“C” is for cookie. And if that isn’t enough to make your little monster’s tumble rumble, along come “CCC” — chocolate chip cookies! Chicago does the indulgence justice, because we have kid-friendly bakeries and restaurants that make delicious, from-scratch versions of the treats. You’re never far from your next fix. Here is where we get ours.
photo: courtesy of Beatrix
Beatrix is the Beyonce of restaurants. It does it all, from breakfast to lunch, brunch to dessert. One of the best ways for families to experience Beatrix is via its coffee and pastry bar, which is a full-fledged bakery inside the restaurant. The selection offers an overwhelming array of muffins, breads, cakes, scones and more. Something Beatrix does exceptionally well is cookies, particularly the chocolate chunk cookie. These large, saucer-sized indulgences achieve the perfect middle ground of crispy along the exterior and soft in the center. Each bite of this thick cookie gives way to a pleasant doughy chew, brimming with fudge-y melted chocolate. 519 N. Clark St., 312-284-1377 or beatrixchicago.com
Lovely: A Bakeshop and Bakin’ & Eggs
One surefire way to up the ante on chocolate chip cookie obsessions is by adding bacon to the mix. Lovely: A Bakeshop is the hub for all your bacon-chocolate chip cookie needs. The quaint, cottage-like Wicker Park bakery (there’s also an Edgewater location) makes the sugary provisions for sister spot Bakin’ & Eggs, a sit-down restaurant specializing in breakfast, lunch and brunch. Together, both spots sling the crave-worthy cookies. Sure, these things are rich enough as is, but the bacon serves to round it out with a caramelized, savory, salty touch, plus a toothsome chew. Lovely: 1130 N. Milwaukee Ave., 773-572-4766 & 1138 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., 773-253-5335. Bakin & Eggs: 3120 N. Lincoln Ave., 773-525-7005 or lovelybakeshop.com
photo: courtesy of County Barbeque
One of the essential guilty pleasures for kids (and let’s face it, everyone) is cookie dough. The act of licking the bowl and bingeing on leftover cookie dough is a taboo thrill that is practically a rite of passage for children. The problem is most cookie dough contains raw eggs and other ingredients that are not so cute to consume. However, thanks to County Barbeque, kids can consume cookie dough all they want, free of shame or health concerns (there are no raw ingredients). Spoonfuls of chocolate cookie dough are among the desserts on the menu at the laidback Taylor Street BBQ bastion, literally served in heaping dollops prime for gobbling. 1352 W. Taylor St., 312-929-2528 or dmkcountybarbeque.com
Chocolate chip cookies don’t get any more classic than the ones at this nearly century-old bakery in Lakeview. They look and taste like Grandma made them and plucked them fresh from the cookie jar. More like butter cookies that happen to have chocolate chips than standard chocolate chip cookies, they are soft, doughy and sweet, with a delicate sprinkling of chocolate chips. Their smallish size makes it easy to polish off a whole box, which should give you a good sense of how Cookie Monster feels on a daily basis. We love Dinkel’s because it’s a true, longstanding family business — it’s been in the Dinkel family for three generations! 3329 N. Lincoln Ave., 773-281-7300 or dinkels.com
photo: courtesy of Elaine’s Coffee Call
Elaine’s Coffee Call
For chewy chocolate chip supremacy in Chicago, it doesn’t get more indulgent than this cozy, vintage-styled cafe located in the Hotel Lincoln, across from Green City Market. After all, it’s not every coffee shop that boasts an esteemed pastry chef — in this case, Elissa Narrow. Her chocolate chip cookies are moderately sized, albeit a tad thicker than average, lending a luscious, buttery chew to every bite. Toothsome niblets of chocolate are interspersed throughout, and each cookie gets a healthy dusting of sea salt on top. 1816 N. Clark St., 312-254-4665 or bokagrp.com/elaines
Belly up to this bar for a variety of sweets — all of which are gluten free. In a small Ravenswood storefront (which we first reported on here), you can ogle a case of freshly baked cookies, cakes, brownies and doughnuts. Did we mention the cookies? Oh, those cookies. Using interesting grain flours such as hemp and amaranth, the bakers make a dizzying array of exotic cookie flavors (oatmeal chili-mango macadamia, peanut butter creme), but the chocolate chip cookie still reigns supreme … and rightfully so. It’s thin yet chewy, rich yet light and delicate. 1747 W. Wilson Ave., 773-334-0300 or cookiebaronline.com
photo: courtesy of Bake
A bakery that prides itself on classic American confections is bound to excel in the chocolate chip cookie department. Such is the case at Bake in Bucktown. This adorable, nostalgic Americana bakeshop peddles all the sweets that childhood dreams are made of, including exemplary chocolate chip cookies. Like the menu and motif at Bake, these cookies are pure classics, likely the closest you’ll come to mom-made cookies in Chicago, rich with notes of butter, sugar and smooth chocolate morsels. Tip: Take your cookie outside to the patio, but not before grabbing one of the toys or coloring books from the shelves. This spot is entirely kid friendly. 2246 W. North Ave., 773-384-7655 or getbakedchicago.com
Oh Carol, you temptress. Based in Highland Park, Carol’s Cookies has gotten a cult following for its football-sized cookies. (We’re exaggerating a bit on the size — but barely.) With a big shipping business and wholesale business, Carol’s Cookies are not hard to come by, making it all too easy to binge on sugar and ruin appetites for dinner. The brown sugary chocolate chip cookies are the embodiment of indulgence, not only in sheer heft, but in the astounding richness compacted into every single nook and cranny. Available at Sunset Foods, 1812 Green Bay Rd. in Highland Park (847-432-5500), plus four other Chicago-area locations (click here for the list). Also available online at carolscookies.com.
Did your favorite cookie make our list? Let us know in the Comments below!
— Matt Kirouac