The holiday sugar cookies at Priory Fine Pastries are not the prettiest or the fanciest, but they don't need to be | Food | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

The holiday sugar cookies at Priory Fine Pastries are not the prettiest or the fanciest, but they don't need to be

It wouldn't be a Pittsburgh wedding without a cookie table. But why keep the tradition exclusive to happy couples? In the spirit of the season, Pittsburgh City Paper is celebrating the holiday cookie table. We’re reviewing bakery favorites, family recipes, and grocery store staples until the table is full.
click to enlarge CP PHOTO: MAGGIE WEAVER
CP photo: Maggie Weaver
Typically, sugar cookies fall into two categories: Some are thick, fluffy, rolled in sugar, and so dense they’re a piping bag away from becoming cake; and, some are strict cut-outs, thin enough to pose as ginger snaps.

But the iced sugar cookies from North Side bakery Priory Fine Pastries find middle ground, sitting somewhere between fluffy and crispy. They’re cut into trees that become pudgy as the cookies bloom in the oven’s heat, leaving behind a chewy center that fades into crunchy edges. The cookie breaks with a soft snap, followed by a cascade of crumbs.

The cookies have an expected, buttery vanilla flavor, one that turns nutty as the edges get crispy. A thin layer of not-too-sweet icing breaks up the texture, giving way to a standard, dense sugar cookie. 

Each palm-sized cookie is artfully iced with pale green icing — just the right color of mint green — and, for the final touch, sprinkled haphazardly with red, green, and white sprinkles. 

The addition of sprinkles is delightful not for design, but for nostalgia. There is, it seems, no strategy for the sprinkle incorporation; they are simply showered across the cookie with no pattern. It’s reminiscent of holiday baking as a child, where the cookies turn out to be more chaotic than charming.

Sugar cookies are a classic holiday treat that shows up in the spirit of every season: pumpkins for Halloween and hearts for Valentine’s Day. Priory’s iced Christmas trees are no different. They might not be the prettiest or the fanciest, but they don’t need to be. They’re just simple, spirited, holiday cookies. 

Location Details

Priory Fine Pastries

528 E Ohio St, Pittsburgh North Side


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