I remember when Brightest Young Things first sent out an e-mail announcing their Donut Fest that occurred this past March. I simultaneously praised and cursed BYT (so much for that New Year's resolution to cut down on sweets) and immediately bought tickets to the event. I counted down the days until I could sample an endless amount of donuts from local restaurants and bakeries. As my countdown until the Donut Fest reached its final days, I discovered I would have to work, and could no longer attend the Donut Fest. I gave my tickets away and tried to make myself believe that I knew nothing about the BYT Donut Fest while also hoping it would happen again very soon.
When BYT announced Cookies and Cream, I felt like they had planned the event just to console me from my sorrows about being unable to attend the Donut Fest. I immediately blocked off my calendar and when I was asked to work again on the same day as Cookies and Cream, I quickly announced "I am only free for an hour!" Thankfully I didn't have to work at all on August 24th and was able to devote a full four hours to all things cookies and ice cream. 16 vendors offered a variety of cookie and ice cream flavors for sampling inside Penn Social, while some vendors also offered larger portions of their cookies and ice cream for sale for those guests who could just not get enough of their sweet treats.
I began my descent into sugar coma with one of Captain Cookie and the Milkman's Chocolate Chip Cookies. Stationed at the entrance to Penn Social, it was very fitting to start the day off with a classic Chocolate Chip cookie. You also can't beat the simplicity of a handwritten sign!
Next up was BakeHouse, who had the largest selection of cookies to choose from. I tried 4 out of the 5 offered cookies and the Fleur de Sel Peanut Butter with Nutella Fluff was definitely my favorite of the bunch. I can never say no to a salty and sweet combination, but adding peanut butter and Nutella to the mix put these cookies on another level.
I was working in Georgetown the time Macaron Bee opened last May, and stopped by the first week it opened. I loved it, but regrettably haven't been back since (no longer working in Georgetown hasn't helped the cause). Sampling the Fleur de Sel Caramel (I told you I can't say no to the salty and sweet combo) reminded me that I have to work a little harder to make visits to the Macaron Bee fit in my schedule.
The lovely team at Open City baked three varieties of cookies for guests to enjoy. Though I wanted to try as many flavors as possible during this event, it's hard to draw me away from a classic chocolate chip cookie. The ones at Open City did not disappoint.
Shannon from Uncle Chip's joked that she was serving the same cookies as the Open City team, so be sure to try hers too! Though the two bakeries did bake a few similar cookies, I didn't try to do an Open City vs. Uncle Chip's taste test, but instead happily enjoyed one of Uncle Chip's Peanut Butter cookies.
The Nicecream Factory continued to display the powers of liquid nitrogen, providing me with a scrumptious cup of ice cream nicely spiced with cinnamon.
The ladies at Ripple served delicious Coconut Butterscotch cookies. I think the last time I had anything that was butterscotch flavored was the time I scrounged butterscotch candies off the ground after they fell from a piñata. Oh how I wish these coconut butterscotch cookies would have fallen from the piñatas at the birthday parities I went to as a child.
Though there were cookie vendors and there were ice cream vendors, Farmers Fishers Bakers was the only restaurant to sample an actual ice cream sandwich (Milk Cult did offer some sandwiches for sale). The Turtle Ice Cream Sandwich, made of chocolate cookies stuffed with butter brickle ice cream & caramel filling, was my favorite treat of the night.
1789 offered two types of cookies and two types of ice cream, including Bourbon Peach Danish cookies and Oak Barrel ice cream. The Oak Barrel ice cream was described as giving you the feeling of being transported to a backyard cookout, and that is just what the smokiness of the ice cream did.
The Canadian Sweets & Treats booth had my favorite decor. Though I'm all about American pride, I can also appreciate others showing pride for their home country. Though I love maple flavors on a donut, I haven't previously had them in a cookie, but I loved the Maple Butter cookie from Canadian Sweets & Treats. Other flavors available included Prince Edward Island Ginger Molasses and Saskatoon Berry Oatmeal Thumbprint.
Dolci Gelati brought along five flavors of gelato, including Cookies & Cream, Key Lime Pie, Chocolate Covered Pretzel, White Chocolate Raspberry and Raspberry Lemonade. It didn't take me too long to decide on the Key Lime Pie, which was nicely tart, just as I had hoped.
I always enjoy a taste of Shack Shack custard, and was treated to a nice serving of Chocolate Chip Cookie Custard.
The boys of Milk Cult served the most unique flavor of the day. I loved the Black Sesame Ice Cream I sampled, and really wanted the full-sized ice cream sandwich, made of black sesame ice cream sandwiched between Japanese rice crackers, but unfortunately only had so much more room left in my stomach!
I received my third taste of chocolate chip cookies from The Blind Dog Cafe. Though they were also serving Blueberry cookies, I was once again drawn to the classic cookie. While the other chocolate chip cookies I sampled had a nice outer crunch, the cookies from the Blind Dog Cafe were the chewiest of those I tried.
They say you can't judge a book by its cover, but I've previously judged Whisked! by their brand name and logo. I remember walking by their booth at a farmer's market, thinking wow, that's a cute brand name! It was also very memorable, as the next time someone asked me where they could find strawberry rhubarb pie, I suggested Whisked!, even though I hadn't tried any of their pies. I still haven't tried any of their pies (sweet or savory) but I definitely enjoy their cookies! The Nutella and Pretzel Cowboy flavors are a few of my favorites.
Last, but definitely not least, I was able to try Salty Oats , made with love at Teaism. With a choice between Original, Chocolate, and Chocolate Pecan Salty Oats, I chose to sample the Chocolate Pecan flavor, and it was the perfect way to end my cookie and ice cream adventures.
Just as I finished visiting all 16 vendors, it was time for the search for the best cookie in the DC area to begin.
Audience members, a girl scout, and media members joined forces to award a trophy in both the amateur baking competition and the professional baking competition. After much deliberation, the top prize in the pro category went to Blind Dog Cafe (BakeHouse and Ripple were also given shout outs).
For those who are better at eating than baking, there was also an ice cream sandwich eating competition. It was a tight race that came down to specs of whipped cream left on the plate and a second head to head competition was required. One of the contestants in the face-off happened to be the winner of the Donut Fest's donut eating competition, though the donut king was ultimately taken down.
Now that I've had a few weeks to recover from my sugar coma, I'm eagerly awaiting the arrival of BYT's next sugar filled fest. To be one of the first ones to hear about BYT events, make sure to sign up for their newsletter at http://brightestyoungthings.com/.