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Assorted cookies of varying sizes
(Jessica Miller / For The Times)

24 of the best cookies in L.A. to crush your sweet tooth

Cookies are the ultimate bringers of joy. These days, Los Angeles is flush with standout bakeries ready to satisfy every type of cookie craving. The cookie scene here has gotten so competitive that a handful of East Coast shops have relocated to get in on the action.

Last summer, famed New York bakery Levain landed on Larchmont Boulevard with dense 6-ounce cookies embellished with coconut flakes, gooey chocolate and caramel. Lines are constant at James Beard-nominated Gusto Bread in Long Beach, with customers stocking up on sweet and savory pastries that draw from the owners’ Mexican and Argentine heritages.

For the record:

8:24 a.m. May 27, 2024A previous version of this article stated that the tahini chocolate chip cookie is available at Kismet restaurant. In fact, it is available at Kismet Rotisserie locations. The article has been updated with this information.

On a corner in West Adams, one of L.A.’s newest bakeries, Fleurs et Sel, pulls inspiration from France with fat, chewy cookies that weave floral ingredients with nostalgic flavors. And then there are the reliable neighborhood bakeries that have long perfected their recipes for crumbly almond and comforting oatmeal cookies, crispy biscotti and more.

During the pandemic, many returned to the nostalgic practice of baking, using cookie and bread dropoffs as a way to briefly connect with friends, family, neighbors and other fans of fresh baked goods. For some, their talent proved so impressive that they decided to leave their previous careers and pursue opening bakeries and other sweet-centered shops.

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Cookies are an accessible treat for whenever you need a little something sweet, available as an individual snack or in assorted boxes for special occasions. A cookie from one of L.A.’s star bakeries ranges from $3 to $5 — an easy impulse to pursue. From towering cookie sandwiches to jammy cookies that burst with the flavors of the season, here are 24 of our favorite cookies to seek out across L.A.

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Alfajor de nuez at Gusto Bread
(Betty Hallock / Los Angeles Times)

Alfajor de nuez at Gusto Bread

Long Beach Bakery
A child waiting in line on a recent Sunday at Gusto wailed to his dad, “Why does this place have to be so popular?!” Such is the demand for breads and pastries from the Long Beach bakery that once operated inside Arturo Enciso and Ana Belén Salatino’s living room. On many days, there will be a long line (sorry, kid!) for Enciso’s rustic loaves and baked goods such as springy, cheesy jalape?o bolillos and cocoa-sprinkled chocolate conchas. Cookies at Gusto include the ear-shaped puff pastry oreja, crunchy spelt chocolate chip, and powdered-sugar-dusted polvorones.

It’s the alfajor de nuez that might best represent the couple’s respective Mexican and Argentine backgrounds. As with his polvorones, Enciso uses walnuts for the alfajores, the South American sandwich cookies that are typically extra-soft, melt-in-your-mouth and pale (as in no browned edges). Gusto’s alfajores are nutty, soft but toothsome and slightly browned. The walnuts and the toasty edges complement the thick, extra-dark caramel between the two cookies. Go early for the widest selection, especially since the James Beard Foundation recently nominated Gusto for a 2024 award in its outstanding bakery category.
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Amaretti ai pignoli at Eagle Rock Italian Bakery & Deli
(Jessica Miller / For The Times)

Amaretti ai pignoli at Eagle Rock Italian Bakery & Deli

Eagle Rock Italian Bakery Deli $
In the hall of great Italian cookies, it’s hard to beat the amaretti ai pignoli. The chewy, gluten-free treats rely on almond paste for their nutty, soft center and egg whites for an almost meringue-like outer shell, while an onslaught of pine nuts forms a just-toasted crunchy layer atop it all. So few bakeries and restaurants make these fresh year-round in Los Angeles, but Eagle Rock Italian Bakery & Deli has been at it for more than 70 years. “Nobody does this,” Anthony Cafarchia laughed. “It’s too much work.”

The small deli and market was founded in 1949, then purchased by Nick Cafarchia in 1961; his sons, Anthony and Vito Cafarchia, now run the operation and use their father’s amaretti recipe, which has remained untouched for decades. The bakery team hand-makes a spread of roughly a dozen Italian and other classic deli cookies in a constant rotation throughout the day, filling the cases with rainbow cookies, macaroons and jam cookies, plus cakes, pastries and holiday specials. The pignoli, however, are always a top seller and can be purchased individually or by the pound. Try the pistachio version, which is also gluten-free, to switch things up — though you’ll find it hard to top the classic pignoli.
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Anzac biscuit from the Pie Room by Curtis Stone at Gwen
(Stephanie Breijo / Los Angeles Times)

Anzac biscuit from the Pie Room by Curtis Stone at Gwen

Hollywood Butcher Shop Bakery $$
Celebrity chef Curtis Stone may very well serve as one of the best de facto Australian diplomats L.A. has ever seen, consistently serving some of the tastiest cuisine of Down Under across multiple restaurants, pop-ups and price points. During the pandemic the Melbourne-born force temporarily flipped Maude, his Beverly Hills tasting-menu restaurant, into the Pie Room by Curtis Stone, a pop-up filled with sweet and savory pies — many of which are either classics of, or take their culinary cues from, his homeland. And you can’t have an ode to Aussie baked goods without the Anzac biscuit. The cookie that’s almost synonymous with New Zealand and Australia dates back more than a century, popularized by women’s groups and well-wishers who would send the hard, sweet rations to members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) during World War I.

It’s Stone’s favorite cookie that he and his team bake, and it takes the chewy route (some bakers make them crisp). His take uses the traditional ingredients of Lyle’s golden syrup, butter, oats and sugar — and then adds golden raisins for more texture, flavor and moisture. The chewy, golden, large flat disc is almost caramelized along its base, and there’s barely any flour holding the melange of shredded coconut, oats and those plump raisins together. While Stone and his team are readying the Pie Room’s permanent location, you can still find the Anzac and other banger baked goods during the Pie Room’s current residency in Gwen from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday and at select local farmers markets.
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Buckwheat financier at Colossus
(Betty Hallock / Los Angeles Times)

Buckwheat financier at Colossus Bread

San Pedro Bakery
Is a financier a cookie? Some call it a tea cake, others say it’s a cookie. It might be a stretch, but let’s call it a cookie here at Colossus, the tiny shop next door to artisan chorizo maker Chori-Man in San Pedro. Kristin Colazas Rodriguez bakes naturally leavened breads made with house-milled flour; croissants; cardamom buns; and danishes filled with herb-infused pastry cream and local fruit. Her financier is substantial — a lush puck of a cookie-meets-snack-cake, topped with slivered almonds and a daub of raspberry jam. The classic financier is made with nutty caramelized butter, flour and almonds. Rodriguez uses buckwheat flour, which is naturally gluten-free. And the result is a distinctively earthy, not-too-sweet financier (which is said to have been first created by a baker near the Paris stock exchange who baked them in rectangular molds so they resembled ingots of gold). If you’re looking for a straightforward cookie, the O.G. is the way to go: a big, crackled, crunchy, chewy, not too thick, not too thin chocolate chip cookie with chocolate chunks in every bite and flaky sea salt on top. A second Colossus location is open in Long Beach.
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Molasses ginger snap at Gjusta
(Betty Hallock / Los Angeles Times)

Molasses ginger snap at Gjusta

Venice Bakery
In the always-crowded Venice deli and cafe, the pastry case with its express line is your best bet for getting in and out in a hurry. Who needs salad when you can have apricot danish or apple coffee cake? Among its baklava croissants, seasonal fruit galettes, cardamom knots, banana buckwheat loaf, citrus ricotta cake and hefty loaves of bread are the bakery’s big, chewy, comforting cookies. Chocolate chip brown butter cookies might be stacked next to orange pistachio and miso date (if you’re lucky/early enough). It might be easy to overlook the ginger snaps, the homey spiced cookie that always evokes the holidays — but are great anytime. These aren’t the hard-as-bricks kind of ginger snaps from a box. They’re the chewiest, softest, crackliest variety, punchy with molasses and small chunks of candied ginger, perfectly spiced with ground cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves — but so well balanced that one isn’t distinct from another.
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Spelt thumbprint at Proof Bakery
(Betty Hallock / Los Angeles Times)

Spelt thumbprint at Proof Bakery

Atwater Village Bakery
The Atwater Village cooperative bakery founded by Na Young Ma is seemingly always full, with crowds jockeying for Proof’s legendary croissants. But don’t skip the cookies. Bags of chocolate shortbread and dried-fruit-studded biscotti line the shelves near the entrance. And in the pastry case are fat coconut macaroons; big, well-browned, crinkly chocolate chip cookies; and pistachio polvorones whose green tinge peeks from beneath a dusting of powdered sugar. But the spelt thumbprint cookies are a particular favorite for their nutty, not-too-sweet flavor, melt-in-your-mouth texture and bright seasonal jam filling. Made with spelt flour, they are light, airy and somehow both sandy and silky. The ratio of cookie to jam is just right, and the jam itself always sings with fresh fruit flavor, no matter what season it is. Most recently it was blueberry lemongrass or raspberry jam, but it will change again soon.
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