You know you hate baking when you resort to trickery to pass store-bought cookies off as your own.
I read a post on a food blog that suggested skillet cooking grocery store cookies to make them appear more “buttery.” It also suggested applying canned frosting asymmetrically to give the illusion of a real home-baked cookie.
Wouldn’t it be easier just to bake the cookies?
Well, for some bake-o-phobes, I guess that answer would be a big, fat no.
To those people, this article is for you.
Skip the skillets and icing tricks, and buy your cookies from a local baker. I scoured the South Sound for bakeries that produce cookies with a homespun feel. If your friends ask how many hours you spent baking, just proudly tell them you marched into your favorite local bakery and plunked down some money to support an independent business. Everybody wins and you won’t have to fire up your skillet of trickery.
Here are seven South Sound bakeries that make stellar cookies.
Celebrity Cake StudioWhere: 314 E. 26th St., Tacoma; 253-627-4773, celebritycakestudio.comThe bakery: Owner Odette D’Aniello has been decorating cakes for nearly a decade in Tacoma (and Lacey before that).Holiday find: Decorated sugar cookies in holiday themes appealing to kids and grown-ups. Snowmen and blue-frosted snowflakes would be ideal for office treats or teacher gifts. Priced $2-$3 each. Platters starting at $25.Tip: The bakery is friendly to the gluten-free crowd.Also try: Stay for coffee in the cute dining room. The bakery display case holds a vast selection of petit fours, cupcakes and other treats for take-out.
Corina BakeryWhere: 602 Fawcett Ave., Tacoma; 253-627-5070, corinabakery.comThe bakery: Owner Molly Ott moved her Tacoma bakery down the block in 2012 to a location adjacent to the Grand Theater. The space is airy and bright, a great destination for coffee and pastry. Find a spacious group table at the back of the bakery.Holiday find: Gingerbread men, festooned with holiday flair ($1.25 each). Also find holiday specialty cookie bars, such as the winter magic bar with cranberries and white chocolate, or the peppermint-chocolate bar ($2.95 each).Tip: The bakery is friendly to the gluten-free crowd. Get the quinoa cookies ($1.98 for two).Also try: Pastries and the deeply delicious Valhalla brownie. The banana pudding, layered with Nilla Wafers, is addictive.
El Zocalo BakeryWhere: 701 S. 38th St., Tacoma; 253-474-9000The bakery: This low-tech bakery attached to a torta restaurant offers a bare-bones atmosphere, but you’ll find bargains aplenty. Two bucks buys 10 cookies.Holiday find: Soft molasses cookies called marranitos (or cochinitos). Some people call them gingerbread pigs, although the flavor comes from molasses (3 for $1).Also try: Apricot-filled turnovers and sweet buns shaped like seashells. Criss-cross puff pastry buns filled with a sweetened cream cheese are a favorite. Pastries are 50 cents to $1.Stay for lunch: Find a long list of torta sandwiches here, served with a side of freshly fried potato chips in a dining room with plenty of seats.
Mama’s BakeryWhere: 10518 South Tacoma Way, Lakewood; 253-589-6262, FacebookThe bakery: This walk-in bakery specializes in muffins, but a display case also offers pie and cookies. This is a working bakery with no seating.The holiday find: White chocolate-dipped sugar cookies with red sprinkles. On special during my anonymous visit: a dozen cookies for $7.Also try: White and dark chocolate-dipped peanut butter or chocolate chip cookies. The bakery also bakes giant cookies.Heads-up: Some of the cookies tasted as if they’d been stored near banana bread. That seemed an isolated problem, though.You must: Buy a muffin and share it - they're huge. And good.
German Pastry ShopWhere: 6108 Mount Tacoma Drive SW, Lakewood; 253-588-5777The bakery: This sandwich shop doubles as a bakery with a display case full of cakes and strudel. Lots of seating.Holiday find: A baker’s rack to the right of the front door holds the seasonal cookies. The must-buys are the chewy-sweet hazelnut macaroons and the glossy butter cookies. The bakery also produces rich, buttery piped spritz cookies. I’m partial to the spiced cookie called basler lebkuchen. ($3.85-$4.75 per bag).Also try: Apple, blueberry and other fruit-filled pastries with flaky crusts and sticky icing. Turnovers are filled with sweetened cherries. Layered European-style cakes are sold whole or by the slice.Tip: Try the stollen, a sweet Christmas bread.Nearby: Hess Bakery and Deli, home of the region’s best pretzels, is a separate business across the hall.
British BitesWhere: 720 E. Main, Puyallup; 253-200-2342, britishbites.netThe bakery: This combination British grocery store and cafe also is a bakery with a display case full of freshly baked British treats. And there are plenty of seats for lounging over tea.Holiday find: Buttery shortbread is a favorite. I paid $6 for a half dozen.Also try: Mini versions of Victoria cakes, scones and other British favorites.Tip: Check out the sandwich menu.
Orting BakeryWhere: 212 Washington Ave. S., Orting; 360-893-2288, FacebookThe bakery: This cute cafe and bakery has a display case full of sweets, from doughnuts to pastries and cookies.Holiday find: A buttery cookie sandwiching a filling of buttercream frosting coated in sparkling mini sugar pearls.Also try: Tea cakes, gingerbread men and more. Cookies are priced at $1 or just below.Tip: Do not leave without buying a snickerdoodle.
Sue Kidd dines anonymously, and The News Tribune pays for all meals.