I grew up in Spokane, Washington. One of the things I miss most about that city is The Big Pink Cookies from Rocket Bakery (and my family and friends, of course). While living in Portland for 12 years, I never found anything comparable and now that I am in the Bay Area, I’m missing these cookies more than ever.
Every time I visit Spokane, a stop at The Rocket on Garland is a must. I usually leave there with a giant cup of coffee and a half dozen Big Pinks. These cookies are thick, round, cakey sugar cookies slathered in an thick layer of cream cheese frosting. They have a slight almond taste and a signature pastel pink frosting. To me they taste familiar and comforting. Reminding me of simpler times when I didn’t have to think twice about consuming a giant frosted cookie and a 24 oz mocha breve for breakfast at the drive-thru espresso stand where I worked. Ahhh, to be 19 again.
For years I have been missing these cookies but it never occurred to me to actually make them myself until last year. Maybe it is my sub conscience trying to preserve the authenticity of the original Big Pink Cookie or maybe it is me consciously avoiding a jar full of BPCs that I am powerless to resist. Either way, I needed a fix.
So, I started researching and came across a few recipes claiming to be the one. Turns out there is some Tupac/Biggie style beef over the origin of the BPC. Seattle, Westside, and Spokane, Eastside, both claim to be the proprietor of these illusive treats. From what I can tell, the authentic original BPC is known as Uncle Seth’s Cookies originating out of Seattle. But, in Spokane the BPC is kinda famous. It can be found at all of the Rocket Bakery locations and most of the extraordinarily popular, cheekily-named drive-thru espresso stands in the area. It’s basically the 5th food group of the Spokane diet.
I found a really convincing recipe, anonymously posted online. The texture, weight and flavor are pretty much spot on to the original. I have modified the recipe a bit to enhance the flavor and better serve my memory. The result is a nearly identical and satisfying cookie that takes me way back to the good ol’ days of pulling shots at Bean Me Up Espresso and Brewed Awakenings. Eastside 4EVA.
- all purpose flour - 5 cups
- baking powder - 2 teaspoons
- salt - 1 1/2 teaspoons
- cardamom - 1 teaspoon
- unsalted butter at room temperature - 1 1/2 cups, (3 sticks)
- granulated sugar - 1 1/2 cups
- eggs at room temperature - 4
- pure vanilla extract - 1 1/2 teaspoons
- almond extract - 1 1/2 teaspoons
- cream cheese, softened - 8 ounces
- unsalted butter at room temperature - 1/2 cup (1 stick)
- almond extract - 1 teaspoon
- powdered sugar - 3-4 cups
- freeze dried strawberries, crushed & sifted 1/4 cup or a couple of drops of pink or red food coloring
- decorative sprinkles, if desired - 1/4 cup
- Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cardamom in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together on high speed for about 5 minutes, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. The mixture should be light and fluffy.
- Crack the eggs into a liquid measuring cup and add the vanilla. With the mixer on low, slowly add to the sugar mixture one egg at a time, allow each egg to blend in completely before adding the next. Cream in the almond extract (*hint, the mixture may seem to curdle when you add the almond extract. Don't worry, it will recede once the dry ingredients are mixed in). Scrape the sides of the bowl down.
- Slowly add the dry ingredients and beat on medium until a smooth consistency is achieved. The dough will be soft and sticky at this point.
- Divide the sticky soft dough into three equal disks and wrap individually in plastic wrap. Chill the dough in refrigerator for at least an hour up to overnight, the dough needs to firm up so it's easier to to roll out.
- While the dough chills, you can prep the frosting. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, cream cheese and almond extract until completely smooth.
- If using crushed freeze dried strawberries, sift together with the powdered sugar, then slowly add in powdered sugar mix to taste - use 3 cups for a stronger cream cheese frosting and 4 cups for a sweeter cream cheese frosting.
- If you are using food coloring, slowly add, one small drop at a time, until you are happy with the color. Blend until color is evenly distributed throughout the frosting. Place the frosting in refrigerator until ready to use.
- Preheat the oven to 350°.
- Be sure to have cookie cutters and a rolling pin available. I used a 3.5" round and 3.5" x 4" heart shape for the large cookies. For the medium cookies, 3" round and 2.5" x 3" heart shape.
- Remove dough from refrigerator and roll out to 1/4“ to 1/2” thickness on floured counter top, (I did a 1/4"-ish for medium sized cookies and 1/2"-ish for large cookies). These cookies are intended to be soft, thick and cakey.
- Cut the rolled dough into chosen shapes, place cookies on lined baking sheets. ( 6 large cookies per baking sheet, at least 1" apart)
- Bake for 12-16 minutes (depending on size) until the edges start to brown slightly. Remove from oven and cool on cookie racks.
- Once the cookies have completely cooled, frost them liberally using a small offset spatula. Add sprinkles if desired. If not enjoying the same day, store in the refrigerator. The cookies will last in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- This recipe was inspired by and adapted from a recipe posted years ago by an unknown author at a URL that unfortunately no longer exists.