The Cookie Studio: Sweet relief 

Made from scratch goodies in Decatur

Is there any stronger childhood food memory than the smell of baking cookies wafting from the kitchen? Unfortunately, baking cookies takes time and that's something most of us have precious little of these days. But your family doesn't have to go without that homey goodness when Atlanta is blessed with the Cookie Studio (747-C E. College Ave., Decatur; 404-373-8527; www.thecookiestudio.net).

Barbara O'Neill and Sue Maschinot opened the Cookie Studio to satisfy their passion for baking. They strive to produce "exceptional cookies made with only natural ingredients with no preservatives or additives" and believe "making cookies is a science." Bread-plate-sized cookies ($1.25 each and $15/baker's dozen) come in an overwhelming range of choices stacked neatly behind the glass of an adorable antiquish case. The "Cookie Studio Chocolate Chip" is a paragon of what a chocolate-chip cookie should taste like – no surprise since it took eight months to perfect. The soft and chewy "Sarah's breakfast" (named after one of the owner's friends) comes loaded with coconut, oatmeal, homemade granola, pecans and cranberries. The Studio's version of a ginger cookie – another delicious specimen achieved through much trial and error – has a deep brown color from molasses and brown sugar, is spiked with crystallized ginger, and has a touch of black pepper for added punch. While cookies are definitely the focus, you can also get your fill of cupcakes and bars such as the "White Thunder," a shortbread base topped with a coconut-and-pecan mixture and finished with a tart lemon glaze.

If you're vacillating over whether to make the trip, here's one more reason to indulge: A portion of the proceeds from the bakery go toward funding the Atlanta Day Shelter for Women and Children. What could be sweeter than eating cookies for a cause?

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