American-style cookies could be next ‘it’ dessert
American-style treats have been popping up with increasing frequency at dessert shops in Seoul.
Pie, cupcakes, carrot cake and red velvet have all found shelf space in bakeries and pastry stores in recent years, which may leave many baffled as to why American-style cookies ― the kind that are big, moist, crisp-edged and come in classic flavors such as peanut butter, chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin ― have been slow to catch on.
“I don’t think people are familiar with it yet,” Ahn Myung-sun, 30, owner of pastry shop Annise, said.
Ahn is behind an enterprise that might change that.
Starting late last year, more and more South Koreans got to bite into chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin and peanut butter variations through the appearance of places like Annise and Britain’s Ben’s Cookies.
“Cookies that are soft on the inside and crisp on the outside could be the next thing,” said Kang Nai-young, 27, marketing representative for Ben’s Cookies in South Korea.
At the Gangnam outlet, 11 varieties of Ben’s Cookies’ morsels are available including the ever popular milk chocolate chunk and the fragrant oatmeal raisin.(Park Hae-mook/The Korea Herald)
When Ben’s Cookies opened its first South Korean outlet last November, people from all over the country, including Jeju Island, came, said Kang.
“Lots of South Koreans have visited the United Kingdom and tasted Ben’s Cookies,” Kang explained.
Though Annise opened in Oksu-dong a mere five months ago, a steady stream of customers come and snatch up cookies.
By the time afternoon rolls around on a weekday, the snickerdoodles and chocolate chip cookies are sold out and another batch has to go into the oven.
Ahn’s Annise and Ben’s Cookies stand at the vanguard of an American-style cookie movement. Big, soft and sweet, these morsels attract a wide range of customers.
According to Ahn, a school bus deposits a hoard of kids in front of her store regularly, while Ben’s Cookies’ first outpost in Gangnam brings in both office workers and high school students.
“On the weekends lots of families come,” said Kang.
Situated as a shop-in-shop in a cafe in Gangnam, customers line up outside to get their cookie of choice from a selection of 11 varieties.
The ever popular milk chocolate chunk will send those who have visited the first Ben’s Cookies in Oxford’s Covered Market back to that initial moment of surprise, where a sweet and salty cake-like cookie is punctuated by an incredibly gooey, massive chocolate chunk embedded center.
That extremely soft center is practically a trademark, attracting people who crave that moist cookie dough-like texture, who themselves like to scrape the sides of the batter bowl and lick the spoon clean when baking their own cookies.
For those who want something that boasts a more cake-like center, the oatmeal raisin is a fragrant, spiced alternative. Thick, dense and ever so slightly crumbly, this cookie rides the line between a spice cake and a cookie in both texture and flavor.
When it comes to cookies though, the edges are crucial to determining its worth and Ben’s Cookies creations are wonderfully crisp all around.
Annise’s peanut butter cookies are intense encapsulations of that classic nutty, salty-sweet spread, done up soft and dense.
The chocolate chip cookies border on an addictive, blondie-like consistency while the snickerdoodles are liberally spiced with cinnamon sugar, giving them just the right amount of sweet crackle.
“We bake our cookies about twice a day,” said Annise owner Ahn, who added that sometimes three to four batches need to be made daily. “They taste best right out of the oven.”
Trained at Le Cordon Bleu London, the Brown University alumna fulfilled her dream of running a small cafe for local residents when she opened up shop in Oksu-dong last October.
“The items on the menu are things I like,” Ahn explained how she curated an essentially American-style selection of sweets.
By Jean Oh (firstname.lastname@example.org
Annise caters toothsome cookie classics in Oksu-dong, Seoul.(Lee Sang-sub/The Korea Herald)
Open from 8 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays and closed Tuesdays. Snickerdoodles, chocolate chip cookies and peanut butter cookies cost 1,500 won each. For more information call (02) 2299-2822 or visit www.annisepastry.com
Annise is located a short bus or taxi cab ride away from Oksu Subway Station Line 3, Exit 4 in the Hannam Heights apartment complex’s first floor.
Ben’s Cookies’ first South Korean outlet opened in Gangnam last November. (Park Hae-mook/The Korea Herald)
The Gangnam outlet is open from Mondays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturdays from 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Cookies cost 370 won per 10 grams. For more information call (02) 556-3275 or visit www.benscookies.co.kr
To get there go to Gangnam Subway Station Line 2, Exit 4 and turn left. There is a second Ben’s Cookies in Sindorim-dong.