Leading up to my Chicago trip I had compiled a good list of gluten-free spots to visit. Most of them came from finding articles or blog posts about gluten-free options in Chicago (or one off posts about a specific restaurant). I did my usual Yelp search and this confirmed a few places and brought up one or two new ones to add to the list. I was happy (and excited) to try some, if not, all of them.
Then a little bit closer to my trip I double checked a few things on Yelp and a place called Cookie Bar Gluten-Free Bakery popped up. I hadn’t noticed it before and I was a bit surprised as to why I hadn’t. The website said it was the only 100% gluten-free bakery in Chicago and the pictures… well to use a word that’s usually not used for food… they were kind of stunning! Delicious looking cookies and rich brownies. Looking over their menu, I was like “I’ll have those three kinds of cookies, those 3-4 kinds of brownies, a cupcake or two, a doughnut”… My mouth was watering and I was weeks away from even physically being in Chicago. It was a must.
I was all set to have it be a number one priority and then I saw there might be a bit of a wrench thrown in my plans. I was in Chicago Thursday afternoon through Monday night. My plan was for Thursday through Saturday afternoon to be family time and Saturday evening to Monday night to be friend time in the city. Unfortunately Cookie Bar is only open Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays (I see now that you can pick up orders Monday-Wednesday though). I wasn’t going to be in the city in time to visit on Saturday, so I had to figure out another plan. It ended up working out that my cousin was going to be doing a comedy show performance at the Annoyance Theater and Bar Friday night. That’s in Lake View, which isn’t too far from Cookie Bar in Ravenswood.
I planned to visit with my grandmother in the morning on Friday, drive back to my aunt’s, and then take the train into the city. It was going to be a long trip on Metra into the city and then taking the L up to Ravenswood, but it totally seemed worth it. Instead it luckily worked out that my aunt (who was also attending my cousin’s performance) drove with me early into the city and we made a stop at the Cookie Bar.
I had issues deciding what I wanted to get (without going overboard), but what “helped” was that the brownies and cookies only came in packages (not individually). So it didn’t make a lot of sense (if I was being responsible fiscally and calorie-intake wise) to do a package of chocolate chip cookies AND a package of sugar cookies and then a package of salted caramel Nutella brownies AND a package of peanut butter brownies. I went for a package of the chocolate chip cookies, package of the salted caramel Nutella brownies, a powdered doughnut, and a chocolate cupcake with vanilla frosting.
I started off with the individual stuff first. The cupcake was very very good. The cupcake was moist, but somewhat crumbly in a good way (not sticky). The vanilla buttercream frosting was great. Put together it made a great combination (and wasn’t too chocolatey). The powdered doughnut similarly was of high quality (for gluten-free and in general). I liked that the powder stuck to the doughnut really well (I’ve found things like powder, frosting, etc. have a tendency to fall of gluten-free baked goods easily). The doughnut itself wasn’t dry and had a nice doughnut density.
I was already feeling full, but I was worried about leaving the brownies in the car during the performance and them melting. I wanted to get at least one good one, so I “sacrificed” my stomach and comfort to give you all an appropriate review (you’re welcome!). Understandably you can’t not like something that has salted caramel AND Nutella (just one of those and you’re usually golden). The brownie itself was rich and a moist. The Nutella and salted caramel on top was understandably delicious, but also made it insanely rich. It’s something you can’t help but love, but also start to regret if you overeat. I was able to do a whole one pretty well and I’m glad I tried it of course. I just wish I had been able to buy one individually, but I’m sure my aunt’s coworkers enjoyed the leftovers from the pack that next week.
The chocolate chip cookie package I waited to try until later that night (thought they would be able to handle the heat a bit better in the car, which was true). Texture-wise they were like crispy, well-done regular cookies. Taste wise they were probably some of the best I’ve had. It wasn’t too chocolatey that it hid the flavor of the buttery dough (one of the best parts of chocolate chip cookies in my opinion). I had been able to resist having more of the brownies (despite them being very good), but I couldn’t do that with the chocolate chip cookies. They were similarly delicious, but weren’t too rich (except when I had like two or three in a row…).
Everything I had at Cookie Bar was excellent. It claimed to be the only 100% gluten-free bakery in Chicago, but it’s all you really need on the sweets end. I think it will take care of a gluten-free’s cravings for chocolate chip cookies certainly (really want to try their sugar cookies next time), plus will make people happy with their brownies, cupcakes, and doughnuts. My cousin (who is not gluten-free and lives in Ravenswood) as visited and also recommended it when I told her about it. Anyone that is gluten-free near Ravenswood (or really the north side of Chicago) should make a stop. Gluten-frees in Chicago in general should contemplate a visit from wherever they are to fill up on delicious gluten-free treats (you probably won’t be able to get just a little bit). Apparently they also deliver throughout Chicagoland (which is very very dangerous…).
Cookie Bar Gluten-Free Bakery- 1746 W Wilson Ave, Chicago, IL 60640