First, I call your attention to the almond horn, a handful of almond paste and magic rolled in sliced almonds and twisted into an arc, baked and finished by dipping each end in chocolate. The almond part is like teatime with Danish royalty; the chocolate parts are just chocolatey enough to quell a solid chocolate craving, and voilà--more cookie greatness than in a whole factory of Chips Ahoy. There's a "custard lines" ($.80), which looks like nothing special, like some mere sugar cookie. But bite into it, and you find a blob of creamy, creamy custard. The coconut macaroons are textbook perfect, like Mounds Bars hit with a grown-up perfection ray.
Which is to say nothing of the Sarah Bernhardt. Now, part of me doesn't even want to tell you about the Sarah Bernhardt, because if you live in Northeast this is the sort of cookie that will rouse you from your bed in the wee hours with hunger pangs and longing. And if you don't live in Northeast will just make you feel bad. But this thing, it pushes the cookie limits quite beyond all reason. It is a disc of macaroon topped with a blob of the richest, fluffiest, most chocolatey chocolate mousse--yes, I said chocolate mousse, in a cookie--chocolate mousse which is then enrobed in chocolate and finally topped with lavender sugar, so that it looks like a huge diamond glittering on the floor of a sea cave. It tastes like a pastry at a four-star hotel. And it's only $1.35. (Blackey's Bakery, 639 22nd Ave. NE, Minneapolis; 612.789.5326.)
Monster cookies: St. Paul's Finnish Bistro's eye-popping pastry case
I guess there's only one question left: If you feed such a cookie to your child, will it jeopardize her moral well-being, her ability to financially shepherd her way through life, to empathize with others, and, generally, to grow up nice? After 18 bakeries, I think I suddenly see my grandma's point: Few and far between though they may be, there are some cookies that really are beyond the human understanding of good, and you flirt with them at your peril. But now at least you know where they are.