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This year for my very strange sheltering-in-place birthday celebration, I treated myself to a very real treat: locally made jigsaw puzzles and locally baked cookies! You can treat yourself to the same option if you live in Athens, by the way, through the collaboration between Very Good Puzzle and the subject of this week’s #MeatetarianEats post, Sun Cat Sweets!
Though I did purposely order a puzzle and cookie delivery combo, what I did not expect was how amazing these companies are! I made mention on the socials that this was my birthday treat to myself, and they sent me a birthday card, a second puzzle AND a knitting bag! OK, maybe they didn’t know I am weird and love using tote bags as knitting project bags, but still. I got a little emotional about the whole thing and it was the greatest surprise!
But y’all aren’t here for the emotional gushing over puzzles, right? You’re here because this is a post about cookies.
I honestly have no recollection of how I found out about Sun Cat Sweets other than one day randomly discovering them on Instagram. It’s a home bakery here in Athens. And fun fact, they will ship you a box of cookies if you live in Georgia or, if you ask nicely, the Eastern coast. I highly recommend this.
ladylike move of “shove it all in your face at once” or dropping it on the ground. That is not the case with these! They hold their structure well.
Next up is Cinnamon Lime Shortbread. My uncle Marsh makes what are actually the best margaritas ever, and I think it’s because of the number of limes and type of agave he uses. Fam, these are his margaritas in cookie form. The icing is SO WONDERFULLY TART and has lime zest to add citrus character. It’s a really thin layer of icing, but manages to gently permeate the whole of the shortbread cookie. The cinnamon in the name really comes through, along with what I detect as a nutmeg-y flavor and the cookie — PRAISE THE BAKING GODS — is not dry. I loathe dry shortbreads. Like I think it’s kind of the point to have a dry shortbread, but no thank you; this was much more my style.
The Coriander Snickerdoodle melted in my mouth. This to me was the most simple of flavors, but I don’t want to say that in a way that understates how addictive it is. I cannot say I have much, if any, experience with coriander, but I can say that I have lots of experience with snickerdoodles. These had the cinnamon sugar character, but like the rest of Sun Cat Sweets’ offerings, an herby and earthy quality that elevated it above what’s found in most bakeries. I really enjoyed the various textures of sugars on top, with the larger Turbinado crystals providing a satisfying crunch.
If I had to have a … not favorite? of the bunch? … it was probably the Fennel Linzers. Full disclosure, I don’t really like fennel. I blame it on one of my mom’s recipes that did not go over so well in my childhood. The cookie itself has kind of a shortbread-y consistency (drier than that of the Cinnamon Lime Shortbread) and the grape jelly layer is really thin. I think I may have liked these more if they had more filling-to-cookie ratio, but that’s just me. I definitely got the licorice-like notes from the fennel. They’re barely perceptible, but the fennel itself gives a touch of texture amidst the jelly.
To me, the Mexican Hot Chocolate was the crumbliest cookie in the box, but it managed to have the richest flavor. Like, one cookie is plenty! This had more of a bitter/cocoa taste than a milk chocolate, and I adore the addition of those weensy little marshmallows on top.
And lastly. I didn’t mean to save the best for last, because I stacked them in that photo before I’d even taken a bite, but I accidentally saved the best for last.
This, my friends, is the Rye Old Fashioned, and it was the one I was most excited to try.
The rye flour cookie is light and flexible with almost a cinnamon note. But the shining stars are the dried fruits. That citrus burst! The bright bite of tart cherry! It was candied without being grossly sweet and really just made me feel joy. If it were possible to have all the delicious bits of a fruitcake in cookie form (without nuts or anything colored neon green), that’s what this most reminded me of.
Next time, in true Dallas form, I’m getting a box of just these and a bottle of bourbon.