I’ve been making my handmade cookies for over 30 years now, but it wasn’t until a few years ago that I realized that not everyone could actually enjoy them. When my son was diagnosed with Chrohn’s disease a few years ago, we started looking into making the perfect gluten-free cookie.
At the time, I had no idea there were so many people with gluten intolerances. While Chrohn’s disease affects between 400,000-600,000 people in North America alone, the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness estimates that 1 in 133 Americans has celiac disease. Of those suffering from gluten intolerances, most will go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed for years.
The more I learned about those living a gluten-free lifestyle, the more interested I became in making sure they could still have an amazing gluten-free cookie. Our gluten free cookies are made by hand in a separate gluten free facility. If you’re looking for the best gluten-free cookie on Earth, check out Carol’s gluten-free Cookies at the following stores:
Note: This list was created in August 2013. If you'd like to check to see if more stores have been added, please visit our contact page.
For years, people have been asking me how to perfect their homemade cookie recipes. I’ve even seen online forums dedicated to “cracking the code” on how our cookie recipe differs from the others. If you’re one of the curious ones, it’s pretty simple: Carol's Cookies were born and perfected in the kitchen. Even so, there are little tricks that helped my family recipe go from average cookie to the best handmade cookies out there (yes, we're a little biased).
1) To avoid burning the bottom of the cookies, put a cookie sheet on top of the baking sheet with the waxed side facing up. Otherwise, the metal baking sheet gets too hot and can turn a really good homemade cookie into a crispy mess.
2) Use the finest ingredients: pure butter, crack your own eggs and kosher salt. If you're making chocolate chip cookies, make sure you use a premium chocolate with a decent cocoa butter content. This may seem like a basic concept, but using gourmet ingredients will make sure that your cookie recipe is on the right track to wow your taste-testers.
3) A convection oven is the best way to go to ensure your cookies are baked evenly. Be sure to place the tray of cookies on the middle rack. The top rack will burn the tops too quickly, and the bottom rack may cause you to bake the cookies much longer so they are not raw, ultimately drying them out.
4) Understand the art and science of proper mixing. Your fats (butter), sugars and eggs should be mixed together. We like to add the vanilla at the first mixing stage, but make sure it's a pure vanilla and none of that imitation stuff! This will help incorporate the sugars and fats, which is necessary for the, "omg-this-is-the-most-amazing-cookie-ever" recipe.
5) Watch your oven constantly! This is very important! You could have the best cookie recipe on the planet, but if your cookies are baked too much, bye-bye moistness and those glaring compliments you deserve! Always set the timer for 3 minutes less than what the recipe calls for. Once you start seeing some golden brown tones on the tops of the cookies, your cookies are nearly ready. Don't wait until they are fully brown, or you may be giving them away as paperweights.
Enjoy the process of perfecting your homemade cookie recipe. Like anything in life, practice makes perfect! And in this case, you’ll get to taste test a lot of cookies in the process – yum! Happy Baking!
Imagine being able to travel the world while indulging in delicious, hand-crafted chocolate. If it’s hard for you to imagine, fear no more! Our next Chicago Food Entrepreneur, Katrina Markoff, has made that dream possible through her world-renowned chocolate operation, Vosges Haut Chocolat.
Katrina’s business was inspired by her travels around the world. Soon after graduating from college, she journeyed to Paris to study at Le Cordon Bleu. From there, Katrina visited countries from Spain to Southeast Asia. Located in Logan Square, Vosges provided people in Chicago a way to experience the world through chocolate. Today Vosges brings joy to people all over the world through its retail locations in New York City and Las Vegas.
We had the pleasure of gaining a little more insight into the world of Vosges while speaking with Katrina. She described her chocolate as “experiential” and told us that her favorite food was chocolate!
We also wanted to know more about what Katrina thought of Carol’s Cookies. Katrina had her first Carol’s Cookie at Neiman Marcus, which is probably why she associates our cookies with Christmas shopping in Chicago. She also thinks that what sets Carol’s Cookies apart is the fact that “Carol is an incredibly sweet person!” We asked if she was given the chance to create her own sweet, perfect cookie, what flavor it would be. Katrina confessed that Carol’s already had the perfect cookie: our sugar cookie.
Thanks to Katrina for chatting with us! We are proud to associate with a fellow Chicago food entrepreneur who is passionate about using food to change the world.
In Chicago, we are known for our sports (Congrats Blackhawks!) and our food. And luckily, our next Chicago Food Entrepreneur has had an effect on both. We’re happy to introduce you to Jon Sider, the co-founder of Greater Than sports drinks!
Image via Medill Northwestern
Jon and his brother, Mark Sider, felt the need to create the optimal drink for those who live an active lifestyle. The great thing about Greater Than (no pun intended) is that it’s unlike any other sports drink you’ve heard of: no artificial color or dye, no high fructose corn syrup, and all natural ingredients. Head quartered in the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago, Greater Than now offers their delicious coconut water in five flavors and continues to fuel athletes in Chicago and around the country.
Image via: Lacrosse America
Coconut Water that tastes great. We've taken the natural goodness of Coconut Water and enhanced it for premium hydration and taste.
We are young, hungry and determined to be great. It just so happens that our sport in business turned out to be hydration. Living an active lifestyle ourselves, we believed there was a need for a more natural source of hydration. After learning about Coconut Water, we thought that was the perfect place to start.
Image via: Kumbuya
My favorite indulgence is Carol's Cookies. Plus there is nothing like a Carol's Cookies to earn a few points with the lady.
I had my first Carol's Cookies at Sunset Valley Golf Club. It was much greater than a first kiss.
I associate Carol's Cookies with delicious happiness. They're always delicious and they always make you happy. Yum!
Carol’s is rooted in our hometown of Highland Park. It's an entrepreneurial story that can inspire others.
How about some Chocolate Chip, Peanut Butter, topped off with Cinnamon & Sugar! That would be a Greater Than Moment!
Thanks again to Jon for chatting with us about Greater Than (and his love of Carol’s Cookies)! All natural ingredients made us successful and we have no doubt that the same will be true for Greater Than!
Our Chicago foodie blog series continues! In our last post you met Corey Kaplan of NYC Bagel Deli – a man who has wooed Chicago with his east coast-inspired bagels & cream cheese. Today’s post shares how one woman put a twist on the Midwest’s favorite snack: meet SkinnyPop Popcorn!
With the tagline, “No artificial anything,” consumers can indulge in a guilt-free snack without sacrificing flavor or enjoyment. We asked Pam Netzky, President and Co-Founder of SkinnyPop Popcorn,a few questions to get an insider's look into her booming business.
Pam was recruited by Andrew Friedman to help launch Wells Street Popcorn in 2007. Andrew and his investors were originally inspired by the success of Garrett Popcorn. Shortly after, they discovered their original business plan – a retail store model – would need to change. Pam and Andrew began experimenting with a healthier popcorn product.
Pam tells us, "I fell into the food business due to my entrepreneurial spirit” and her efforts have paid off. Pam has been featured in various media publications including the Chicago Tribune and recently made Crain's 40 Under 40 where she says, "you have to be open to change, to spot opportunities and take chances."
And, like many of our Chicago foodie friends, Pam has a special place in her heart for Carol’s Cookies.
When did you have your first Carol’s Cookie? Years ago at Neiman Marcus.
What is your favorite thing about Carol or her cookies? I love how unique the cookies are. Not much like it in the market…Aside from them being beyond delicious.
If you were to create the perfect flavor for a Carol's Cookie, what would it be? No need. It already exists: Classic Chocolate Chip.
A special thank you to Pam for taking the time to speak to us about her business. Now it’s time for all of us to go pick up both a sweet and a savory Chicago-style treat!
I was at dinner with some friends last week and the topic of Father’s Day gifts came up. Yep, somehow it’s June already and many of us are saying, “oh shoot! I need to get something for Dad!” But how many shirts, ties and grill tools can you really buy one person in their lifetime?
From there we got into a pretty funny conversation about the plethora of generic Father’s Day gift options out there (along with all the horrible ones we’ve given over the years). So in the end, we decided Carol’s Cookies really are the best Father’s Day gift and here’s why.
1. This was his gift last year. While we appreciate the Seinfeld reference, you can do better than that!
2. You’ll never have time to bake this cake...and thank god because it doesn’t look edible.
3. Your Dad will probably never look like this, so let him indulge a little.
4. You’re too old for fart jokes…
5. Or hand-making him a gift, for that matter.
6. He shaved his mustache in the 80’s and doesn’t get the ‘stache jokes
7. He already has three sets of grill tools (and never uses them).
8. Bacon is great, but really shouldn't be used for anything else other than eating.
9. You haven’t had time to save up for the hottest new transportation around.
10. Chances are he’ll take the ear/nose hair trimmer gift personally (even though we all know he needs one).
In honor of Father’s Day and graduation season this year, we’re offering 15% off online orders until June 15th when you use coupon code Dads&Grads2013! Make this the Father’s Day that your Dad actually remembers!
Chicago is a city that’s passionate about food and hard work. Many of you know our great city for “Chicago Style” hot dogs, pizza and Italian beef. On the sweeter side of life, there are iconic companies like Garret’s Popcorn, Eli’s Cheesecake (and Carol’s Cookies!) that have left quite an impression. On the restaurant front, we’re grateful for Lettuce Entertain You. And for the best quick lunch you’ve ever had, there’s NYC Bagel Deli. And these are just a few…
Out of respect and appreciation for our fellow foodies, we wanted to introduce you to “the brains behind the tastes.” We hope you enjoy getting to know some of the people behind your favorite local eats!
Our first interview is with Corey Kaplan, founder of NYC Bagel Deli. Who doesn’t love NYC Bagel Deli’s ridiculously amazing homemade cream cheese, fresh bagels and Boar’s Head deli meat & cheese?! Oh yeah, and if you’re really a true Chicagoan, you’ll grab a Carol’s Cookies to top it off!
We have three main locations: River North, Lincoln Park and South Loop. We also make NY Style thin crust pizza at the Citigroup Center food court in Ogilvie Station and sell our pizza “slices” at the River North location.
My business is New York Style in Chicago… WHOAAA! So, we walk a fine line. We have the BEST New York Style kettle boiled bagels, homemade cream cheese and Boar’s Head brand meats and cheese.
I got into the food business 30 years ago in New Jersey. All Jewish boys worked at a bagel shop!
An everything bagel with chive cream cheese, lox, tomato, capers and red onion.
My daughter Nikki bought me a chocolate chip cookie years ago and ever since then we have been selling 20 dozen per week!!!
Carol’s Cookies are true comfort food to me. A cookie in the microwave with chocolate chip ice cream on it, WOWWWWW!!!
The fact that Carol is answering the phones and still “in the daily mix” – I LOVE IT!!!
YOU ALREADY HAVE!!!!!
Thanks for taking the time to hang out with us Corey! After writing this post, it’s safe to say we’ll see you around lunch time!
Combine a warm Carol's Cookie with a scoop of your favorite ice cream to recreate our signature Cookie-in-a-Bowl dessert. If you are daring, add some whipped cream to the dessert ideas listed below for a bit more fun. Here are some suggestions of our personal favorites:
Crush up a variety of Carol’s Cookies, your choice, and roll them using a little butter to form a pie crust. Line the bottom of a pie pan with this crust. Swirl vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt and chocolate sauce together, fill the pie pan with the Carol’s Cookies pie crust and fill it with the ice cream or frozen yogurt. Freeze it and serve when you want to be the life of the party.
Option...you can drizzle melted chocolate or caramel on top of the cookie to look pretty.
Cut and enjoy!
We’re proud to say that over the last several decades, the core values of our business haven't changed...small batches, handmade cookies, taking care of the customer first and foremost. Regardless of what’s going on in the food world, we’ve continued to make America’s favorite handmade cookie with premium, all-natural ingredients.
If there’s one change that we think is worth pursuing though, it’s getting on the social media train. We’ve had so much fun running contests, sharing funny pictures and giving you first access to sales on our Facebook page. We have enjoyed pinning our favorite bloggers’ recipes on Pinterest, and our Twitter page has been a fun place to chat with our fellow foodies. But there was one thing that has been missing…our very own blog.
So today, we are excited to publish our very FIRST blog post! Our blog will give you a behind-the-scenes look at Carol’s Cookies through pictures and customer stories. We’ll be kicking things off with a series of interviews we conducted with some of our favorite Chicago food entrepreneurs. As we approach our 35th year in business and realize we have been around the block once or twice ourselves, we've really enjoyed watching these well-established, local entrepreneurs grow their business into national brands! It's an honor to be associated with the wonderful people you'll read about through our blog posts. You're sure to fall in love with their stories and brands just as we have over the years.
Thank you for choosing Carol’s Cookies over the years. We look forward to being part of your family and business traditions for many more decades to come!