From a childhood full of Smiley cookies at Eat‘n Park to the mountains of homemade cookies at any Pittsburgh wedding (something we’re world-famous for, apparently) cookies hold a special place in the hearts of Pittsburghers.
But not all cookies (and macarons) are created equal. Some places go the extra mile — or put in an extra cup of chocolate chunks — to strive for greatness.
We’ve gathered a list of seven bakeries with cookies that rock. We’re guessing you’ve got favorites of your own, so tell us in the comments, by email or on Facebook about your go-to destination for a cookie fix.
Prohibition Pastries, Point Breeze
The best new cookie I’ve had in forever is a cookie sandwich made from two giant ginger snaps, with a perfect dose of orange creme filling in the middle. You’ll find it at this tiny shop near Frick Park Market. As you can probably gather by the name, their recipes often include a bit of local alcohol baked inside — like the Whiskey Kisses sandwich cookies. They also do a dulce de leche sandwich cookie that’s pretty amazing.
Moio’s Italian Pastry Shop, Monroeville
It’s tempting to get married (or get married again) just to get a cookie table at your wedding. When I found out that they don’t do this everywhere, I was sad for the people of everywhere. If you are planning a big Pittsburgh party and you’re not going to have grandma bake all the cookies, your next best bet is Moio’s in Monroeville. From curiously savory pinenut-laden Pignoli and rich yellow butter cookies with a cherry on top, to gooey chocolate thumbprints and sticky-sweet coconut macaroons, Moio’s gives fine renditions of all the Italian standards, plus a few surprises.
Gaby et Jules, Squirrel Hill
Is a macaron (not a macaroon!) officially a cookie? Who cares — they’re shaped and sized like cookies, and they offer the same kind of sweet deliciousness. That’s good enough for us. French-born Master Pastry Chef David Piquard makes melt-in-your-mouth macarons (meringue sandwiches with buttercream inside) with flavors so bright and punchy that you’ll ride that sugar-high for all its worth. You can’t go wrong with sea salt caramel or maple pecan or pistachio, nor can you lose if you sample one of every variety at Gaby et Jules.
Oakmont Bakery, Oakmont
This beloved neighborhood bakery has gigantic new digs and the same fabulous baked goods as ever. Known best for cakes and paczki, this place also cranks out an amazing array of cookies. The turtle thumbprint cookies are a particular delight, as are the apricot kolachys, and chocolate chip cookie sandwiches with creme in the middle, edged with chocolate sprinkles. There’s also a creme-filled sandwich cookie with crushed Oreos on top that’s the sugar bomb of your dreams.
Madeleine Bakery & Bistro, Wilkinsburg
First, they’ve got a delicious take on the classic macaron — salted caramel, among other flavors Then, they’ve got a massive salty-and-sweet chocolate chip cookie that’s perfectly moist in the center and crunchy around the edges. And if you’re really hungry, treat yourself to an actual sandwich on a house-made baguette before diving into the sweet stuff. You could seriously live for days off of this tiny, tricky-to-find shop in Wilkinsburg, and still eat better than the rest of us.
Nancy B’s Bakery, Homestead
What Penn Mac is to cheese, Nancy B’s is to chocolate chip cookies — the heavyweight champion, the Willie Stargell-batting-cleanup-level expert. These cookies are the standard by which all others must be judged. The bakery, on West 7th Avenue near the Waterfront, is a bit hard to find (look for the blue door). And because they only serve super-fresh, just-baked-that-morning cookies, they often run out of cookies if you don’t arrive early enough. But it’s worth the trip for Nancy B’s award-winning, melt-in-your-mouth cookies.
Priory Fine Pastries, Deutschtown
Pastries are the priority at Priory, but they do everything well — including cookies. Great chocolate chunk-&-chip cookies, coconut macaroons, peanut butter cookies, vanilla thumbprints, nut-and-jelly thumbprints, and a constantly changing selection of other good ones. When they’ve got it in stock, the Priory’s chocolate krinkle cookie is as perfectly-balanced a morsel of chocolatey goodness as you can get.