A top suggestion from @Martinemaeland1 was to check out Packers Orchard for, and I quote, “The Best Cookies”.
Just a few miles further along the fruit loop from The Gorge White House and I pulled in. Again, rows and rows of fruit trees just beginning to bear tiny fruit that would be ready for harvesting in a few months. They had Apricots, Italian Plums and Peaches all of which made my mouth water just watching them grow in the sun-soaked orchards.
However, it was the cookies I was after. Stepping into the shop and café I was faced with the most tempting smell ever. I’d caught them on baking day! The team there bake off over 1000 cookies a week for the shop and local farmers markets. And I’m not talking about dainty cookies that you can dunk in your cup of tea… I mean monstrous ones!
After trying several samples, I chose 5 of their favourites:-
Mexican Chocolate – The favourite choice of the baker herself. Dark chocolate with hints of chilli.
Ginger Snap – Golden, soft and chewy with a warming heat and the very familiar cracked appearance on top.
Half and Half – a lemon shortbread style cookie dunked in both white and dark chocolate.
Coconut Macaroon – Domed, shiny, sticky and moist. A super sweet ‘coconutty’ delight.
And the infamous COWBOY COOKIE! It was huge… quite literally the size of my face. A golden, brown sugar cookie, packed with oats, coconut and chocolate chips. And the secret… they substitute some of the sugar for a concentrated pear syrup! Oh Yes! No wonder it’s one of their signatures! Oh, and did I mention that it was 5 of those huge cookies for $5! Great value too!
To accompany the cookies, I finally got my first taste of a berry that originated in Oregon… created at the Oregon State University in fact… the Marionberry. It’s a cross between two different species of blackberry and the resulting berry is cultivated and grows in abundance in the Hood River region. It pretty much confuses the tongue because it’s almost exactly 50% sweet and 50% sharp/sour. Some call it the ‘cabernet of the blackberries’ . Blitzed up into a shake with local ice cream, a little milk and topped off with whipped cream it was just what was required. The colour was eye-catching and the taste heavenly.
The cowboy cookie is definitely a recipe I’ll be trying to recreate, but in the meantime… have you seen our Cookie Hacks? It’s as simple as 1,2,3!