Uncle Chip's Cookies in Truxton Circle
By Rina Rapuano
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Shannon Boyle has a secret. The owner of Uncle Chip's Cookies has found a way to make chewy, tasty, better-than-your-mama's cookies without eggs, and she's not talking.
Boyle, 30, moved here about five years ago from San Francisco, where she was a social worker dreaming of opening a bakery with an emphasis on healthful offerings.
"In San Francisco, you're a dime a dozen," she says of the concept. "In D.C., it's a little bit more unique."
She also chose the District so she could be closer to family members and almost immediately launched a home-based wholesale and online bakery business that shipped and delivered.
Her bricks-and-mortar shop, which opened in January, is a cheerful turquoise townhouse in an area that doesn't see a lot of new businesses. But she says residents and nearby office workers are thrilled that she's in the neighborhood, and people seem willing to drive from Maryland and Virginia to try one of her vegan, gluten-free black-bean brownies ($2 each).
"We keep selling out of the brownies," says Boyle, who learned to bake without any formal training. "Somebody will come in and swipe them all at the same time."
Even if you miss out on those, there's plenty to keep you coming back. Bagels from Ray's in Brooklyn are used to make breakfast sandwiches such as the bacon, egg and cheese ($3.95) and the veggie bagel sandwich ($3.50) with cucumber, tomato and cream cheese. Other breakfast options include a vanilla-yogurt parfait with house-made granola, and a cup of oatmeal topped with pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries (each $3; $4 with fresh berries).
Boyle hopes to offer a small lunch menu of salads and sandwiches soon.
For more of a snack, try the mini loaves ($2 each), such as the nutty-tasting buckwheat-banana or the lightly spiced pumpkin bread.
Boyle's vegan caramel-ginger granola bars ($2) are particularly crave-worthy, the sweetened ginger and the binder of peanut butter giving them a pleasing Asian punch.
No bakery would be complete without coffee ($1.49 for 12 ounces; $1.69 for 16 ounces; $1.89 for 20 ounces), which Boyle buys from Java House in Dupont Circle.
And then there are the cookies ($1.75 each; two for $3), which are egg-free because Boyle simply doesn't like egg and which can be made vegan by request. Chewy classics such as chocolate chip and chocolate-chocolate chip would make the originals proud. (The company is the namesake of Boyle's Uncle Chip, a cookie lover who thought it was a joke when she told him she was naming her company after him.)
Whatever her secret, we can forgive Boyle for holding her tongue when the results taste this good.