The Best Desserts in Portland: Hunting for Cookies

Where can I find the best desserts in Portland?

I woke Saturday morning, in the midst of a cold, starving, and wanting to eat nothing but cookies. If I could eat only one dessert for the rest of my life, I would chose the humble cookie!

So, while Bob is off finding the best burgers in Portlandthis sparked my quest to find the best desserts in Portland, Oregon!

They can be crossed with brownies, “brookies,” crunchy, chewy, gooey, cold, warm, frosted, nutty, dense and rich or light and fluffy – so many options! Seriously, can you think of anyone who doesn’t like at least one type of cookie? Mmm hot from the oven, a tad under-baked, maybe toss some vanilla ice cream on ‘em, or smash that cream in between two and you’ll have ice cream cookie sandwiches…whaaaaaat, did I just blow your mind? For the most part there’s not a cookie I don’t like—besides the white chocolate macadamia nut cookie—ugh, I just don’t get it.

I’ve decided to capture my love for the cookie in a series of reviews called Cookie Party, because any moment spent eating cookies is a party in my mouth. It’s also an excuse for me to eat more cookies, muhahahahaha!  I’m kicking off my hunt for the best desserts in Portland by featuring sweets from two grocery stores, a local Portland bakery, and a local restaurant that also has a bomb bakery.

Grand Central, Portland:  Triple Chocolate and Peanut Butter

Triple Chocolate:  WOW!!! I was a little disappointed at first because it looked like I received the smallest cookie in the case, but the disappointment quickly melted away when I stuffed the cookie in my mouth. Triple Chocolate is one of the best cookies ever! Though it’s technically not a brookie, it’s very similar. It’s so soft, so chocolatey, and so delicate.  A rich dark chocolate, it actually reminded me of eating a lava cake. As soon as I bit into this cookie I immediately wanted to turn around and buy another, dozen. YUMMM!Best Desserts in Portland Oregon

Peanut Butter:  I normally overlook a peanut butter cookie; not because I don’t like them, I just like other cookies more. If I reach for a peanut butter cookie it’s usually Christmas time and there’s a melty Hershey Kiss in the center. This occasion was like no other, because I didn’t pick the peanut butter cookie, that was Bob.

That’s a perk of Cookie Party: I get to sample twice the amount of cookies when he’s with me. And let me tell you, I am SO glad he came along because that peanut butter cookie was AH-mazing! Covered in a nice amount of glistening sugar, this decent sized morsel was soft through and through – even on Monday evening after sitting in a bag on the counter all weekend, this cookie was delicious and soft! I will never think of peanut butter cookies the same way after my experience. DO NOT overlook the classic peanut butter cookie. This sweety kept me wanting to come back for more.

Best Desserts in Portland Oregon - Grand Central

Zupans, Portland:  Salted Caramel Chocolate Chunk and Snickerdoodle

Salted Caramel:  It was fine. I tried so many cookies, fabulous cookies, maybe on another occasion I would have been more impressed with Mr. Salted Caramel Chocolate. I’ve had this cookie before, I know it’s good, the ingredients work, I just think it didn’t stand a chance today.  Seriously, if you like chocolate chip cookies and salted caramel and it’s calling to you more than others in the case, go with it, you’ll be satisfied as far as cookies are concerned.

Unfortunately on this day the cookie of mention didn’t stack up to its competitors. Would I get it again? Yes, for crying out loud, it’s a cookie! In my world you can never go wrong with chocolate, sweet sticky caramel and hints of salt. Cheers, Zupans!

Best Desserts in Portland Oregon -Zupan's Market

Snickerdoodle:  Wanting to save a dollar, I immediately shut down Bob’s vote for the warm chocolate chip cookies in the case. (UGH face palm.) Instead we opted with the classic Snickerdoodle, loved by us both and a change in flavor profile from the rest of our scores. It looked soft too…I pretty much couldn’t resist the soft-seeming and cinnamonny goodness in front of us. Instantly upon biting said cookie, I began dreaming of the warm chocolate chip I had so easily cast aside. It wasn’t soft like a pillow, it wasn’t exceptionally cinnamon-or-sugary, it just was a fine cookie I suppose, but easily forgettable. Lesson?  Go with your gut. And probably always get the hot, fresh cookie.

Best Desserts in Portland Oregon -Zupan's Market

Papa Haydn, Portland:  Pumpkin Mocha Macaron, Salted Caramel Macaron, and Chocolate Chunk Pecan

Chocolate Chunk Pecan:  This was the front runner until I tried the Triple Chocolate.  The Papa’s chocolate pecan cookie is soft, chewy, and chock full of big pecan and chocolate chunks. I could tell that cookie was fresh baked.  It was a perfect chocolate chip cookie in every way, and pecan is a great nut choice for a cookie.

Salted Caramel Macaron:  This macaron has a nice balance of sweet and salty.  The outer shell is crunchy, but the insides are pillowy-soft and chewy.  This is an excellent macaron, however there is one salted caramel darling that stands above the rest, and that is from my favorite patisserie in Portland, Pix.

Pumpkin and Mocha is a weird combination.  If this macaron was not visually appealing, I likely wouldn’t have made this choice, but it was so pretty! From the getgo I found the combo to be odd, and as the story goes I should have followed my instinct and avoided this treat altogether.  As a former coworker once said, it was not worth the dimples [in your ass]. I wish I spent my cash on a second chocolate chip pecan…

Best Desserts in Portland Oregon - Papa Haydn, Portland

Roth’s, Salem:  Frosted Molasses, Snickerdoodle, Sugar Cookie with M&M

Frosted Molasses:  The.Best.Molasses.Cookie.Ever.  Period. WOW, this cookie was soft, spicy, sweet and delicious!  Even with my wicked cold I could taste all the flavors happening in this cookie, and boy did I want more!  Every time I go to Salem I’m stopping at Roth’s grocery store!

Snickerdoodle: Soft and yummy, tastes like Grandma baked it.  Not the best Snickerdoodle ever, but a good cookie nonetheless.

M&M Sugar:  Oh YEAH!  Soft and full of M&Ms, this cookie was nice!  I still think Safeway M&M cookies are better, but I’d add one of these to the dozen of frosted molasses cookies I’ll be taking home each time I stop by Roth’s.  Someone’s Grandma is back in that kitchen baking all these cookies and I’d bet money on it right now.

Final Results of the “best desserts in Portland” (cookie edition):

Single Best Cookie:  Triple Chocolate from Grand Central

It came down to the frosted molasses and triple chocolate.  Both are soft and melt in your mouth, and literally made me OMG OMG out loud, however—when I really started to think about which cookie I could eat most consistently, the triple chocolate takes the crown.

Best Overall Retailer:  Grand Central

Duh, home of the best cookie overall and the game-changing, mind-altering peanut butter cookie paved way to a clear winner right here.

Runner Up:  As mentioned, Roth’s frosted molasses was really special to me, but Bob and I both agree that our willpower will be tested, daily, living across the street from Papa Haydn’s and that chocolate chip pecan delicacy.

Bob and Nicole in the house!  Currently living the dream in Portland, Oregon, with our cat sons, Purrito, ten, and Luigi, three, but originally both from Upstate New York (Go Bills!).

We have a passion for adventure, seizing all opportunities to see or experience something new!  In our downtime we especially love road-trips around the Pacific Northwest, often exploring the great outdoors, but also intrigued with the quirky and lesser-known oddities we find along the way.

Fun facts about Bob:  Diehard Buffalo Bills fan who hates melted cheese and wearing shoes. A literal viking with a stellar red beard, but is not actually a ginger. If he could eat only one thing for the rest of his life it would be hamburgers.

Fun facts about Nicole:  Self-proclaimed crazy cat lady with a wicked sweet tooth, particularly for cookies. Creative and crafty DIY project-er, with lots of ideas and mostly unfinished projects.  Amateur runner who loves the outdoors, including camping and hiking, especially to waterfalls (Pisces!).

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