ALMOST EVERY BAKERY sells cookies, but it’s the rare spot that specializes in them. If anything, building a business on the back of their inexpensive little cookie selves seems like a lot of pressure. Yet as Lowrider Cookie Company enters its fifth year, it has grown from a couple of suburban farmers market stands to two Seattle locations plus regular pop-ups, and now offers nationwide shipping. When the cookies are good enough, anything is possible.
Six signature flavors are available year-round: brown butter triple chocolate chunk, salted toffee pecan, cookies and cream, s’mores, lemon cranberry and birthday cake. Each month adds three rotating flavors, including one cookie stuffed with a contrasting flavor bomb. April’s three flavors are peanut butter salted caramel chocolate chip, happy almond and stuffed churro cheesecake; May’s lineup is caramel pretzel chocolate chip, chocolate peanut butter chip and stuffed strawberry rhubarb.
Packed with chocolate and topped with a sprinkle of salt, the triple chocolate chunk is perfectly chewy from edge to edge, while the lemon shines with bright flavor and fat, dried cranberries. All are the sort of big, rich cookie you preemptively decide to eat half of because the whole thing would be too much, but then it turns out that the whole thing is exactly the right amount, and you wish you’d bought more for later.
Lowrider’s owner, Emily Allport, grew up in California and moved here in 2008, attending South Seattle Community College’s pastry program. Then it was briefly back to California — our weather can be a challenge — followed by a return to the Seattle area when her husband accepted a job at Blue Origin. The second time here, she was determined to start her own business, renting kitchen space from Full Tilt Ice Cream. She opened in the Georgetown Trailer Park in 2018, and signed a lease on the Central District’s former Street Treats location in 2019.
In 2020, with the pandemic, catering and wholesale evaporated while delivery took off. When asked about the delivery services she works with, Allport says, “There are pros and cons for every business, but they’ve been good for us. Doing in-house delivery is an enormous undertaking, and the apps have solved all of that. When the Seattle City Council put in a 15% delivery fee cap, that made a big difference. I never want customers to feel bad about it.”
The pandemic also accelerated her shipping plans. Allport ordered “a ton of cookies from around the country, to see how others did it” and ended up revising her baking process to make it work. “I was really nervous that cookies would break. Fixing a problem locally is one thing, but solving a problem back East is like … how? And, I wanted it to be special.”
She preferred a cardboard insert instead of Bubble Wrap, which meant the cookies needed to be the same diameter, and she wanted them less fragile. Ring molds were the answer for the shipping concerns, and they’ve done away with breakage, which used to add up to thousands of dollars. “Ring molds are such a standard piece of pastry equipment, but I never thought to use them with cookies until I saw them in an L.A. shop — their cookies were indestructible. We had adjustment pains with baking and extra cleaning, but now the cookies are all exactly the same size, and sturdier.”
Other than cookies, milk and pints of Full Tilt ice cream, the only menu item is a 6-inch, four-layer cookie cake, available by the slice, or whole by advance order. Combining the best of a cookie with the best of a cake, these delectable beasts involve chewy cookies sandwiched with soft chocolate malt cream cheese or cream cheese frosting. The whole cakes serve about 8; the single slice works equally well for two to share, or one person to nibble from over the course of a couple of days.
What you’ll never find at Lowrider? Flavors derived from Instagram fads. “One of the coolest things about owning your own business is that you get to show people who you are,” Allport says. “The menu is a real reflection of my taste. I’m never going to make anything just because it’ll sell well.”