Baked after dark, to perfection

Lily Blake

Tucked away in a discreet storefront in historic Benson, Baked After Dark caters to any sweet tooth’s midnight cravings. Baked After Dark is a family-owned late night cookie spot open Tuesday through Thursday from 6pm -10pm and 6pm-1am on Fridays and Saturdays.

Walking past the bakery on 2740 N 61st St, you would have no idea it existed until you smelled the aroma of fresh baked cookies. There is no flashing street sign or distinct entrance, but if you peek inside the store front window, your eyes will feast on the surprise waiting for you inside.

The interior of the store is nothing crazy, two cases filled with cookies and other baked goods and an open kitchen reside. There isn’t a distinct decor or even any seating, but the cookies themselves make the somewhat odd ambiance more than desirable. When I went into the shop, each employee working was related and that shone through in the way they interacted with each other and the customers, making you feel very at home and comfortable.

For the cookies, Baked After Dark offers a single cookie purchase for $2 and a dozen cookies for $16. I opted for the latter so that I could try as many flavors as I could and may I say, I was not disappointed.

Each cookie was the epitome of fresh. Regardless of the flavor, each Baked After Dark cookie achieves the ideal consistency which is near to impossible to find. The outside was crisp, while the inside was soft and tender, without being underbaked. The lemon cookie was tart and refreshing and was accompanied by a light frosting. The snickerdoodle had the perfect ratio of cinnamon to sugar. The mint chocolate tasted like a glorified thin mint, a chocolate cookie with Andes mints folded in, while achieving the perfect balance of textures. Both the mint and chocolate flavors were subtle enough for them to compliment each other.

My favorite cookie however, was the chocolate peanut butter. I am always apprehensive about baked goods that are chocolate peanut butter flavor because it is tricky to achieve a flavor that isn’t aggressively one or the other. Baked After Dark served me a fluffy chocolate cookie with peanut butter chocolate chips that exceeded my every expectation. The cookie base itself was dark and bittersweet which was the perfect match for the creamy and sweet peanut butter chips.

Baked After Dark also changes their cookie menu every week or so. They frequently have options for those with dietary restrictions, making their selection very accommodating. However, I recommend calling ahead of time if you have any dietary restrictions. If they do not have any in the case at the time you call, the staff has been known to throw a batch in the oven prior to your arrival. If cookies aren’t your thing, they also have brownies and cinnamon rolls.

I am a self-proclaimed foodie and baked goods connoisseur and Baked After Dark has me hooked. The space is not ideal for a group sit down, but the surrounding neighborhood of Benson provides ample stimulation for a waltz around, cookie in hand. Baked After Dark does cookies like no one else in a way that brings night owls and sweet tooths together to celebrate great flavors.

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