Great Bakes: Cookies

Cookie monsters rejoice; Indy’s serving up a fresh batch of sweet treats.
Photography by Tony Valainis

4 Birds Bakery
There’s a reason the signature oatmeal maple pecan cookie at this landmark wholesale bakery, operated by Jenna Unrue since 2017, has become a local icon. Its hearty, earthy structure, plentiful pecans, and toasty notes with a restrained sweetness are the consummate snack, whether for a decadent breakfast or a late day treat. Indy popcorn seller Just Pop In! even turned the cookie into an option in its Local Flavor collection. Unrue’s salted chocolate chip, chewy peanut butter, and cinnamon cranberry cookies are also top-shelf, as is the bakery’s generous assortment of gluten-free varieties, which you can custom order on 4 Birds’ website or grab at local farmers markets and gourmet shops such as Goose the Market. 607 Fulton St., 317-460-8181

Salamat Cookies
Michael Williams II’s enthusiasm for the cookies he bakes with his mother, Lourdes “Mama Odie” Williams, runs so deep you can sometimes find him promoting them over a sound system at a local farmers market, calling shoppers over to try a sample. One bite, and you’ll be hooked on the beguiling Filipino cuisine–inspired flavors—no better expressed than in the Space Yam! cookie, which owes its moist texture and Technicolor hue to the ube halaya, or purple yam jam, in its dough. It’s balanced nicely with white chocolate chunks and sweetened coconut. Go for a pandan-enriched cookie with earthy coconut and vanilla undertones, or try a seasonal flavor such as chai or pumpkin spice. 8320 E. 10th St., 317-918-7978

Please & Thank You
When this Louisville institution imported its cheeky approach to coffee (don’t ask for decaf!) to Mass Ave this summer, it didn’t just bring its great high-test espresso drinks and retro black-and-white digs. It also brought its legendary chocolate chip cookies, which Food & Wine has called “iconic,” and which the shop ships nationwide. Thick and chewy edges give way to a buttery, airy center with a not-so-subtle undertone of salt. Once you devour one with your latte, you’ll be buying a dozen to serve at your next party or to freeze for later when the urge for the perfect sweet treat hits. 849 Massachusetts Ave., 317-778-5555

Vangi Cookies
Venezuelan native Angelica Valencia may be just 23 years old, but the young entrepreneur has been baking since she was 13. Now, along with partner Raul Gonzalez, she operates a cookie concept from her home and local markets that specializes in oversized, decadent cookies, many with gooey fillings that Valencia calls “New York–style.” Start with the marbled cookie with a salty sweet Nutella filling, and go back for a four-pack of red velvet cookies stuffed with cream cheese, a Biscoff-based version with white chocolate chips, or a light and crumbly spin on a churro with a creamy center. Order for pickup or look for Valencia at a local farmers market. 305-731-0108

Stacco House by Mammamia
When Lucio Romani sold his authentic trattoria Ristorante Roma a few months before the pandemic, he opened a cozy gelato shop in Carmel, eventually adding some of his best savory dishes, as well as sweets baked by his wife, pastry chef Christine Jourdan. And while the cases in their shop are filled with an elegant array of cakes, tortes, and tiramisu, it’s the cookies that are the most charming and unusual, such as the light and crispy Amaretti Amarena with almond flour and wild cherries or the rich and aromatic pistachio thumbprint cookies, buttery and crusted with whole pistachios with a filling of strawberry jam. They’re a colorful addition to a holiday gift box or to your afternoon tea tray. 834 W. Main St., Carmel, 317-740-0113