A few weeks ago, I attended a conference downtown and had a delicious chocolate chip cookie from a local bakery. My friend Vy is also a chocolate chip cookie connoisseur, works downtown, and believes it is the BEST chocolate chip cookie in Charleston. In the name of science, I wanted to put our theory to the test and try ALL the chocolate chip cookies in Charleston- a Cookie Crawl.
However, Charleston is BIG- especially if you include bakeries in our surrounding areas. If you live in Charleston, you probably don’t live in a touristy area- you likely live in the suburbs and frequent a local bakery close to your home. Last week, I blogged about my cookie adventures in Mt. Pleasant.
Since I had to take a few days off working out after my follow-up PRP injection, I ventured out to James and Johns Islands to try three new-to-me bakeries: Baker and the Farmer, Luckhaus and Brubaker, and Stono Market/Tomato Shed Cafe.
I brought the cookies home for a taste test. This way, I could try bites of each cookie and take notes, rather than eating a whole cookie and being too stuffed to try others.
Location: 3338 Maybank Hwy., Johns Island, SC 29455
Thoughts: Baker & the Farmer is down the street from Charleston’s famed Tattooed Moose, if you want something sweet after your dinner of duck fat fries. Not only is there a large gravel parking lot, there’s also handicapped parking as well as a ramp. With older parents, I know that Charleston- especially downtown- isn’t always the friendliest city for the mobility-impaired, but Baker & the Farmer is.
Baker & the Farmer has a large selection of sweets like cakes, cinnamon buns, cookies, and ice cream. You’ll also find other local items for sale like dog treats and granola. The inside is small and fairly no-frills.
This cookie was extremely soft in the middle, with chocolate chips and chunks buried inside and a bit of crystalized sugar on top. It was a very buttery cookie but stayed together well with no crumbling. The cookie itself wasn’t overly sweet or overly chocolately, but I got a distinct molasses flavor, especially in the bites without chocolate (there were a few).
Location: 1939 Maybank Hwy., Ste. B2, Charleston, SC 29412
Thoughts: Luckhaus and Brubaker is a whimsical, colorful bakery that serves lots of baked goods and once again, ice cream. Walking inside, I had sensory overload from both the smell of the baked goods as well as the bright colors. I’m pretty sure my eyes got as big as a kid walking into Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. Its location on James Island is extremely convenient to Downtown, Johns Island, and West Ashley and away from the Folly Rd. backup.
One note here- there is a $5 minimum for credit card purchases, so bring cash or be prepared to spend more than $5. I’m probably the only person who spends less than $5 at Luckhaus and Brubaker, but I had two other bakeries on the list, and Clay wasn’t home to help me eat the sweets. The worker was nice and patient while I dug through my car for change.
Of the three cookies I tried on the islands, this cookie was the crunchiest, thickest, and largest. The chocolate was very visible- all chips (no chunks) and rather sweet. The middle was slightly softer than the edges, but still fully baked and had the most consistent texture of the islands cookies. The ratio of chips to cookie was balanced with chocolate in every bite.
Location: 842 Main Rd., Johns Island, SC 29455
Price: 71 cents
Thoughts: Stono Market and the Tomato Shed Cafe are quite close to my home, but until I started this little experiment, I never thought to go there for a dessert. It is a very popular lunch spot with an attached brick-and-mortar farmer’s market. Convenient to West Ashley and Ravenel, if you’re in the rural areas and want to have lunch, dessert, and take care of some grocery shopping, you can do it all here.
When I pulled up into Stono Market’s slightly muddy parking lot, I hurried inside to escape the rain as well as the aroma of fresh boiled peanuts just outside the door. I was surprised to find so many varieties of cookies and brownies. Everything was individually packaged and the same size. Who doesn’t walk into a store and hope the worker will give you the largest cookie/dessert/slice of pizza in the display case?
Unlike the other cookies I had so far, Stono’s cookie was softer on the edges and crunchier in the middle- I’m still not sure how they pulled that off. It was a thin cookie, with visible chocolate chips and no chunks. The cookie was very chocolately, with each bite containing chocolate chips (not hard for a smaller cookie), and the sweetest I had all day. Plus, you can’t beat a bargain.
Final Thoughts: Chocolate chip cookies are subjective, so I hesitate to name a “best”. Some prefer chunks vs. chips, or soft vs. crunchy, and my favorite cookie may not be your favorite cookie. Of these three, I found myself drawn most to the balance of Luckhaus & Brubaker’s cookie.
Admittedly, I only drive across the bridge to the islands a few times a year, and generally, I’m heading to Folly or Kiawah/Seabrook Island. The next time I go to one of those places, I’ll be back to Baker and the Farmer, Luckhaus and Brubaker, or Stono Farms- because what’s a trip to your favorite beach or upscale golf resort without a sweet treat?
I purchased all chocolate chip cookies for this post. None of these businesses compensated me monetarily or provided free product in exchange for this post. If you’d like to pay me to eat cookies, this is basically my dream job and I will not turn you down.