On a whim, I decided to embark on a mission to find the best cookie in Milwaukee. It just so happened that I was scheduled to meet my good friend, Pang, for lunch that day and I decided I would invite her along for the ride.
Brady Street Madness
I posted my mission via facebook and received a few recommendations. From there, I googled the top rated bakeries in Milwaukee. Let’s keep in mind that these bakeries could possibly be well known for more of their other baked items and that specialty cookie shops are slim for the picking. The list I conjured was based on the enthusiastic reviews of baked goods in general. I filtered it down to the Google review ratings of 4.5 and up. In no particular order, it came down to:
- Peter Sciortino’s on Brady Street
- C. Adams in the Milwaukee Public Market (recommended via Facebook and on Google)
- Rocket Baby in Bay View
- Grebe’s Bakery in West Allis
- Canfora Bakery in Bay View
- Simma’s Bakery in Wauwatosa (recommended via Facebook and on Google)
Because it was a given from the get go that not each bakery will have the same cookie to compare, we decided to rely on the opinion of the person behind the counter for the most popular cookie and for their personal recommendation should there not be one or if it were to be sold out.
Peter Sciortino’s. Upon entering the bakery, it is the donut display that will greet you first but it will be the wide array of cookies they offer that will impress you. Being a very popular Italian bakery on bustling Brady street, I was not surprised it made the list in Milwaukee. We asked for the most popular cookie and it was the Amaretti and Chocolate Amaretti. However, it was the Vanilla Coconut Dips that the counter salesperson recommended as her personal favorite.
Peter Sciortino’s. L to R: Chocolate Coconut Dip, Amaretti, Chocolate Amaretti
Taste Test: The Amaretti does not look like a soft cookie at first glance or by touch. However, put it to your lips and even without biting into it, the chewiness is introduced to the touch of your lips as it caves in to the shape of your mouth. That was the first thing Pang and I noticed about this cookie. The chocolate dipped version of the cookie takes this cookie to the next level. For some reason, it heightens the flavor. The best thing about it is that chocolate lovers can appreciate it. Even as half dipped, it allows you to enjoy the complementary taste of chocolate meets almond chewiness. After a few bites, however, this small little cookie can give you a sugar rush. There is quite an amount of sugar packed in this little thing. The Vanilla Coconut Dips we both didn’t care much for. I think of it as a close resemblance to the chocolate “Mound” bar (aka Almond Joy without the almonds). Lots of sugar and coconut flakes in that Vanilla Coconut Dip.
C. Adams. The Milwaukee Public Market is quite another busy place, attracting locals and tourists alike. This recommendation came from a friend. Unfortunately, their most popular cookie, Chocolate Chunk was sold out! We had to ask for the next most popular cookie and it was the peanut butter chocolate chip cookie.
C. Adams. Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk
Taste Test: This cookie was huge. The size of my hand… guessing about the circumference of a little over 5 inches all around. It was crumbly and dry around the edges but moist (not chewy, moist) in the center. You most absolutely need to drink milk with this cookie. That peanut butter though… I am not a big fan of peanut butter in cookies BUT if the texture was right, I could like it. I’ve had good peanut butter cookies in the past. This cookie didn’t hit the mark for Pang or me. We’re into the chewy, moist cookie and it didn’t help that we both are not a big fan of peanut butter in this category. Mind you, I like PBJ sandwiches, peanuts, and peanut butter in general. But put it in a cookie, it has to be moist and chewy for me to actually enjoy it. Peanut butter and “crispy” just makes my throat clog. Unfortunately, their most popular cookie will have to be a question mark until we get the opportunity to give this place another try.
Rocket Baby. I’ve heard nothing but good things about this place from Pang. I was able to finally make the trip there with Pang nonetheless. They offered the three traditional options: Oatmeal Raisin, Chocolate Chip, and Peanut Butter. Of course, we asked which was the most popular and, quite frankly, the counter salesperson couldn’t say. Her personal recommendation was the Oatmeal Raisin. We went with that cookie and off we went!
Rocket Baby. Oatmeal Raisin
Taste Test: Though the flavors they offered were generic, I am a big fan of the Oatmeal Raisin cookie! My take on this particular Oatmeal Raisin cookie was that… it was too flat for my liking and there were a lot of oats in this cookie. It was a good cookie, but I didn’t think it was a great cookie. Pang, on the other hand, really enjoyed the texture and flavor. She liked the fact that the raisins weren’t overkill and liked the softness of this cookie.
Grebe’s Bakery. We missed it but we certainly followed the smell! This bakery reeked of freshly baked goodness down the street with our windows closed and AC on! I mean… you can actually smell their aura. This encouraged a quick turnaround, and we followed the scent to a nostalgic sign and arrow pointing to Grebe’s Bakery. Overall, Grebe’s did not have much of a cookie selection beyond the sugar cookie. However, their cookies were diverse in design and very fun to look at. Upon asking for the most popular cookie, we were introduced to “Hank” and a Smiley face.
Grebe’s Bakery. Hank and Smiley (Sugar Cookies)
Taste Test: I didn’t have high expectations here. Sugar cookies are popular and very common. I always have the idea that cookies that are overly decorated sugar cookies are compensating for the lack of flavor. You can blame the supermarkets for that. I chipped off a piece and it was crumbly, but, wow, I thought this sugar cookie was amazing! I didn’t think I would like a crumbly sugar cookie but the cookie melted in my mouth. “Hank” the dog wasn’t going to make it into my mouth because quite honestly, that would be sugar overkill. That smiley face though… definitely going to make into my smiley face. Who would have thought something as simple as a sugar cookie with a face could taste so good? I can now understand why they only sold sugar cookies because these are really good! It could be that my expectations were low that my rating on these cookies are high, but I still have to give it to them. Pang, on the other hand, thought the sugar cookie was too dry for her and the frosting on “Hank” added too much sugar. She liked the Smiley face cookie much better because it had less frosting but thought both cookies still tasted dry and old for her liking.
Canfora Bakery. Another Italian bakery we found in Bay View. Of course, there were lots of cookies but I won’t deny that Pang and I oo’d and ah’d over delicious cakes and macarons. We did ask if the macarons were made there. Unfortunately not. But spoiler alert, Pang said that macaron just melted in her mouth…
We asked for the most popular cookie they sold and were given the Spumoni.
Taste Test: This cookie, in my opinion, resembled a cake bite in texture and taste. Well, I can’t decide between a cake bite and a donut hole. It was the glaze that gave it flavor which was mainly just sugar. Upon reviewing this cookie, Pang had me smell it before biting into it and unfortunately, I did. It smelled like meat! Could it be? I had Pang smell it too and she definitely smelled notes of meat on that cookie. Though, for the sake of the best cookie on this hunt, that scent did not stop us from reporting. 🙂 I think this cookie was fun but it wouldn’t be one you would daydream about at work and rush after to pick a dozen to take home. It was soft in the like a cake (or donut?) but lacked flavor.
Simma’s Bakery. My family has been a long time patron of their cakes but, cookies? Not really. It has always been their cakes and cheesecakes they are famously known for. Unfortunately, upon arriving they were close due to a personal vacation. Hey, bakers deserve their vacation time too! However, did I leave disappointed? Of course!
Our Joint Verdict: Who made the best cookie on this cookie hunt?
Peter Sciortino’s. The chewiness, the flavor, and the impression it made won us over. However, be cautioned, this little cookie can give you a sugar rush high. We would warn against consuming too many of these.
Second Runner Up: Grebe’s Bakery (Mine)
Rocket Baby (Pang)
Would I stop here or continue my mission to find the best cookie? I would continue. I felt there was more to be desired in what I was looking for in what I could consider the best cookie of Milwaukee. I’m looking for the feeling as described on Master Chef: “Fist Food”. I want it to be so good, I want to fist more than one cookie in my mouth.
This was fun and I’d like to remind everyone to support your local businesses. My journey continues on with supporting local businesses who continue to deliver us baked wholesome goodness.
Happy memories made along the way: