Monday, December 4th is National Cookie Day, a day designated for cookie consumption across the country. Embarrassingly, I am not really that into desserts. I am more of a savory gal, but even I — sans sweet tooth — can recognize a freaking great cookie when I nibble one. And in honor of the upcoming holiday, I’m sharing my two favorite cookies in all of Champaign-Urbana. One is from a little Mexican bakery in Urbana and the other from a popular neighborhood shop on Prospect Avenue. If you have a different favorite cookie, tell us in the comments or via email.
Art Mart’s cherry sugar cookie
I wish I could say that I discovered this cookie all by myself, but no, that’s a lie. I learned about this amazing cherry sugar cookie ($2.50) from our own Julie McClure who told me it was the best cookie at Art Mart. And I’m with her; it’s so yummy that it’s the only cookie I order there. Big sugar crystals sweeten with a gritty crunch, and cherries add a chewy, raisin-like texture to a thick vanilla cookie. There’s chopped cherries throughout — not too many, just enough — and each cookie bite with cherry bursts a delicious, tart fruitiness that pairs perfectly with the buttery crumb. I really love this cookie, and I don’t save this for after dinner; I think this cherry sugar cookie makes a stupid-good breakfast alongside Art Mart’s cold brew. For best results, save a bite of cookie with cherry in it for last.
1705 S Prospect Ave
M-Sa 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Su 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
San Miguel Panaderia’s sprinkle cookie
San Miguel Panaderia is an Urbana gem in the same plaza as La Mixteca, El Oasis, and the new Sepelas African restaurant. Small but so cute, the Mexican bakery’s cases hold a variety of fresh pastries — none of them labelled. Who cares though? Judge cookies by their cover. That’s how I found out my favorite: the panaderia’s sprinkle cookie ($1.50). It’s so good that I will stop by the bakery just for this cookie. Shaped like a flower, the vanilla cookie is straight up covered in rainbow sprinkles and tastes like shortbread. It’s buttery and not all that sweet, apart from the coating of sprinkles. I usually drink coffee with my cookie, so I enjoy the crumbly texture and restrained sweetness, like biscotti in that way. It could be a good contender for a dunk-in-milk situation, too. One time, I didn’t see these sprinkle cookies out, and when I asked, the staff brought some from the back — and apologized for the cookies still being warm (!), oh twist my arm; I’ll eat warm cookies. So, if you don’t see sprinkle cookies here, ask!
Panaderia San Miguel Mexican Bakery
510 N Cunningham
8 a.m. to 9 p.m., daily