Judging by the hours spent and consternation experienced by me late last night over the Phoenix “Best of 2010″ Food + Drink nominations, you’d think I was an esteemed Olympic panel member or on the Oscar committee.

Peanut butter cookies from Scratch Baking Co.

Peanut butter cookies from Scratch Baking Co.

I’m telling you, it was epic. Brow furrowed, I hunched over my laptop, punching things in and erasing — sweating over “most romantic restaurant” and “best pizza” as if my opinions meant life and death.

I almost gave up. I mean, best pizza for when? Grabbing a bite on the go (Micucci’s)? Late night after too many martini’s (Otto)? Hanging with friends (Flatbread)? Snuggling with my honey (Bonobo)?

THIS foodie town requires sub-categories! Practically every query required considerable thought.

Except, that is, the category “best cookie.”

You may disagree, but that one was easy for me. Bigger than your average bread plate and stuffed with whole peanuts, the peanut butter cookie from Scratch Baking Co. in South Portland is hand’s down — without a doubt — the best cookie in town. Toasty warm, firm but pliable, and bursting with flaky, buttery goodness, this cookie truly is lovin’ from the oven.

Now, this is not to say that great baked goods can’t be found all over greater Portland. Rosemont Market’s Guinness cupcakes and Standard Baking’s gingerbread and chocolate corks, for example, are wonderful in their own right.

But cupcakes and corks are not cookies.

Consider this a throwdown? I (and my thighs) defy you to tell me of a better cookie around!

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