As the region welcomes a few popular chain cookie bakeries, we set out to sample local mainstays and more

click to enlarge As the region welcomes a few popular chain cookie bakeries, we set out to sample local mainstays and more
Young Kwak photo
Rocket Bakery's cookies are locally beloved.

Fun fact: Cookies date to seventh-century Persia. Bakers used "test cakes," or drops of batter, to check the temperature of their ovens. Those little test cakes are now cookies, often just as fancy and time-consuming as their original forebearer. The chocolate chip cookie was a mistake, accidentally created by Ruth Wakefield in 1937 while she was baking for the Toll House Restaurant in Massachusetts. (Yep, that Toll House).

Americans are big fans of cookies, consuming more than 34 billion Oreos every year, and Spokane isn't any different. As you drive around town you may notice that, suddenly, cookies are everywhere! Local and chain bakeries are dishing these delectable goodies by the dozen.

While the region has never been short on options for cookies, there's been an influx of new shops in the last few years. Together, several recently arrived national franchises and Inland Northwest originals offer countless combinations of sweet treats. I had the chance to sample cookies at five bakeries, here's a snapshot of what I tried.

3315 N. Argonne Rd. and other locations;

What we got: Peanut butter chocolate chip, seasonal frosted, chocolate no-bake; $1.95 each

The Argonne Rocket Bakery is my favorite. There's plenty of room to sit, enjoy a cup of coffee and dig into a cookie while reading and people-watching. Each Rocket Bakery around town has its own cool vibe with the same reliable, consistent eats and friendly service. The peanut butter chocolate chip cookie is crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside. Rocket's bakers use crunchy peanut butter, producing an incredible texture. It's the perfect amount of sweet and salt, with a perfect bite.

The seasonal frosted cookie differs from the Rocket's traditional pink sugar cookie in that the seasonal version boasts vanilla buttercream while the pink has almond cream cheese frosting. The seasonal cookie is BIG, topped with oodles of decorated frosting. Under all that frosting, Rocket's sugar cookie is not overly sweet and has a great chew.

Lastly, the chocolate no-bake cookie: This is my brother's favorite cookie, and he won't eat it from just anywhere — it has to be the Rocket. The chewy, oat-y chocolate cookie is sweet yet salty, but not overwhelmingly, has a hint of peanut butter, and could easily be deemed a hearty breakfast.

14109 E. Sprague Ave., Spokane Valley;

What we got: Glazed and Confused, Brüella DeVil, Hollywood Diet, $4.50 each

Breaüxdoo has the weekend evening cookie market cornered. We tried cookies on a Sunday night, when no other bakeries were open. Their store has a fun, retro black-and-red theme and a few seats if you'd like to sit and stay. We tried the Brüella DeVil — the bakery's take on the East Coast favorite black and white cookie, featuring half vanilla and half chocolate icing. This classic is a light and delicate cookie that's easy on the sweetness (fair warning, the black food dye will color your tongue).

If lemon is your favorite, try the Glazed and Confused. This lemon sugar cookie with a lemon glaze is bright and super citrusy. Breaüxdoo's Hollywood Diet is a chewy peanut butter cookie topped with chocolate ganache and bits of Butterfinger — it's equal bits salty and sweet and completely decadent.

2009 E. 29th Ave.;

What we got: Sprinkles sugar, Swizzle sugar, oatmeal chocolate chip; $2.75 each

Twisted Sugar has a bright, cozy interior with plenty of seating. Many of this Utah-based chain's offerings are based around its sugar cookie, so if you enjoy a sweet chewy treat, the options are numerous! We tried the Swizzle sugar, a sugar cookie topped with coconut frosting, raspberry drizzle and a fresh lime wedge. The coconut frosting was super tasty, and the raspberry brightened it up. On the same sugar cookie base, we also tried the Sprinkle sugar, featuring cotton candy frosting topped with sprinkles. This cotton candy flavor is legit! It tasted like childhood. Lastly, I gave the oatmeal chocolate chip cookie a go. This isn't oat-forward but gives the cookie a good chew, and it's a great balance of sweet and salt.

1028 N. Hamilton St.,

What we got: Chocolate chip, brookie, caramel popcorn; $4 each

Cookie Co. is not kidding around. You can go in and grab cookies to go, or pull into their drive-thru near the Gonzaga University campus. Each week, Cookie Co. switches up their offerings, baking only four types of cookies with one weekly mainstay, the original chocolate chip. Cookie Co.'s were the biggest cookies of the bunch — you could take four days to eat each one, or share with three pals.

The chocolate chip was dense, chewy, salty and sweet, boasting a mouthful of chocolate in each bite. The brookie was a personal favorite of the lineup, part original chocolate chip, part brownie — it was hard to put down. Not too sweet, not too chocolatey, I wish they had it every week.

The last cookie we tried was a crowd favorite. The caramel popcorn has a caramel cookie base, a thick caramel popcorn frosting and a crunchy piece of caramel corn on top. It was salty, sweet, chewy and tasted exactly like caramel corn. Cookie Co. is part of a national chain, and Spokane's store is locally owned by husband-wife team Adam Le and Katie Huynh.

7808 N. Division St.,

What we got: Milk chocolate chip, classic pink sugar, original with M&M's; $4 each

Ahhhhh Crumbl. No more driving to Coeur d'Alene for a massive sweet treat. Crumbl's new North Division location is packed with employees, working endlessly to fulfill cookie orders as they pour in online and at the counter. Cookies are delivered warm and picture perfect. Like Cookie Co., Crumbl switches up its offerings every week with six featured flavors. Their mainstays are milk chocolate chip and classic pink frosted cookies.

We tried their original featuring M&Ms (shown at left), and it was perfect: crispy outside, chewy inside, sweet crunchy bits of M&Ms throughout. Crumbl's milk chocolate chip cookie was sweet, thick, chewy and just this side of underbaked. (I won't tell Paul Hollywood if you won't.) The pink frosted cookie is a sweet vanilla sugar base topped with a huge dollop of almond-flavored pink frosting. It's a classic taste with the perfect frosting to cookie ratio. ♦

Alpine Deli Beer Pairing Dinner @ Alpine Delicatessen

Sun., March 26, 5 p.m.
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