Cookies have come to Disney Springs. Their arrival came today in the quiet hush of the morning hours with the long-awaited soft opening of Gideon’s Bakehouse. If you’re new to Gideon’s and their half pound cookies (yes, you read that right: each cookie is almost HALF A POUND), Gideon’s Bakehouse is an Orlando favorite, and has also been embraced and lauded outside of the area for their inventive and decadent take on cookies.
Until this morning, their only location was in Orlando’s East End Market (pictured, above thanks to Craig). I have yet to take the trip out to East End (it’s on my weekend to-do list), but I understand that’s it’s a sure-fire winner for all things artisanal food. Back in the day, Walt Disney World guests could find Gideon’s cookies in limited number at The Polite Pig, but that partnership ended months ago.
Gideon’s Bakehouse at Disney Springs now stands where Erwin Pearl used to be, just across from Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar and The Boathouse. We’ve watched the construction progress at Gideon’s for months, and this morning, Craig and I had the chance to step inside the newest addition to Disney Springs for the first time. Friends, to say it was magical is an understatement.
If you’re someone who loves an enveloping themed environment (and we’re all Disney fans ‘round here, so I’m assuming that themed environments are completely your jam), you will love what Gideon’s has built. If you follow them on Instagram, you know that they lean toward the wistfully spooky and slightly macabre. A gargoyle “landed” atop their shop last week and sits perched at the pinnacle of their roof, so that’ll help set the tone for you just a bit.
The exterior cornice pieces that top the window displays that have been filled to the gills with vintage books and yellowed pages covered in timeworn script are in a matte black paint that resembles cast iron. Picture the fence design outside the creepy home that’s in every scary movie, and you’ve got the idea. It’s eerie, but with a wink and a nod.
We were ushered inside, only to find ourselves stepping through a portal. I knew the interior space would be themed; this was even more than I had hoped for.
Curved bookcases that seemed that they could topple over at any moment where chock-full of books and ephemera of all sorts. Family portraits of sorts line one wall, and Gideon’s ground rules are also displayed.
Speaking of ground rules, at Gideon’s Bakehouse, guests may buy up to six cookies at one time. You might be tempted to think that this is unfair; trust me, it’s not.
As I mentioned earlier, each cookie weighs half a pound. Six cookies is plenty. These aren’t your Great-American-Cookie-Company-at-the-mall-type of cookies. You likely won’t eat these cookies in one sitting. Or possibly even in two. You’ll need time to savor the complexity of each cookie, and by limiting the number of cookies each guest can purchase, they’re ensuring there’s enough cookies for everyone, and they’re helping people like me make good choices. Ahem.
Flickering upside-down candles hang from the ceiling, and the entire space is dimly lit just enough to enhance the theme, but to still allow you to gaze in wonder at the cookies and cakes on display.
At Gideon’s Disney Springs location, each cookie is $6, while each massive cake slice is $9. This morning’s soft opening menu is pictured at the top of this article. When I asked the team member passing out the menus what cookies she’d recommend to a newbie, she suggested I try the Original Chocolate Chip, the Cookie Von Krampus (one of their two holiday flavors), and their morning-exclusive Coffee Cake Cookie.
When I got to the register, I ordered those three and asked the team member manning the register what he would suggest that I add to my order. He immediately said that his recommendation would be Gideon’s Pistachio Toffee, and I gladly added that cookie to my order. I left the shop clutching my heavy box of cookies like it was precious cargo. It was.
The first cookie that I took out of the box and unwrapped (each cookie is lovingly wrapped in paper bearing Gideon’s logo) was the Pistachio Toffee. Just look at that thing. It’s everything you want a cookie to be: decadent, massive, and with ingredients that work in partnership with each other. The chocolate was creamy, the pistachios were salty with a light nuttiness, and the coarse salt used on the cookie brought the perfect, bright notes you’d hope it would. This cookie, like the others I’d try after it, was crafted. Good heavens. It was soooo good, and I’m not someone who usually enjoys nuts in baked goods.
My next cookie to try was the Coffee Cake Cookie. This cookie will only be available until noon each day, and if you’re at all conflicted about eating a cookie before lunchtime, one bite of this delightful cookie will assuage your fears. This cookie is as if they took the crumble portion of a fruit-filled cobbler off and served it in cookie form. The cinnamon is swirled throughout the rich, buttery cookie. It would be perfectly paired with an iced coffee, and it makes eating cookies for breakfast completely acceptable.
My third cookie to try today was the Cookie Vom Krampus. I’m a huge fan of all things mint and chocolate, so this one with its crumbled chunks of Andes candies and incredible amount of chocolate was a sure-fire hit. If you’re coming to Gideon’s during the holidays and you’re torn between the Vom Krampus and the Triple Chocolate Cookie, this cookie uses the Triple Chocolate as its base, so it’s like a two-for-one. Perfect, right? Gideon’s says that this cookie, like all of their cookies, takes 24 hours to make, thus allowing the mint in this cookie to completely permeate the dough. This was so very good.
My last cookie to try today was the cookie that I initially thought would be my first to try: the Original Chocolate Chip. An insane amount of chocolate is found both throughout and on top of this ginormous, buttery cookie. Chunks of coarse salt are present as well, but with a lighter approach than seen in the Pistachio Toffee cookie. As was the case with each cookie, they fall in that sweet spot of being just slightly underbaked. Not that they are undercooked, but if you’ve baked cookies, you know what I mean. They’re soft and utterly, completely decadent. This is an indulgence.
Gideon’s Bakehouse also offers slices of their homemade, over-the-top cakes. The cake slices offered each day will rotate, and from the look of things, the cake slices are likely just as amazing as their cookies. I’ll be back soon to give ‘em a whirl.
Cold brew coffee, iced coffee, sodas, and, of course, milk are also served at Gideon’s. Craig tried their Original Peanut Butter Iced Coffee (!), but to get his take on the beverage, you’ll have to check out our Disney Dining Show Quick Take when it’s up. I’ll be sure to link it here when it’s ready for viewing.
If you’re someone who follows along with my Saturday Snacks adventures, you know that cookies are my love language. During this pandemic, they’ve become even more so. At some point in mid-April, a switch labeled “cookies equal comfort” got flipped in my little noggin. Just in case cookies are your thing, too (or perhaps Cookie Monster is your spirit animal), please add a stop by Gideon’s Bakehouse to your Disney World must-do list. You might have a wait a bit to get into the shop, but it’s worth every minute. Trust me.