The Origin Story Behind Utah's Famous Pink Sugar Cookies

Pink-frosted sugar cookies in front of Dutchman's Market and Swig
Pink-frosted sugar cookies in front of Dutchman's Market and Swig - Static Media/Shutterstock/Facebook

There are bitter rivalries over collegiate and professional sports, territorial borders, and political alliances, but a pink-frosted sugar cookie is not something that would seem to arouse such spirited opinions. Surprisingly, in southwestern Utah, just such a feud exists as partisans bicker about which of two establishments slings the best version of the sweet treat. Who introduced these large, moist cookies crowned with rosy buttercream, however, is not in dispute.

Utah gas station and boutique store, Dutchman's Market, famously bakes its own cookies, which come in a variety of flavors, but its calling card is the pink-frosted sugar cookie. The popularity of the cookie has, as is the case with beloved comestibles, spread throughout the state, thanks in no small part to the ease with which such a dessert can be recreated. There is no secret recipe locked in a vault for Dutchman's pink sugar cookie, just quality craftsmanship. That's why when the regional "dirty soda" chain Swig launched in 2010, it contracted with Dutchman's Market to supply its locations with the famous cookies.

That is until a flood at Dutchman's took the market out of commission for an indefinite amount of time. Facing a sugar cookie stoppage and hungry customers, Swig began baking up its own version. While Dutchman's Market remains a single-store operation, Swig has aggressively expanded across Utah and Arizona, spreading the gospel of the pink sugar cookie wherever it goes. This has even led to Swig being erroneously credited with originating the confection, among both Utahans and online.

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Quantity Over Quality

Dutchman's market  pink-frosted sugar cookies stacked next to pink flowers
Dutchman's market pink-frosted sugar cookies stacked next to pink flowers - Dutchman's Market/Facebook

Lest you think that this is a story of a rapacious chain burying its former supplier by subsuming the business into its own, know that Dutchman's Market is still going strong -- and even still provides its pink sugar cookies wholesale to businesses in Utah and neighboring states. Though Swig's cookies may be more ubiquitous thanks to its widespread presence, it's hardly the only spot selling a version. In fact, national cookie chain Crumbl even makes its own almond-tinged, pink-frosted sugar cookie.

There's also no shortage of folks who say that they can taste a striking difference between chain offerings and the original. Dutchman's Market's owners claim that this distinction is due to the store's knowledgeable staff of bakers and strict use of quality ingredients, such as real butter rather than margarine, despite the added cost. Though they bake thousands of cookies each week, the Dutchman's Market bakery is still small. Swig, on the other hand, produces cookies on a more industrial scale to meet the size of its operation.

Swig claims that its version of the pink sugar cookie is markedly different -- in a positive way -- from Dutchman's, which is why it has no qualms about not giving the originator a nod of recognition on the menu. That fact, in addition to the chain's size, means that there will always be those who perceive Swig as being first to market the pink-frosted sugar cookie even though Dutchman's irrefutably holds that mantle.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.