To find one of the latest additions to LA’s batch of must-try cookie shops, you’ll need to pull into an unlikely place: a United Oil gas station. Zooies isn’t just a mere kiosk but a full-fledged bakery with a kitchen, display case, espresso station, and a frozen yogurt bar. The variety alone is impressive, showcasing 20 to 30 cookie flavors, plus several brownies, coffee cakes, and lemon bars made on site. Offering so many options on a daily basis is a multi-stage process that involves thoughtfully handcrafting batters and many separate cookie components, from marshmallow toppings, to graham cracker mixtures, to pumpkin or stewed apple fillings.
The gas station sees a steady stream of customers every day, which was a good enough reason to set up shop, says owner Arezoo Appel. It was a concept that worked for her at an Apro station in San Diego, and the recent remodel of this Cheviot Hills station presented a prime opportunity to bring her craft to Los Angeles. At this United Oil location, the We Got It! convenience store shares a third of its space with Zooies on the sleek and spacious ground floor of a modern metallic 2-story structure.
Zooies’ most popular seller is the Gooie, a cookie with crisp edges and a soft chocolatey center. Achieving this coveted balance of crispness and gooeyness took an insane amount of trial and error, Appel said, but was worth it in the end. She applies that obsessive focus to her other creations, such as the almond cookie that’s chewier than its Chinese restaurant counterpart, an apple pie cookie that closely mimics crust and filling, and the baklava cookie that screams authenticity with rosewater and pistachio.
These cookies can be enjoyed with plain or flavored milks from Rosa Brothers, a California family-owned dairy. Or you can pair them with coffee drinks made with beans from local roaster Caffe Luxxe. And for the diet conscious, Zooies makes a paleo chocolate chip cookie made with coconut flour and honey, and a diabetic friendly version made with Splenda. All baked goods exude their own flavors and textures without shortening or hydrogenated oils.
Now with a customer base making special trips to a gas station for her sweets, Appel wants to introduce some savory treats, starting with galettes. Her version of this French favorite is similar to a hand pie filled with meats and vegetables, perfect for hurried drivers who can conveniently pop in for fuel and pick up a portable gourmet breakfast or lunch to go.
Individual cookies range from $1.95 to $2.75, and are sold in packages of four, six, and 12. Buy a dozen and get $1.95 in store credit for your next purchase.