When we arrived at The Handcrafted Cookie Company in Phoenixville, it was about a half-hour before their official opening time, but owner Chad Williams had put out the “OPEN” sign and was getting ready for what was turning out to be a glorious late-summer Friday evening. Just a few seconds after we walked in, a local workman eagerly strode through the door and exchanged what seemed like a familiar greeting with Williams. “Every time I walk by, I gotta check to see if you are open,” he grinned, and ordered a few cookies. His enthusiasm to be there only stoked our very own expectations for the trip. Cookies? Handcrafted? What more does one need?
Located in a small storefront of Main Street in downtown Phoenixville, The Handcrafted Cookie Company was opened in early 2009 by husband-and-wife team Chad and Theresa Williams. THCC’s main draw, of course, is the cookies, which are baked daily and served fresh. The chocolate chip cookies, which are crispy on the edges and gooey within, and contain a decadent amount of chocolate in each bite, are enough to keep us coming back again and again, but are also just the beginning of THCC’s cookie selection. Among those we sampled were the “Chocolate Hotties”, where little kicks of fiery jalapeno are put into a rich chocolate cookie, then mellowed by the coolness of smooth, white chocolate chips; the “Roof Raisin’ Oatmeal”, which contained fresh roasted pecans, sweet dried cranberries, and red and golden raisins wrapped in a warm and delicately spiced oatmeal cookie; and the “Nutty Irish”, a sugar cookie filled with warm, crunchy walnuts, toasted oats and rich, creamy Baileys Irish Cream. All were excellent — our only complaint was that we didn’t have room to try all 16 flavors. Though not every variety is available each day, Chad will gladly bake you up a fresh batch if you don’t see your favorite. (While we were there, a woman, who was eating a dish of ice cream, actually came in and ordered a half-dozen gluten-free chocolate chip cookies, which she promised to return for in about 15 minutes.)
Thankfully, because it would be impossible to try all the great varieties in one sitting, THCC sells raw, frozen cookies for home baking. Each cookie is pre-shaped and sold by the dozen, allowing you to cook just one or a large batch as needed. Chad told us that the cookies should be good for about 6 months, so its easy to stock up with several dozen to enjoy over time — or, for those without willpower, next weekend! Cookies can be ordered online and shipped overnight to the Philly area, but we would certainly suggest a trip to the store. It’s a great little space, has some outdoor seating, and features organic fair-trade coffees (from Colorado’s Buena Vista Roastery) and teas (from Rishii) as well as a wide selection of all-natural sodas.
It should be obvious by now that Chad and Teresa are committed to providing high-quality, all-natural ingredients, and nowhere does that shine through more than the cookies themselves. A quick glance at the ingredient list illustrates how much care and thought is put into each and every recipe decision. Some highlights include: Wuthrich sweet-cream butter, Celtic sea salt, organic eggs, whole spices ground fresh in the store, freshly squeezed and zested citrus fruits, organic dark chocolate chips, and Singing Dog organic vanilla extract. After Chad gushed over his choice of vanilla for a minute or so, I couldn’t help give him a hard time. “Who gets that excited about vanilla?”, I laughed. “It’s an extremely important ingredient — it gives a ton of flavor!” he retorted. Who was I to argue?
All kidding aside, passion for each individual ingredient, even the vanilla, is what helps differentiate THCC. By focusing on all-natural ingredients, handcrafted recipes, organic, free-trade beverages, and through a genuine commitment to sustainable business practices (THCC uses post-consumer materials and encourages customers to recycle and compost trash), The Handcrafted Cookie Company is both a great place to enjoy delicious cookies and a wonderful addition to the local community!
(While you’re at it, become a fan of Main Line Dine on FB too)