When was the last time your cookies to Santa were interactive? Lauren Probst (Cookies by Lo) makes edible tic-tac-toe games and design-your-own elves.
Writer: Karla Walsh
During my childhood, no holiday season was complete without a cookie-baking day with Mom. Gingersnaps, peanut butter blossoms, no-bake marshmallow drops and of course decorated sugar cookie cut-outs—every flat surface in the kitchen would be covered with cookies.
But if you’re not keen on holiday baking, don’t worry. The city is full of creative and talented bakers, including those dsm has covered over the years. This season, we highlight a new cast of superlative cookie makers to meet your every holiday need.
Best for Food Gifts: Co’s Doughs
After 30 years spent developing, preparing, testing, tasting, styling and perfecting recipes at the Better Homes & Gardens Test Kitchen, Colleen Weeden wasn’t quite ready to hang up her apron. So after “retiring” from the publishing industry, she’s now selling her nostalgic, from-scratch cookies—including birthday sprinkles, M&M brown sugar, chocolate chip, peanut butter crisscross, pink Champagne and more—to the public. For one of the sweetest gifts possible, treat your loved one to a three- or six-month cookie subscription, which includes one dozen cookies delivered directly to their door. (Pre-orders required; cosdoughs.myshopify.com)
Best for Kids: Cookies by Lo
Lauren Probst launched her Iowa State Fair blue ribbon-winning brand, Cookies by Lo (short for Lauren), in 2018. When her oldest son was born in 2020, she made this her full-time career and says he hasn’t looked back. “The holidays are my favorite time, both personally and professionally, so I always look forward to helping you celebrate with you and yours,” Probst says. And you can tell that’s true: Her Christmas menu is full of playful family-friendly concepts like an Elf on the Shelf Kit, 12 Days of Cookie Countdown Box, Paint-Your-Own Cookies and Gingerbread Mug Topper. (Pre-orders required; https://www.facebook.com/CookiesbyLo/)
Best for Adults: Sugar & Spice Bake Shop
Dream up your signature cookie style and shape, and chances are excellent that Sugar & Spice owner Shannon Strand can bring it to life. Prices vary based on the level of detail and colors, but usually fall between $36 and $50 for 12—a steal for the flavor result. Instead of hard royal icing, her 3- to 4-inch custom sugar cookies are layered with her signature soft yet sturdy icing recipe that might just steal the spotlight from the cookies lying beneath. (Pre-orders required; more details at Sugar & Spice Bake Shop Facebook page)
If you’re in a hurry and don’t have time to order in advance, swing by Palmer’s Deli & Market, Main Street Cafe, La Mie, Gateway or Purveyor—all offer grab-and-go goodies very much worthy of any party.
Want even more ideas? Check out the impressive brands we’ve already highlighted, including Kiana’s Cookie Creations, Oh High Bakery, Nash’s Confections, Crème, Brookie’s, Red’s Bakery, Sift N Sprinkle, Jess Desserts, Prairie Rose Desserts and Thistle’s Summit.