Top Pick Of The Week

December 11, 2007

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Chocolate Cookies

One of 14 cookies in the regular repertoire of Rich Design (plus seasonal specialties). Photography by Jason Florio.

WHAT IT IS: Elegant, handmade cookies.
WHY IT’S DIFFERENT: An unusually large collection of fancy cookies with great attention to detail. Beautiful as gifts or for entertaining; special enough to be a stand alone light dessert at the end of a fine dinner.
WHY WE LOVE IT: The choices are many and varied—while you can’t eat all 14 varieties at once, it’s nice to have the option. In an era of bite-size fancy cookies, it’s nice to have one that you can hold in your hand for two or three bites.

Rich Design:
Gorgeous Cookie Gifts

Some people who typically enjoy good food have never seen the type of artful, handmade fancy cookies produced by Claire Rich. To make such cookies requires a diversity of skills: design talent, manual dexterity, great recipes and top ingredients. Throw in a measure of patience to make each cookie as perfect as the next. What results is a collection that can be described as pretty, artistic, even gracious. Every fine food fan should have the opportunity to enjoy such cookies now and then. But high rents, low margins, inability to find good help and the willingness of customers to settle for more prosaic cookies have driven many would-be fine cookie artisans away from such a labor-intensive enterprise.

Claire Rich has persevered, finding a way to practice her craft without the overhead of a storefront bakery or café. Rich Design cookies are handmade in small batches, using the best butter, chocolate, vanilla and other ingredients. An assortment of cookies, about two inches in diameter, comprises rolled cookies, sandwich cookies and drop cookies (read about the different types of cookies). Their handmade yet elegant visual appeal denotes something special, whether for a personal gift or party food. Or, consider them an educational gift, for people whose cookie experience has been limited to sad, commercial fare. Read the full review below.

THE NIBBLE does not sell the foods we review
or receive fees from manufacturers for recommending them.

Our recommendations are based purely on our opinion, after tasting thousands of products each year, that they represent the best in their respective categories.


Bake Your Own Cookies

All American Cookie Book Big Fat Cookies Great Cookies
The All-American Cookie Book, by Nancy Baggett. Every American cookie you can think of is here—more than 150 of them—from luscious Black Bottom Mini Brownie Cups and chewy Chocolate Thumbprint Crackles to Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies and crisp, spicy Old-Fashioned Gingerbread Cookies. A must for the cookbook collection. Click here to purchase.
Big Fat Cookies, by Elinor Klivans. More fun than baking cookies is making big fat cookies. Anyone can whip up a quick batch of 50 different gigantic crispy, chewy or fancy-pants sandwich cookies. All recipes are wonderfully clear and appropriate for bakers of all skill levels. But, you’ll want to make every single one of them. Click here to purchase.
Great Cookies: Secrets to Sensational Sweets, by Carole Walter. With more than 200 delectable recipes and more than 150 tantalizing photographs, and tips covering every baking method, including foolproof techniques to ensure that your cookies look as good as the eat-me-off-the-page examples in the book. Click here to purchase.

Rich Design: Gorgeous Cookie Gifts



Few people have the patience and skill to make such delicate, pretty cookies...much less so many varieties of them. Claire Rich is a professional fashion stylist, with an eye for detail that shows in each of the 14 styles of cookies she bakes. Her philosophy is that cookies should be delicious and great to look at: The presentation is just as important as the taste. While the designs are handsome, as you can see in the photos, there are special little touches in the preparation as well. Nuts are toasted for a rounder, more complex flavor. Ganaches are heightened with a bit of rum or liqueur. The packaging is handsome, as a stylist would demand: The matte black box has a grey pinstripe detail and is tied with a scarlet grosgrain ribbon.

These are cookies for adults, although those with the funds to treat the kids are encouraged to develop their aesthetic at as early an age as possible. All cookie styles can be purchased individually, by the dozen, or in several different assortments.


Cookies With Chocolate

Chocolate in its various manifestations—dark and white coating, ganache filling and cocoa powder mixed into the dough, grace half a dozen cookie varieties. Valrhona is the cocoa and chocolate of choice, with some supplemental Ghirardelli chocolate.

  • Almond Chocolate Espresso Cookie. This is an artful “half and half” cookie, almond cookie on one side, chocolate espresso cookie on the other. It’s a perfect way to end an Italian dinner...or to accompany iced coffee or espresso.
  • Butter Sandwich Cookie. This scalloped butter cookie is filled with a bittersweet chocolate rum ganache (photo at right). It’s perhaps our favorite illustration of the type of fancy cookie you should be able to find everywhere, but of course, can’t.
Butter Cookies
The Butter Sandwich Cookie is a charmer, for both children and adults.
Coconut Cookie
The angelic Coconut Cookie evokes snow, weddings or simply, yummy coconut.
  • Chocolate Cookie. There are chocolate cookies to be found everywhere, but none more simple and elegant than this. Made of Valrhona’s fine cocoa and decorated with sanding sugar, it’s perfect for tea parties or to serve with ice cream.
  • Chocolate Dome Cookie. A different type of cookie, this has the texture of cake. Made with bittersweet chocolate, it is sprinkled with dark French cocoa and confectioner’s sugar. While it’s one of the more casual-looking cookies, it’s certain to be popular. Serve it with coffee, tea, milk or ice cream.
  • Coconut Cookie. There’s a coat of white chocolate underneath the frilly cloak of coconut (photo at left); the cookie is flavored with dark rum and Madagascar vanilla. Angelic-looking, it begs to be served at bridal showers, Christmas parties and wedding receptions. Or, at a ski house, with hot chocolate.
  • Mocha Sandwich Cookie. This simple but elegant sandwich cookie showcases a dark chocolate ganache spiked with coffee liqueur, in-between two mocha cookies. It’s a “manlier” cookie, for those who don’t want frills.

Seasonal-Theme Cookies

In addition to the “snowy” Coconut Cookie, Rich Design bakes four cookie varieties that are part of the permanent collection, yet are adaptable to seasonal holiday gifts. Each is stunning by itself; together, they make an impressive seasonal cookie plate.

  • Cranberry Sour Cherry Cookie. This simple, round cookie is made elegant via the chopped cranberries and sour cherries that accent its almond dough.
  • Iced Gingerbread Cookie. Molasses, ginger and other spices blend to create a crispy cookie, piped with royal icing.
  • Maple Pecan Cookie. These delights are shaped like maple leaves, with maple icing piping in veins of the leaves (photo at right). Flavored with maple syrup and toasted pecans, these cookies are a delight anytime, and a lovely accent to a plain dish of ice cream (toss some caramelized pecans and a splash of maple syrup on top for a special dessert).
Maple Pecan Cookies

Maple Pecan Cookies, and others that work as seasonal gifts, are available year-round.
  • Swiss Crisp Cookie. This cookie is a star shape, baked with a hint of chocolate and orange liqueur and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. Send them to your favorite “star.”
  • Snowflakes. This special cookie is available during the holiday season in a collection of four different snowflake patterns and flavors: dark chocolate, gingerbread, mocha and rum.

Traditional Cookies

Traditional favorites are also available, including a slightly different oatmeal raisin cookie.

  • Iced Lemon Cookie. Pure lemon juice and zest flavor this round cookie, which is topped with a swirl of lemon icing (photo at right).
  • Oatmeal Raisin Pecan Cookie. A twist on the traditional cookie, adding toasted pecans, rum-soaked raisins and a touch of orange zest.
  • Chocolate Chunk Walnut Cookie. The traditional favorite is flavored with Madagascar vanilla.
Lemon Cookies
Iced Lemon Cookies are delicious with tea.

Another special gift idea is to give the recipient a highly-personalized box of cookies in the shape of his or her initials (photo at right). They’re a great idea for birthday, engagement and anniversary parties, too.


When you need a gift...something special for a party or event...a personal indulgence...or just want to get closer to the art of handmade don’t need to roam the streets, hoping to find an artisan bakery. It’s just a click away.

—Karen Hochman

Initial Cookies
Who wouldn’t want a box of Initial Cookies (their own, of course).

FORWARD THIS NIBBLE to lovers of cookies, and to those who need delightful gift ideas.

Handmade Artisan Cookie Gifts

  • One Dozen Cookies (Any Style)
    $16.00 To $21.00
  • The Chocolate Lovers Collection
    1 Dozen Cookies (2 Each Of 6 Varieties)
    2 Dozen Cookies (4 Each Of 6 Varieties)
  • The Comfort Collection
    1 Dozen Cookies (2 Each Of 6 Varieties)
    2 Dozen Cookies (4 Each Of 6 Varieties)
  • The Tea Collection
    1 Dozen Cookies (2 Each Of 6 Varieties)
    2 Dozen Cookies (4 Each Of 6 Varieties)
  • The Variety Collection
    2 Dozen Cookies (3 Each Of 8 Varieties)
  • Initial Cookies
    Minimum Order 2 Dozen (1 Dozen Each
    Of 2 Initials, Or 2 Dozen Of 1 Initial)
  • Snowflake Cookies
    Packaged 4, 16, Or 32 (16 Snowflakes
    And 16 Regular Cookies)
    $10.00, $26.00, $52.00

Purchase online at

Cookies are wrapped handsomely with a homey touch, just like the cookies themselves.



Prices and product availability are verified at publication but are subject to change. Shipping is additional.

Check Out These Other Top Pick Of The Week” Cookies:


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