Anna's Danish Cookies, on 18th Street between Valencia and Guerrero, makes what I consider one of the great confections of America. I'll tell you what it is in a moment.
But first, some background. Anna's is a specialty bakery that has been operating for many years on this spot. In fact, it looks rather like a relic, with its red exterior, old-fashioned sign, and sales assistants in little uniforms with their hair in bonnets. There is no self-conscious cuteness here at all: it's the way they've always done it.
Their entire production menu, so far as I can recall is:
The main line of cookies (about the size of half dollars, but each in a different shape and thickness): plain butter, vanilla, egg, oatmeal (no rasins), coconut. All of these are available chocolate coated as well.
The extras (which seem a recent addition and somehow don't quite fit in): chocolate chip cookies (which are about the size of quarters) and brownies. They also have vanilla, pecan and chocolate cookies for diabetics.
The chocolate coated cookies are completely and thickly enrobed with a dark chocolate of excellent quality. The standard of quality at Anna's is high. So high, in fact, that if there is so much as a scratch or bubble on the surface of the coating, or the slightest bit of cookie remains uncovered, it is sold as a "second" at half price. Since the chocolate coated cookies are what I care about, I know their prices: $12/lb for perfect ones, $6/lb for seconds.
The one item which I consider to be a truly great confection is the chocolate coated oatmeal cookie. I can hear some of you thinking "oh, but I don't like oatmeal cookies". Stop. Now. Neither do I. THIS IS NOT JUST AN OATMEAL COOKIE.
First of all, this is a crisp, thin cookie that they call "oatmeal". It has nothing to do with any other oatmeal cookie you may have tasted previously.
Secondly, the thickness of the chocolate coating is such that there is as much chocolate as cookie (and remember: it's good chocolate). Broken in half, you see a coating half as thick as the cookie it surrounds.
Not convinced so far?
The effect of this is that the chocolate seals in the crisp (but not too crisp) snap of the cookie, and the amount of chocolate creates an experience completely different from that of a cookie. Think of it as a new type of thin chocolate confection, unlike any you've experienced before.
I know I may sound like a raving lunatic at this point, but do yourself a favor and try one.
But beware: if you get a second and there's a tiny gap in the chocolate coating, the snap will be gone, and the confection loses its magic. Now the fanaticism and half price seconds policy starts making sense...
Anna's Danish Cookie Co
3560 18th St
San Francisco, CA
Open 8:30-5pm, Tues-Sat.