Milk Jar Cookies
Walnut Chocolate Chip
Chocolate Pecan Caramel
Chocolate Peanut Butter
For those tired of ‘artisan,’ a term applied liberally to everything from food and fashion to even toothpicks these days, Milk Jar Cookies at 5466 Wilshire Boulevard completely avoids the word when speaking about the quality of their homemade, small-batch product made from wholesome local ingredients, though anyone who has spent even a modest amount of time watching the Food Network or perusing Food & Wine will know that those terms, all featured on the small store’s promotional material, essentially mean the same thing.
Owned and operated by Courtney Cowan, a woman who literally ‘quit her day job’ to pursue a love of baking, Milk Jar has now been open since mid-2013 and having grown from an original collection of classic baked rounds to a menu now including Ice Cream Sandwiches and seasonal specials available to be shipped anywhere the storefront amidst a classic stretch of Mid-Wilshire nonetheless remains something of a hidden gem, it’s cute wooden sign and shabby-chic outdoor seating effortlessly blending into the background for those not specifically searching for it.
Now serving guests six days a week beginning at 11am, though the consistent flow of traffic, mail-orders and catering provide relative certainty that something will be fresh from the oven at any time of day, it was just past two o’clock on Friday that a visit was made to the small shop decorated much like one may guess from the exterior appearance, two bubbly young women working the register while a substantially larger group could be seen hand-rolling dough and removing fresh Cookies from trays in back.
Sticking to the ‘do one thing and do it well’ ideal, no Bars, Cakes or Pies in sight, it was after long perusal that decisions were made from fourteen daily choices, the gluten-free options eschewed in favor of six soft mounds that were individually sealed in plastic envelopes before being placed in a box with confetti and tied with lace at a cost of fifteen dollars.
Suggesting that the “Milk & Cookies” not be bagged due to the warm temperature, an agreeable situation as the soft circle speckled in Fruity Pebbles and Cinnamon Toast Crunch proved absolutely perfect with the tangy Yogurt Chips still melty amidst a not-yet-set base, it was with a smile on the face that the rest of the lot was unboxed and tasted just a few hours later back at the hotel room, a progression from light to dark starting with the Cinnamon Sugar Snickerdoodle that quite literally melted on the tongue as a result of all the butter, the Oatmeal Raisin soft from edge to edge like a warm bowl of Oats cooked thick with Whole Milk and Brown Butter, plus plenty of sweetness from the Fruit mixed in.
Moving next to Walnut Chocolate Chip, actually the only option selected that featured a crisp rim around the soft middle, it becomes evident quickly that Milk Jar is not working with average Chocolate as soon as one bites into the bittersweet mix of flavors, a similar quality of Cocoa found blended into a “Turtle”-like confection called Chocolate Pecan Caramel that actually gets a little messy thanks to the smooth and gooey center while Chocolate Peanut Butter more-or-less replicates the flavor made famous by Reese’s without separating the two ingredients, but instead serving them as a soft and moist blend.