Sugar Rush: Pignoli Cookie at Paradox Pastry, Charlottesville, VA
We were actually on the search for eggs. See, a redeye from San Francisco had landed me and my fiancé in Charlottesville a few hours before a wedding, and I really, really wanted some eggs. We got a tip about Bluegrass Grill and Bakery and headed over to the cafe, only to find that it was closed. (Something about the owner's child's graduation—celebration season strikes again!) Luckily fate intervened and we quickly spotted Paradox Pastry next door.
The display case at this bakery is extremely inviting, with mini pies (buttermilk and lemon meringue when I was there), scones, muffins, and a serious looking Virginia Peanut Butter Mousse Torte. I wanted something relatively light to hold me over until brunch, so I went to the selection of (actually not small at all) cookies. The Pignoli Cookie ($2) was recommended to me and I'm so very glad it was.
The size of a saucer with a crackled, crinkled top, this cookie is all about almonds. The interior is almost like eating straight marzipan—sweet, with notes of vanilla, almonds, and a light floral scent. The exterior is light and differently textured than the interior, almost like a paper thin layer of meringue encases the cookie and makes it awesomely chewy. When you get a whole pine nut, it adds a little pop of richness. If, like me, you like pine nuts, marzipan, and/or almonds, this cookie is a must-try.