Cookies By Design is one of the few speciality cookie shops left in Hawaii. It’s tucked off to the side of a busy Honolulu street, a couple doors down from a luggage repair shop, and can be easily missed if you don’t read the sign carefully.

I’ve apparently been driving past this store for years before noticing it. But it was my urgent need to find a holiday gift basket last year that gave me incentive to finally stop by. Although the shop is super small, it’s packed with lots of goodies – from gourmet cookies to specially-designed ones. Hello Kitty seemed to be a popular theme there at the time, but it looked like there were tons of other designs to choose from. Unlike other cookie businesses, customers can request specific cookie designs – down to the fine details of color – as opposed to ordering from a set menu.

Customers looking for a quick treat could also buy inpidual cookies from the display case. I tried the snickerdoodle cookie, which was a little deflated-looking but very tasty. I mostly wanted to try those pretty painted ones in the case above. Not because I wanted a sugar overload but because I wanted to make sure it tasted good. I once had a bad experience with “pretty cookies.” It looked great but tasted horrible, and as a baker myself, I’ve learned the importance of achieving the perfect flavor and the perfect presentation in your product. When the presentation outweighs the flavor, then you become a somewhat embarrassed baker.

After sinking my teeth into the sugary layers of a hula girl cookie, it was apparent that this bake shop had mastered the balance of flavor and presentation. It wasn’t overwhelmingly sweet and had the perfect blend of crunchiness and moistness.

I ended up buying a cookie bouquet, which is a basket of cookies on sticks (like lollipops). In fact, the shop claims to be the original creator of the cookie bouquet. They charge by cookie couplets, so a three-cookie bouquet would be about $32, while a seven-cookie bouquet would be about $55. You could order as many as a dozen per bouquet for $89.99. That was a little out of my price range, so I got the seven-cookie one.

Turns out my friends loved the bouquet so much that they didn’t want to eat it. They said it was too pretty to eat. I made sure they ate them, however, since that was $60 of cookies I didn’t want to go to waste! Overall, a very good experience at Cookies By Design. Friendly service and most importantly, a delicious buy!

COOKIES BY DESIGN • 1112 Pensacola St., Honolulu, HI 96814 • Opens Mon-Fri 9am-530pm, Sat 10am-2pm • 808-536-4447 • www.cookiesbydesign-hawaii.com

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