Paso Robles is chock full of stores and restaurants in which customers can buy cookies of all different costs, tastes, textures, and sizes. Four of those places include Bless Your Heart Bakery, Batch, Brown Butter Cookie Company, and Cider Creek Bakery. Each store has vastly different products and styles, from recipes to decor. Through the event in which I and two others went to each location and rated, on a scale of one to five, the taste of cookies, service, atmosphere of store, and affordability, we’ve deemed Batch the crowning cookie shop with a total rate of 4.8 out of 5. The runner up to Batch, Cider Creek earned a solid 4.2 out of 5. Next came Bless Your Heart Bakery with a score of 3.5 out of 5, then Brown Butter Cookie Company with a total of 3.2 out of 5 points. Our grading scale has taste totaling ten out of the 25 points possible. Every other category is worth five points. After totaling the points, the score is divided by five for a final, simple out-of-five rate.
Batch is a quaint, hole-in-wall shop near the corner of 13th and Spring street, especially known for their ice cream sandwiches. The shop opened over the summer, exciting Paso Robles citizens who previously had to travel down to San Luis Obispo to get Batch cookies. Unlike in SLO, there is no seating — there isn’t even an inside. Customers must order at the counter and sit at the chairs facing to small store as they munch on their treats. If not for the colorful chairs, aroma of fresh cookies, and familiar “Batch” sign, one might pass the small shop by easily. Instead, customers walk with intent to the store, anticipating the soft, tasty cookies awaiting them.
The cookies we tried were the chocolate chip and snicker doodle. Both were incredibly good: fresh, soft, and sweet. While they don’t have an obvious unique taste, the cookies do not have a generic, everyday taste. Out of the four bakeries we went to, Batch’s cookies tasted the freshest. Not too hard, but not too doughy, Batch claims the throne to best cookies. In addition to the great taste, each individual cookie is highly affordable, costing only 75 cents. Because of the stop and go element of the store, lines are rare, so the cookies are served about one minute after ordering. As customers eat, they can lounge in the leaned-back, colorful chairs facing the counter. Due to these elements, we rated Batch the best cookie shop in Paso Robles, earning a total of 4.8 out of 5 points.
Cider Creek Bakery is a small deli and bakery on Oak Hill Road #2, filled with the aroma of cider, sandwiches, and, of course, cookies. The employees are all cheerful, patient workers, who immediately service you the moment you arrive at the counter. Ample seating is provided in the store, both along the side and front of the room. Among their bounty of their desserts sit about five or six different flavors of cookies. Each item sold in Cider Creek Bakery is quite affordable, especially the cookies, which also only cost 75 cents. While the store’s aura is similar to most deli/bakeries, it does have a specific quaint, friendly feel. Thanks to these features, Cider Creek Bakery earned second place in our rating of Paso Robles cookie shops.
The cookies we ate at Cider Creek were the lemon zest and chocolate chip. A rich yet refreshing flavor came with the lemon zest cookie, while the the taste of the chocolate chip cookie mimicked that of a classic, not too soft nor hard chocolate chip cookie. Both were served quickly, and while they aren’t served right out of the oven, they have a certain taste of freshness. In comparison to Batch’s cookies, Cider Creek’s are a little harder. They lack the certain “out of the oven” sort of taste that bakeries strive to perfect. Despite what it lacks, the bakery’s treats are still delicious. Each bite brings back familiar memories, as they stray from a unique taste and result in a “classic” taste. All in all, Cider Creek has been deemed the score of 4.2 out of 5 points, placing second in our ranking of bakeries.
Bless Your Heart Bakery is a low glycemic, gluten free bakery in downtown Paso Robles. Like Cider Creek, they offer a variety of treats alongside their cookies. Only three cookies were available during our visit: chocolate chip, peanut butter, and snicker doodle. The cookies, placed among cupcakes, sandwiches, and salads. At first glance, the treats look identical to any non vegan, gluten-filled cookies. Outside the fridge, the room has a rustic aura, and is covered wall to wall in quaint, wooden furniture and decorations. Upon entering the room, customers are greeted kindly by an employee. If the entire small staff is busy in the kitchen, a bell sits on the counter, and may be rung to get the attention of an employee.
Once we made our purchase of a peanut butter and a chocolate chip cookie, we sat outside on the wooden picnic table and took in the difference of these cookies. Unlike most, they had an energy bar sort of texture; the cookies, while not doughy, were incredibly soft and chewy. We started with the peanut butter, and were shocked to find the taste to be almost identical to a spoonful of peanut butter. The cookie lacked the sweetness of an ordinary treat, but did have the uniqueness of an authentic flavor. On the other hand, the chocolate chip cookie lacked the authentic flavor of chocolate, being gluten free and low glycemic, and tasted along to the lines of a cookie dough energy bar. Overall, the cookies were quite soft and chewy, but didn’t exactly taste like cookies. If you’re looking for a good low glycemic/gluten free bakery, Bless Your Heart Bakery is the way to go; if you want a sweet, classic cookie, this bakery may not be the best way to go. With all these factors considered, Bless Your Heart Bakery has landed third place with a score of 3.5 out of 5.
Brown Butter Cookie Company is a well known, small cookie shop right across from the downtown park. The company is best known for their iconic “original” cookies, which are soft, melt-in-your-mouth treats. Inside the brick covered, red and green clad building, bagged and boxed cookies are placed attractively upon central tables. At the counter, an employee is more than likely to offer each customer a cookie: sometimes whole, other times split between however many customers are at the counter. Cookies cannot be bought individually, though. Bags and boxes atop the tables hold at least a half dozen cookies each. Brown Butter Cookie Co does lack variety. Only about four different cookies are offered in the store, but online, six varieties are currently offered. The interior of the store is very minimalistic; there are only two tables, the counter, and a display of the company’s merchandise on the back wall. Unlike the other stores we went to, this company’s price for the least expensive item is five dollars higher than the most expensive place, which was Bless Your Heart bakery. Of course, six cookies cost a total of seven dollars from Brown Butter Cookie Company, which makes each cookie cost a little over one dollar. Still, the two dollar cookies from Bless Your Heart were six times bigger.
The cookies themselves have about the exact opposite taste of the treats from Bless Your Heart Bakery. Instead of being chewy and rich, the cookies are crumbly and dry. When the company’s name is mentioned, responses are often polar opposites; either people love them, or they don’t. In our experience, 2/3 of us dislike the taste, while 1/3 enjoyed the cookies. We sampled the original, espresso, and coco mint cookies. Each one worst than the last, the cookies got increasingly distasteful. However, the taste does appeal to some, so don’t let our advise dissuade you from purchasing cookies from here. This bakery is adequate, but due to the excellence of the previous bakeries we visited, Brown Butter Cookie Company has been left in last place out of four shops, with the lowest score of 3.2 out of 5.