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Milk Jar Cookies: Cookies, Milk And Comfort All Around

Kelli Shiroma |
November 13, 2013 | 10:51 a.m. PST

Food Editor

Milk and cookies are a winning combo at this bakery (Kelli Shiroma / Neon Tommy).
Milk and cookies are a winning combo at this bakery (Kelli Shiroma / Neon Tommy).
At Milk Jar Cookies—a bakery that opened in Los Angeles’ Miracle Mile district this past April—requests for “milk and cookies” are part of everyday life. 

“At Milk Jar Cookies, we like to keep it simple,” the bakery’s website reads. “We bake homemade cookies, brew coffee roasted in downtown L.A., pour glasses of milk from a local dairy and scoop up delicious ice cream from a nearby creamery.”

This pure and simple concept—milk and cookies, along with a few other treats like ice cream sandwiches—is the driving force behind the homey, inviting bakery. Milk Jar Cookies is the realization of a longtime dream for owner and “chief cookie baker” Courtney Cowan, who uses all of her own recipes to create each delicious treat.

“I have no business for crispy cookies,” Cowan says. “My cookies are soft and gooey on the inside with a nice, crisp outer edge. They are definitely large, fluffy and pillowy; they have inventive flavors and a delicious taste.”

The bakery showcases 13 to 15 flavors daily, according to Cowan. The selection ranges from classics like “Chocolate Chip” and “Cinnamon Sugar” to the more unique “Banana Split” and “Chocolate Pecan Caramel.”

“‘Chocolate Chip’ is probably by far our biggest seller because people like the classics, and our ‘Banana Split’ and ‘Chocolate Peanut Butter’ are probably second and third [best sellers] behind that,” Cowan says. 

The “Banana Split” cookie features banana dough filled with chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, walnuts and fresh strawberries, while the “Chocolate Peanut Butter” cookie includes a rich, creamy layer of peanut butter inside the chocolate cookie. Currently, the bakery’s “Pumpkin Pie” cookie—a seasonal flavor to commemorate Thanksgiving—is also a hot commodity. 

“The ‘Pumpkin Pie’ cookie that we have until Thanksgiving has been really popular,” Cowan says. “People love pumpkin.”

This cookie is just one example of the bakery’s ever-popular seasonal flavors.

“We did a ‘Lemon Blueberry’ cookie at the end of the summer, and we’ll have a couple of new seasonal flavors for Christmas, which we’ll launch right after Thanksgiving,” Cowan confirms. 

When it comes to her favorite cookie flavor, though, Cowan admits that her No.1 choice often changes.

“I love them all,” she says, laughing. “Right now, my frontrunner is probably ‘Banana Split’ and ‘Cinnamon Sugar.’ But I really do love the ‘Pumpkin Pie;’ that’s been a new addition [to my collection of favorites].”

The "Banana Split" is one of the bakery's best sellers (Kelli Shiroma / Neon Tommy).
The "Banana Split" is one of the bakery's best sellers (Kelli Shiroma / Neon Tommy).
There’s more to this bakery than just freshly baked cookies, however. Equally important to Cowan was the bake shop’s ambience. 

“There’s tons of bakeries that you just get in and get out,” Cowan says. “It was very important to me to create an environment where people could come, feel comfortable and want to spend their time and hang out, so we could get to know them. We wanted it to be an experience, so people would be encouraged to enjoy the treat, as opposed to just scarfing it down. In such a busy day and age—especially in this city—you don’t do that very much. You hardly take a beat and just chill out, and we really wanted to encourage that [among our customers].”

That feeling of familiarity, coziness and comfort was so essential for Cowan that she and her husband, Adam—who helps her run the bakery—wanted to convey that concept in the business’ name.

“My husband and I wrote down words, phrases, anything we could think of that pertained to cookies, our vision, and the feel we wanted,” Cowan remembers. “Over months, we kept a list and worked with different combinations. We just kept coming back to ‘Milk Jar’ because I knew I wanted to serve the milk in little mason jars. It [the name] just seemed to have the feel that we were going for. It seemed reminiscent of good days gone by and a homey feeling.”

In addition to the bakery’s billowy cookies and creamy milk, decadent ice cream sandwiches are also featured on the menu. Four flavors are usually featured at one time, according to Cowan, who says that the ice cream flavors change every few weeks. The store’s current ice cream flavors include “Pumpkin,” “Toasted Marshmallow,” “Vanilla” and “Rocky Road.”

“We get our ice cream from Fosselman’s, a local, family-owned company in Alhambra,” Cowan says. “You can pick any two flavors of cookies and a scoop of ice cream to make a sandwich. You can just choose one cookie with a scoop of ice cream, too.”

Customers can find parking for Milk Jar Cookies right behind the building (there’s three reserved spots, Cowan says), in the lot for the Americana Plaza (which the store is considered to be a part of), and on the surrounding streets. Cowan encourages customers to stay engaged with the bakery via social media—on its Facebook page and Twitter account—and by signing up to receive the Milk Jar Cookies newsletter, which is accessible on the bakery’s website.

“If you join our newsletter, we send our deals regularly on that,” she says. “If there’s an occasion, sometimes we run specials. We’ve done the secret Twitter word [for specials]; customers can definitely come in and use that [for free or discounted products].”

As the bakery nears its first holiday season, Cowan expresses her earnest gratitude toward her customers and all those who helped her transform her dream into a reality.

“We’re excited to be here and grateful for all the reception we’ve received so far,” she summarizes. 

Take a virtual tour of Milk Jar Cookies below.

Reach Kelli Shiroma here or follow her on Twitter



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