Once considered simple snack material, the humble chocolate chip cookie has risen through the ranks over the years, with numerous brands, bakeries and restaurants trying to perfect the baked treat.
Whether you’re looking for something to go with your evening tea or a decadent dessert, here are some places in the UAE to visit (or order from) for that ultimate sugar rush.
1. Ben's Cookies
If you're the type of foodie who turns a nose up at chain names, this one might change your mind. Ben's Cookies, a British import founded in 1983, can be found across numerous cities in the UK – and right here in the UAE. The brand specialises in soft, fall-apart cookies – baked fresh every day – filled with gooey, oozy pockets of molten chocolate. The key is in their use of chocolate chunks, rather than chips, which increases the ratio of chocolate to cookie dough to satisfying proportions, while the way the stores always manage to keep their cookies warm and still liquidy is a work of wizardry. Honestly, once you've had a Ben's Cookie, you'll struggle to eat a tough, hardened old chocolate chip biscuit again.
What cookie to order: The OG milk chocolate cookie (Dh12) is great for beginners, but those after a warming, spicy hit should try the dark chocolate and ginger (Dh12).
Where to find them: Yas Mall, Abu Dhabi; The Dubai Mall; Mall of the Emirates, Dubai; various opening times; benscookies.ae
2. Home Bakery
If you're craving a sweet snack, this home-grown chain of restaurants, founded by Hind Al Mulla, offers a veritable treasure trove of treats. While the long-reaching dessert menu is worth working your way through over time, Home Bakery's array of cookies is a good place to start. The signature here is a cracked, crunchy layer, which seamlessly morphs into a melt-in-the-mouth centre, with varieties ranging from peanut butter to marshmallowy s'mores.
What cookie to order: The Chewy Melt (Dh180 for 20) does exactly what it says on the tin, with a slightly crispy outside that gives way to a super-soft, moist, chocolatey centre. If you're after something with a bit of zing, the Dry Raspberry Cookies (Dh220 for 20) will do the job, speckled with freeze-dried raspberries and smooth white chocolate.
Where to find them: Al Wasl Road, Dubai; The Dubai Mall; Galleria Mall Al Barsha, Dubai; Dubai Design District; Umm Al Emarat Park, Abu Dhabi; various opening times; homebakery.ae
This small-batch bakery was started by Le Cordon Bleu London-trained pastry chef Nadia Parekh in Dubai. With the tagline "cheatworthy desserts", this online bakeshop specialises in bespoke cakes and tarts, but it has also gained quite a reputation for its decadent cookies. The classic cookie features puddles of milk and dark chocolate chunks, sea salt and a chewy dough, while those looking for something offbeat can opt for the Hangover, which includes "all the leftovers in our kitchen thrown into a cookie". That means a classic cookie dough base, cereal clusters, marshmallows, sprinkles and, of course, chocolate. Real chocolate lovers, however, can't go wrong with the coffee-laced All Nighter. Once you're done with your cookies, you'll notice a message on the box that reads "sorry, not sorry"… and that's exactly how you'll feel.
What cookie to order: The All Nighter for a dense, chewy treat with dark chocolate chunks, sea salt and a hint of espresso.
Where to find them: You can order from melangeme.com (they deliver in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah). A box of six cookies costs Dh60.
4. Butter Salon
If you’re on the lookout for a cookie that will instantly satisfy your sweet tooth, Butter Salon may have the answer. The home-grown concept, which launched as a bakery in Wasl 51 in 2013, has a number of enticing baked goods, from a Nutella supersizedsupersize cookie that goes for Dh160 (personalised messages can be written on top) to colourful birthday cookies.
What cookie to order: The Nutella Seasalt cookie (Dh11) is a decadent creation that oozes Nutella when broken apart.
Where to find them: Butter Salon is located in Wasl 51; Dubai residents can also order online on Instagram through RadYes.
This online delivery bakery is behind some pretty innovative hybrid desserts (including the cupookie), so you know it's the place to check out if you're looking for something offbeat. Kids, for instance, are sure to enjoy the "paint your own cookie set" while chocolate lovers can choose between Brown Sugar Babe (a Nutella-stuffed chocolate chip cookie) and the Chewy Chocolate Melts. SugarMoo also delivers cookie and milk combinations so you can enjoy your cookies they were meant to be eaten ... alongside a glass of the cold stuff.
What cookie to order: The red velvet Oreo crunch (Dh16), which is chewy on the outside but features the much-loved cream-filled biscuit within, is a winner.
Where to find them: sugarmoo.com; SugarMoo delivers in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah.
Another online bakery that's racked up quite a reputation for its varied cookies is Pistachoux. Started by pastry chef Natasha Daoud, who finished her culinary studies in Florence before offering her own line of pastries, Pistachoux makes a range of interesting cookies, including a Nutella sea salt, Lotus cinnamon, chocolate peanut butter chip, Reese's peanut butter chocolate and a vegan tahini dark chocolate. The cookies are chewy, thicker around the middle than your average biscuit and extremely indulgent.
What cookie to order: The Valrhona dark chocolate chunk cookies (Dh10) with sea salt are worth a try.
Where to find them: The cookies can be ordered in Dubai via Chatfood or by calling 055 296 7545; pistachoux.com
7. Camel Cookies
This home-grown business started in 2013, and it already has six branches across the UAE and Oman. The brand was born out of a desire to give the heritage of the region a modern twist, which is why you'll find cookies such as date and saffron, and Nutella with Arabic coffee, on the menu. While their original is perfect for traditional connoisseurs, most of their other cookies feature a gooey centre enclosed within a crunchy shell, making them utterly addictive.
What cookie to order: The Kinder for a stuffed cookie experience, and the chocolate truffle if you're looking for something more classic. Prices start at Dh40 for six cookies.
Where to find them: The Dubai Mall; Al Khalidiya in Abu Dhabi; can also be ordered online at camelcookies.com