Bakery and its promise of “ooey gooey” cookies. When I visited during its soft opening (in early May), the one variety available was an ultra indulgent triple chocolate monster.

What if you’re a cookie Goldilocks, who doesn’t want things too gooey or too crispy but right in the middle? Your spot is Kessler Baking Studio. Clyde Greenhouse’s crew bakes classic and unusual varieties. Despite their wide diameter, they’re baked to a just-right golden shade. Even better, they’re not overly sweet, and they come in many flavors. (Try lemon, oatmeal chocolate toffee, or Unicorn Bait, made with sprinkles.) Day-old cookies are recycled into Dallas’ best biscotti.

Two Plano spots provide middle-ground classic bakes: Sugar Ray’s Bake Shop, where a straightforward chocolate chip is the best play (my snickerdoodle was underbaked), and down-home Sugar and Spice Bakery. The latter has a Texas country feel, including religious decorations and three varieties of old-fashioned chocolate chip.

Eat Your Oats

The oatmeal cookie’s reputation has been dragged down by oats’ all-too-common partner, the raisin. But there’s a glorious world of oatmeal cookies at J.Rae’s. I couldn’t stop enjoying the texture of their oatmeal chocolate chip: plenty of oats, plenty of chocolate, and just the right amount of crunch. This is an elite cookie.

Haute Sweets Patisserie makes from-scratch oatmeal cream pies. Once you’ve sampled this delicious monster, you might find yourself driving miles out of the way to grab one.

Cookie-Within-a-Cookie Madness

At two Dallas spots, one cookie isn’t enough. The specialty at Carnells Cakery and Invasion (not a bakery but a burger joint) is a cookie with another cookie stuffed inside. At Invasion, that can mean an Oreo wedged inside a chocolate cookie; it’s so big and rich, you should share it with friends. (No judgment if you don’t.)

When I visited Carnells, I chose a chocolate cookie with layers of both caramel toffee and brownie—yes, a brownie in a cookie—over the “classic PB&J stuffed cookie” or the option with a creamy banana pudding filling. Speaking of which, Cookie Society has a banana pudding cookie topped with a Nilla Wafer. 

The Big Boys

The trend in recent years has been toward big, showstopping cookies. The best example is Cookie Society, where huge chocolate chip cookies are loaded with big, round discs of chocolate and topped with flaky sea salt. There’s a hint of golden crispness around the edges. My favorite is the snickerdoodle, but regulars go for the eclectic monthly specials. I love that takeout orders get packed into an elegant mint-green box, as if you’ve just bought a new watch.

The double-height cookies at Lubellas Patisserie are shaped like hockey pucks, with straight sides. Dozens of mini chocolate chips are scattered throughout. At Panini Bakery, cookies are fluffy-soft and rise to domed tops. You’ll also notice added garnishes, such as peanut butter cookies that come covered in either colorful sugar or chocolate chips. Society Bakery specializes in cupcakes, mostly, which might explain their cookies’ sprawling size and softness. But the snickerdoodle I sampled was fabulously flavored and closely textured. I can’t say the same for the snickerdoodle at Doughregarde’s, which plops its seasoning into one central clump. But the bakery in The Village produces a standout peanut butter cookie, with big peanut chunks.

Vegan and Gluten-Free 

Reverie Bakeshop makes the most satisfying vegan cookies in the area. They’re not too sweet, appealing in texture, and nicely golden in appearance. You could fool a non-vegan with the chocolate chip offering, especially since Reverie uses such high-quality chocolate.

There is something rather wonderful about the gluten-free chocolate chip cookie at Unrefined Bakery. The dough has an airy, fragile, crisp quality, almost like a French macaron. It’s a delightful change from the usual.

Even before you get to the flavors, the packaging technique at Trouvi Gluten Free Cookies is fascinating: right after baking, cookies are individually bagged and frozen. Take them out of the freezer 15 minutes before you plan to enjoy. I didn’t dig some choices, like the oddly marshmallowy and underspiced ginger-molasses cookies, or a salty-and-sweet cookie that’s much more of the latter than the former. But the chocolate peanut butter cookies are spectacular. I tried one only a few minutes after it came out of the freezer, still chilled, and entered the gates of cookie heaven. It’s like cookie dough ice cream without the ice cream.

Hojarascas and Alfajores

Hojarascas—cinnamon-coated shortbreads, often with nuts inside—are an iconic Mexican treat. And the best in Dallas come in a bulk bag at Tia Dora’s Bakery. They’re not available every day, but they’re worth the wait, far superior to chalky versions from groceries.

Alfajores originally hail from southern Spain, where they were introduced by Arab conquerors in the Middle Ages. But Spain’s version, which can sport figs or honey, bears little resemblance to the kinds consumed from Central America to Argentina. Here, we’re talking about a remarkable variety of sandwich cookies all with a center filling of dulce de leche. You can eat the petite cookies from San Martín Bakery in two sensible bites or one big one. Argentina Bakery, meanwhile, serves up big, plump alfajores with lots of filling and sugar. While there, also try Argentina Bakery’s palmeritas (like French palmiers) and San Martín’s black-and-white checkerboard cookies.

Unique and Oddball

Some Dallas cookie-makers are taking things to new levels of creativity. The chocolate chip cookie at Carte Blanche won’t be for everyone, for example, but I think it’s uniquely great. The flavors are perfect: big dark chocolate chunks, lots of flaky salt on top, and dough that’s not too sweet. What makes it different is the texture, like a drier version of a blondie. Another blondie-like champion bake is the ultra rich nut butter cookie at Davis Street Espresso.

Hippos and Hashbrowns, which just opened a shop after years of supplying others around Dallas, starts with a sourdough base and folds in ultra thin chocolate discs. When you pull apart the cookie, the dough and dark chocolate layers look like delicious tree rings. With a sea salt garnish, it’s one of the least sweet and most distinctive cookies in town.

The distinguishing feature of the glorious honey-roasted peanut butter cookie at Leila Bakery is the sprinkling of large-grained decorating sugar it receives before baking. (I hope you don’t mind sugar cascading down your shirt with every bite.) Presentation is also top of mind at Everett & Elaine. Ever want a marshmallow-studded s’mores cookie? Here’s your chance. (The Addison shop closed before publication, but Everett and Elaine cookies are stocked at the Dallas Farmers Market.)

If you want a cookie for breakfast, it’s a no-brainer: you need the Longfellow cookie from Forget Me Not Bistro and Bakery, a naturally gluten-free concoction of oats, peanut butter, and M&M’s. It tastes exactly like a big, round chewy granola bar.

Don’t Waste Your Time

Breakout Austin hit Tiff’s Treats now dominates a cookie delivery market it helped to invent. I just wish the cookies had more character; fall-apart soft, they’re a lot like the take-and-bake dough brands you can get at any grocery. If your delivery box arrives late, the hot cookies tend to steam inside and turn into a pile of mush.     

Cookie Quiz with Marissa Allen of Cookie Society

What were your childhood cookies?

Always the break-and-bake. Exclusively. We never made cookies from scratch. We were very much cake, pie, banana pudding people. That’s much more of what I grew up on. I just rolled them into cookies!

What’s your cookie philosophy? 

We want a texture change. We want it soft in the middle with that crunch on the very farthest edge. We want the whole experience. It should be very different from that first bite to that center bite. Texture’s really important to us.

What’s your desert island cookie? 

I’m taking an oatmeal cookie. Oatmeal raisin. I ate that cookie for breakfast every day when we opened. It’s granola!

Where to Find Them

Argentina Bakery
3401 W. Airport Fwy.,
Ste. 112, Irving 

Carnells Cakery
3911 S. Lancaster Rd., Ste. 100A

Carte Blanche
2114 Greenville Ave.

Cookie Society
5100 Belt Line Rd., Ste. 830, Addison;
9320 Dallas Pkwy., Ste. 160, Frisco

Davis Street Espresso
819 W. Davis St.

at Buzz & Bustle, 5670 Village Glen Dr., Ste. 110

Empire Baking Co.
5450 W. Lovers Ln., Ste. 132; 5614 E. University Blvd.

Everett & Elaine
at Market Provisions, 920 S. Harwood St., Ste. 601

Forget Me Not Bistro and Bakery
4260 Oak Lawn Ave.

Haute Sweets Patisserie
10230 E. Northwest Hwy.; 6959 Arapaho Rd., Ste. 106 

Hippos and Hashbrowns
2349 Gus Thomasson Rd.

4029 Crutcher St.

JD’s Chippery
6601 Hillcrest Ave., Ste. A

5600 W. Lovers Ln., Ste. 143

Kessler Baking Studio
1129 N. Beckley Ave.

Leila Bakery
6041 Oram St.

Lubellas Patisserie
10323 Ferguson Rd.

Panini Bakery
6063 Sherry Ln.

Reverie Bakeshop
980 N. Coit Rd., Ste. 2850, Richardson

San Martín Bakery
3120 McKinney Ave.

Society Bakery
3610 Greenville Ave.

Stein’s Bakery
12829 Preston Rd., Ste. 417

Sugar and Sage Bakery
4314 Lovers Ln.

Sugar and Spice Bakery
3115 W. Parker Rd., Ste. 550, Plano

Sugar Ray’s Bake Shop
4021 Preston Rd., Ste. 624, Plano

Tia Dora’s Bakery
2478 W. Illinois Ave.

Trouvi Gluten Free Cookies
580 W. Arapaho Rd., Ste. 163, Richardson

Unrefined Bakery
multiple locations

Village Baking Co.
multiple locations

This story originally appeared in the July issue of D Magazine with the headline, “Accept All Cookies. Write to [email protected].


Brian Reinhart

Brian Reinhart

View Profile
Brian Reinhart became D Magazine's dining critic in 2022 after six years of writing about restaurants for the Dallas Observer and the Dallas Morning News.

Related Articles

Restaurants & Bars

Where to Find the Best Italian Food in Dallas

From the Tuscan countryside to New York-inspired red sauce joints, we recommend the best of every variety of Italian food available in North Texas.
Restaurants & Bars

Two Interviews Last Week Revealed the Identity Crisis in Dallas Food Culture

One focused on a bakery that spent almost nothing to create a nationally-acclaimed product. The other focused on a restaurant that spent $11.5 million to sell uncountable margaritas—and terrible food.

How a DFW College Student Is Building a Multimillion-dollar Restaurant Marketing Platform 

Anisha Holla, a 21-year-old UTD student, has built FoodiFy, a dating app for restaurant owners and influencers. She already boasts 25 local restaurant clients.