Shanghai: CinnaSwirl and Pom Pom Cookie Bar


CinnaSwirl’s Cinnamon Rolls

Note: Unfortunately Pom Pom Cookies closed in May 2016. CinnaSwirl is alive and well!

I sometimes take for granted that I live in Shanghai. I live in a unique city in China, which has an international and diverse group of expats. Because of this group of expats, there is an entrepreneurial spirit in the city and a real need to fill unique niches. That is precisely what CinnaSwirl and Pom Pom Cookie Bar does.

CinnaSwirl was founded by Heather, an American, who bakes the most delicious homemade cinnamon rolls. I never realized how truly American cinnamon rolls were until I suggested ordering six for my Dutch Asian American Pie Club (DAAPC). My Dutch co-workers had never heard of cinnamon rolls before and ate them for the very first time. They loved them.

When I think of cinnamon rolls, two very distinct memories come to mind. One is baking them at home from the Pillsbury dough (we are not a “bake from scratch” family) and the second is eating them at the food court/airport at Cinnabon. The problem is normally after you eat them, you feel like you need to take a nap and/or you have a brick in your stomach.

Look at that cream cheese frosting goodness

Look at that cream cheese frosting goodness

Heather’s cinnamon rolls are the best I’ve ever had. They are surprisingly light and fluffy and not too sweet. Her homemade cream cheese frosting is to die for. I literally wanted to order extra frosting and slather it on all my food. She has a physical store behind Jing ‘An temple at 32 Yuyuan Dong Lu (愚园东路32号), but I haven’t been yet. You can order them for same-day delivery through Mealbay. They are closed on Sundays though!

Chunk cookies from Pom Pom Cookie Bar

Chunk cookies from Pom Pom Cookie Bar

I miss good chocolate chip cookies. The type that are slightly crispy on the outside but chewy on the inside. Pom Pom Cookie Bar answers all of my cookie dreams. I’ve been wanting to try them for awhile, but all orders require ordering a batch of 18. I finally bit the bullet and decided to buy the chunk cookies, half milk chocolate and half milk chocolate with sea salt.

When the cookies were delivered, they were still warm. They had that beautiful butter and brown sugar batter with the absolute perfect consistency. The chocolate was rich but not too sweet. I personally liked the milk chocolate and sea salt ones better because of the savory and sweet combination. These cookies are amazing and taste like the ones you bake at home. I would gladly order another batch. You can pick different “mix-ins” like dark chocolate, hazelnut chocolate or white chocolate.

In Shanghai, the more well-known homemade cookies are from Strictly Cookies. While Strictly Cookies are also good, it’s a different style. They are more mound-like and thick. It’s a hefty cookie and she also sells giant cookie cakes, ice cream cookie sandwiches and raw cookie dough.

The only downside to Pom Pom Cookie Bar is that the owner, Katrina de Mirman, doesn’t do same-day delivery. Because her cookies are made-to-order (no store yet), you have to place the order by 7pm the day before. So if you’re totally craving a classic chocolate chip cookie, you’ll have to wait one day. But trust me. It’s worth the wait.

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