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Review: Holiday Bistro Cookies

Eleanor Hu

Contributing Writer

The Bistro logo, from outside the Bistro. Photo by Anushka Srivastav.

Lights, seasonal music, festive cheer: there’s a lot to enjoy this December. Our very own Bistro has an exhaustive list of holiday treats to add to the celebration, and I tried and rated every single cookie so you don’t have to. Spoiler, they were all delicious, except for a few skips (I’m looking at you, spicy espresso).

Starting off with a controversial opinion: the vegan chai cookie. Now, right off the bat, I’m not sure this is a winter flavor. Yes, chai is a warm drink, but at least in my mind, it’s inextricably linked with fall. However, that’s a slightly irrelevant point, seeing as the vegan chai cookie tastes nothing like chai and everything like pumpkin. Moreover, the texture is far from either a chewy or crispy cookie—its fluffiness almost reminds me of a muffin. Overall, I’d give this vaguely spicy, glazed cookie 3.5 out of 5 stars. It’s delicious, but to call it anything but a muffin seems misleading.

Next up, a fan favorite: the chocolate chip cookie. Now, I’m a big chewy cookie person. Maybe the batch I got was overcooked, but I felt the chocolate chip cookie was far too crunchy. There was also a rather large chocolate chip to dough ratio. However, I enjoyed the bang for my buck: this cookie was definitely larger than my face. Again, this isn’t necessarily a holiday flavor seeing as it’s in the Bistro year-round, but there’s nothing stopping you from leaving it out for Santa. I give it a solid 3.5/5 stars.

Now, by far the worst cookie of the bunch: the gluten free spicy espresso cookie. I cannot express how horrendous, how atrocious this cookie was. First off, the dough — I felt like I was eating chalk. It did not break off into pieces, it crumbled into espresso dust, and when I finally got to actually eating it, it left my mouth horribly dry. Moreover, the actual flavor was mediocre at best. Though admittedly I did not get through much of this cookie, I did not at any point taste espresso, only a slight bit of spice. The cookie also had an enormous amount of chocolate, but only in the center—quality control on this batch was clearly lacking. Overall, spicy espresso gets 1/5 stars, the one star being because I gave it to someone in my hall who seemed to enjoy it.

On a more positive note, the next cookie up is the snickerdoodle. If the spicy espresso is everything a cookie shouldn’t be, the snickerdoodle is everything it should. Chewy, buttery, delicious but not overly sweet — the snickerdoodle was everything I expected and more. Even as someone who wouldn’t choose a snickerdoodle as their first choice, I loved this cookie. It was also appropriately gigantic, which is a factor I very much appreciated. The snickerdoodle definitely gets 5/5 stars.

Our next cookie of the bunch is the sugar cookie. I will say, initially I really enjoyed this cookie. It was sweet, soft and a solid contender for best holiday cookie of the bunch. However, the more I ate of it, the more sick I got of the excessively sugary icing. In a smaller size, perhaps the sugar cookie would get five out of five stars. However, given the fact that four bites in I never wanted anything sugary in my mouth ever again, I have to detract at least a star and half — 3.5/5 stars.

Finally, we get to a true holiday flavor. The chocolate peppermint cookie was one of the few I’ve found at the Bistro that would be decidedly out of place during any other season, and definitely the flavor that best encapsulated the holidays. The dough is chocolate, vaguely reminiscent of hot chocolate, and it’s topped with a peppermint icing. I have to say, in terms of flavoring, this cookie is perfect. My only qualm is how crispy it is, but if that’s the texture you prefer, I’d highly recommend the chocolate peppermint cookie. It gets 4.5/5 stars.

The last cookie that I sampled was the gingerbread, and I wish I had stopped after chocolate peppermint — the gingerbread was a disappointing finale. First off, after the other enormous cookies, the tiny gingerbread person was a bit of a let down, especially considering the extra fifty cents more it cost. Moreover, this cookie was undeniably overbaked: it was crispy to the point of no return. I would say as a whole, the term gingerbread was rather misleading, as the cookie was much closer to a very mediocre gingersnap. If you enjoy eating overbaked cookies shaped like people, maybe the Bistro’s gingerbread is for you. Not for me, though. I give it 2/5 stars.

As a bonus, I decided to try a London fog muffin, mainly because I had no idea how the tea would translate to a muffin. I have to say, I wasn’t terribly impressed. The actual flavor of the muffin was pretty decent, but the dryness really took away from the overall wow factor. However, I did enjoy the icing, and I suspect it would go well with a drink to offset the moisture it was lacking. Overall, the London fog muffin gets 3.5/5 stars from me—alright, but I probably wouldn’t buy it again.

To recap: the spicy espresso and gingerbread are definite skips, the snickerdoodle is extraordinary and the rest of the bunch I’d say are up to personal preference. However you choose to celebrate the holidays, though, heading to the Bistro for a cookie is a must. At the very least, take a break from studying for finals with your favorite one dollar treat.

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