Guide to the Vegan Cookies of the Inner Sunset

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Alexandra Greer is a fifth-year Biomedical Sciences student.One of the healthy habits that I’ve adopted since eating vegan is not buying sweets at the grocery store. The typical desserts at your Safeway have milk and eggs. Instead, I enjoy discovering new desserts as part of my city-roaming, neighborhood-scoping free time. 

For example, throughout this year, I have got to know our local coffee shops and bakeries and to sample most of their freshly baked vegan goods.

Eating dessert is a risky business. You really want that cookie to delight your tastebuds and be worth the calories. Because I don’t want you to risk buying an overpriced, high-calorie vegan dessert only to be left unsatisfied, I’ve tried all the major vegan cookies in the area and described them below.

Arizmendi Bakery

1331 Ninth Ave. (between Irving and Judah streets) 

Mint Chocolate Chip: Good for when you are craving a brownie, but there isn’t a vegan brownie around. The mint taste is strong, and it’s packed with semi-sweet chocolate chips. It’s a double chocolate cookie the size of your hand. You need to buy it when it’s freshly baked, so the chocolate chips are slightly melted and the dough is soft. If it’s been out for a while, it’s dry and not that flavorful. Popular among non-vegans as well.

Apricot Almond: Similar to biscotti. It’s only mildly sweet, so you can taste the almond paste and apricot undertones. The best part of this cookie is its slight chewiness (again, you must buy it freshly baked), which reminds me of Italian amaretti. Arizmendi items are best right out of the oven, and mediocre hours after.

Martha & Bros. Co.

401 Irving St. (between Sixth and  Fifth avenues) 

Vegan Chocolate Banana: A satisfying, huge cookie filled with chocolate chips. It comes pretty close to a regular home-baked chocolate chip cookie. I would eat this again! Pairs well with black coffee.

Gluten-free Cowboy Cookie: Mediocre chocolate chip cookie supplied by Sugar Plum Vegan, a small business in Sacramento. It was hard to taste anything other than sugar, cinnamon and oatmeal flakes, and it was crumbly and dry. Its ingredients include: love (yes, it’s really listed), brown rice flour, oats, garbanzo flour, canola oil, chocolate chips, coconut, walnuts, tapioca starch, xanthan gum, baking powder and sea salt.

Vegan protein bar: I know this isn’t a cookie, but I really need to warn people. Please pass. Although it boasts 17 grams of protein, it tastes like a hunk of peanut butter mixed with flour, sugar and dried cranberries.

Sweet Aha! Bake Shop

Inner Sunset Farmers' Market (Sundays 9 a.m.-1 p.m.) 1320 Ninth Ave.

Chocolate Chip: This is a Farmers’ Market favorite and usually sells out. It’s a good vegan twist on a classic. It holds well together, and it is not crunchy or crumbly. The chocolate and sweet dough flavors balance each other well. Most people can’t tell that it’s vegan.

Oatmeal Raisin: Good option for the oatmeal lover. The oatmeal flakes add a chewier texture. Overall, Sweet Aha! cookies are less dry than the other options and are more appropriately portioned.

Let me know which one is your favorite!