Pacific Cookie Company exerts a magnetic force over many people the moment they set foot downtown. Photo by Curtis Cartier.
That heavenly hand-held creation that starts with butter, sugar and flour is one of the greatest gifts to mankind, and Santa Cruz has some excellent examples of it.
Pacific Cookie Company
1203 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz. 831.429.6905
A downtown Santa Cruz institution for more than 30 years, Pacific Cookie Company has won fans from around the world. Crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside and available in 13 flavors, from good old chocolate chip and peanut butter to Almond Joe (almonds, chocolate and coconut) and the lemoniest of Lemon Drops, these just may be the Platonic ideal of “cookie.”
216 Fern St, Santa Cruz. 831.423.6483
Really good, really chewy cookies—and they can deliver them right to your door with a quart of cold milk. Or turn them into an ice cream sandwich with Marianne’s ice cream. Or keep it vegan and let you binge dairy–free. Did you get that part about delivery? There are some bad things in life, but this isn’t one of them.
Gayle’s Bakery & Rosticceria
504 Bay Ave, Capitola. 831.462.1200
The huge bakery case features all the standards of the cookie canon—oatmeal, chocolate chip, ginger, chocolate macaroons—plus festive iced circus animals and, come any and all holidays, brilliantly decorated seasonal cookies crying out to be arranged into a party centerpiece.
702 Soquel Ave, Santa Cruz. 831.458.3020
At this bustling corner bakery they’ve got your pecan sandies and your thumbprint cookies, your comforting chocolate chip numbers and your fluffy macaroons. The hardest part is staying focused during the choosing and polite during the eating.
Kelly’s French Bakery
402 Ingalls St, Santa Cruz. 831.423.9059
Everything here has a French flair, so the cookies here are beautiful, buttery affairs. The butterhorns, sables and toralfa are classics of the genre. Kelly’s also makes a toothsome molasses cookie spiced with ginger, as well as Mexican wedding cookies, macaroons, and the tried-and-true oatmeal and chocolate chip varietals.