New Jersey Date Night is a series on NJ Flavor by relationship writer Craig Rogers.

As summer comes to a close and school doors open, the kids will return to their structured lives while parents breathe a sigh of relief as everyone goes back to their normal routine. 

If they’re lucky, kids will occasionally return home from their eventful day to share their adventures over a plate of cookies and a glass of milk. And the next thing you know, you’re loading up the car and taking them to practice, to rehearsal or to a college prep class. That parental sigh of relief is sometimes short-lived once you become the Parental Transit Authority. 

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Mom and Dad need a break to share their adventures with each other too, and what’s better than accomplishing that over a plate of cookies and milk, or perhaps adult beverage? Cookies aren’t just for the kids, and parents deserve the really, really good ones.

Get ready for a New Jersey Date Night good to the last crumb!

Linzers and Rainbows and Swirls, Oh My!

Where do you start when the cookie choices are narrowed down to 45? Bovella’s, with locations in Westfield and Mountainside, has the cookie down to a delicious science. 

With about 70 years of baking history, it’s understandable. You’ll find many cookies you know, such as macaroons, chocolate chip and ruggulah, and you’ll discover some new favorites too. Savoardi cookies will make you realize that Italian lady fingers are a step above the rest and their frangipane cookies with sugary almond cream filling might just become your new favorite. Check out the taralli, a crunchy sugary Southern Italian mainstay — you won’t be disappointed!

For more information on Bovella’s, visit their website at

Getting Baked … Legally

The Cookie Connect, with locations in Ridgewood and Bloomfield, offers treats that are truly artisanal, featuring innovative flavors and combinations. Fluffatella S’mores (a chocolate chip cookie stuffed with warm Nutella and topped with marshmallow fluff and chocolate drizzle) will impress you. 

Other favorites include the PB ‘n’ J (peanut butter cookie with crushed Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups and topped with a raspberry drizzle) and the Fruity Pebbz (Fruity Pebbles-infused cookie dough with white chocolate chips with a Fruity Pebbbles topping and a vanilla drizzle). 

There are no time constraints on the perfect date night and The Cookie Connect is well aware of this fact.  With locations in Ridgewood and Bloomfield, they’re open late at night to answer your after-hours craving. 

For more information about The Cookie Connect, visit their website at

Grabbing a Late Night Bite

Another late-night favorite is Insomnia Cookies. With locations in Hoboken and Ewing (and over 120 throughout the United States), Insomnia Cookies has realized the mission that started this company back on the campus of UPenn — serving delicious hot cookies to quench late-night appetites. 

With most locations open until 3 a.m. you’ll find some delicious after-dark options including double chocolate mint, classic M&M and oatmeal raisin. Their peanut butter chocolate (a peanut butter cookie filled with chunks of Reece’s Cups) and the triple chocolate (a chocolate chip cookie with semi-sweet, milk and dark chunks of chocolate) are amazing.

For more information on Insomnia Cookies, visit

Passport to Perfection

Your date might think it’s Italy, but in fact Gencarelli’s Bakery is right here in the Garden State.

With locations in Bloomfield and Wayne, this bakery provides a textbook example of Italian cookies. From pignoli (made with fresh almond paste with a soft, chewy center coated and with pine nuts) to S cookies (a shortbread cookie shaped like the letter S) their assortment of Italian classics will take your date from good to magnifico

You’ll also want to check out their variety of biscotti, which literally translates to “twice baked,” featuring a light and crunchy texture. 

For more information on Gencarelli’s Bakery, visit

Keeping it Out-of-the-Oven Hot

As the new school year begins, so does the importance of Mom and Dad time. As parents, it’s easy to find the kids’ scheduling an all-consuming venture, but as partners it’s necessary to find the couples-only time. Setting aside moments for you is probably the most important thing you can do for each other — and your kids. After all, a happy dad behind the wheel on Carpool Tuesdays and a happy mom on the sidelines of the soccer field is one of the best relationship lessons your kids will observe.

Craig Rogers is the guy who gets relationships write. Author of The 49thChallenge, Craig has written countless articles on dating, relationships and breakup recovery.  To learn more about Craig, please visit

What’s your idea for a great New Jersey Date?  Tell Craig all about it at


More Date Night Ideas:

Going Vegan in the Garden State

Asbury Park is the Shore Thing

With Al Fresco Dining, the Sky’s the Limit

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