Taste Test: It’s Gingerbread Season

Who makes the best gingerbread cookies in the city?

December 6, 2018

By Kaitlyn Funk / Photo: Clinton Hussey

There are few sweeter holidays than Christmas—it’s the season of eggnog, candy canes and chocolate. But let’s be honest: nothing beats a classic gingerbread cookie. Here’s what happened when we asked two local pastry chefs and one keen reader to find the city’s best.

First, meet our judges.

Mark Burton is the executive pastry chef instructor at PICA. He likes his gingerbread cookies to be light and fluffy, and just sweet enough that he can enjoy them with a cup of hot chocolate.

Betty Hung is the owner of Beaucoup Bakery. She makes almost every kind of holiday treat you can imagine, but traditional gingerbread cookies aren’t one of them—she leaves those for everybody else.

Allie Turner is a UBC student—and former VanMag intern. She usually eats gingerbread in the form of houses, but she was able to make an exception for our taste test.

gingerbread
(Clockwise from left): Liberty Bakery, Fratelli Bakery, the Uncommon Cafe, Two Daughters Bake Shop, Cadeaux Bakery, Butter Baked Goods

Best in show

1. Liberty Bakery

“This is my favourite design—so cute!” said Turner of Liberty Bakery’s unique Totoro shape. The thicker-than-average layer of icing means this cookie teeters on the edge of being too sweet, but thanks to its soft, chewy texture and perfectly balanced level of spice, our judges really couldn’t find much to fault. $3.25, 3699 Main St.

Honourable mention

2. Fratelli Bakery

Our judges would have preferred this cookie to have a little more spice—it needed a stronger ginger, clove and molasses flavour to set it apart from the crowd—but they loved the nostalgic look of these gingerbread men. “The chocolate and candy decoration is a nice touch,” said Hung. $2.50, multiple locations

3. The Uncommon Cake

These custom-made cookies were described as “whimsical and fun,” but, tastewise, our judges couldn’t look past the heavy spice and too-hard icing: “I don’t like biting into a cookie and feeling like I’m going to snap my teeth,” said one. $4, online

4. Two Daughters Bake Shop

This gluten-free, vegan gingerbread cookie didn’t fool any of our judges—its dark colour and grainy texture immediately tipped them off. That said, they appreciated the bakery’s efforts to bring this holiday treat to the masses. “I’ve definitely had worse,” said one judge. $2.25, 121 E 1st St., North Vancouver 

5. Cadeaux Bakery

Cadeaux Bakery’s gingerbread cookies have a “nice peppery finish” that keeps them from being too sweet. The texture could use some work, though: “It’s a little bit dry and crumbly,” said Burton. “I could use some hot chocolate to dunk it in.” $3.95, 172 Powell St.

6. Butter Baked Goods

The cookies from Butter were lacklustre in flavour (“They’re missing spice,” noted one judge),but our panellists loved the cookie’s imperfect shape and sprinkle decoration—it has “a homemade feel to it.” $5, 4907 MacKenzie St.

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