facebook
twitter
youtube
foursquare
yelp
Carol's Cookies Cookie Company
Share This:
Cookie Blog

American as...

We’ve all heard the saying, “American as apple pie” and I’m sure many of you are planning on adding a juicy, lattice-topped pastry to your 4th of July plans.  But what if I told you that to really represent all thing Americana in your festivities, you’re better off adding chocolate chip cookies to that buffet table?

The concept of apple pie actually came from Europeans in the thirteenth century.  Prior to colonization, there wasn’t an apple tree to be seen stateside.  If you really want to go back, Apple trees can be traced back to central Asia.

he chocolate chip cookie on the other hand, was born, bred, and mastered in the good ole U.S. of A.  It’s creation came some time after apple pies were being served, but it is in fact a 100% American dessert.  Ruth Wakefield (who should be celebrated daily for her genius) invented the chocolate chip cookie in the late 1930’s at her Massachusetts restaurant, Toll House.  In 1939 when the cookie-craze was hot, Wakefield sold the recipe and the Toll House name to Nestlé for a dollar.

Wakefield’s original recipe:

Via KingArthurFlour.com

And just like Wakefield’s original recipe, Carol’s Cookies prides itself on using all natural ingredients and hand-making each of our cookies into perfection.  The biggest difference is that while Wakefield used a half-teaspoon of dough, we tend to use more of a fist-sized amount.  And who can argue that more cookie is ever a bad thing?

So this July 4th it might be time to rethink your dessert option and include a tray of Carol’s Chocolate Chip Cookies.  It can be a fun conversation starter, an accurate celebration of our great nation, and a delicious treat.  I can’t guarantee the phrase “American as Chocolate Chip cookies” will catch on, but we can always try!

For your 4th of July order, please visit http://www.carolscookies.com/order-cookies/

Creating Customer Loyalty Through Sweet Gifts

Think back to the last time you purchased a car. Was it a good experience? For us, some car dealership experiences have been sweeter than others.

Meet Kathy Miller, an associate at the McGrath Family of Dealerships that includes 6 car dealerships throughout the state of Iowa, McGrath Powersports and McGrath Hawkeye Harley Davidson.

From left: Gavin McGrath, Lindsay McGrath, Pat McGrath, Jaymie McGrath and Murphy McGrath.

While McGrath had always had an in-house gift program for their customers, their needs started to change as they acquired more dealerships.  McGrath needed a customer-gifting partner who had the staff and the expertise to expand with their growing business.  It turned out that Carol’s Cookies were the perfect fit. “Our Vice President of Sales, Orrin Smith, came to me with information about Carol’s Cookies,” said Kathy.  “We have since built a partnership with Carol’s Cookies absolutely fantastic team.”

Kathy has seen first-hand that McGrath customers, love Carol’s Cookies and will frequently hear people say “they are soooo big!” Customers now associate these special gourmet cookies with McGrath, leaving a lasting impression.

McGrath has always strived to set itself apart from the competition by giving customers an impactful customer experience they will remember and talk about.  When asked how working with Carol’s Cookies has helped McGrath’s business, Kathy said “it helps keep our name in front of customers. When someone receives a gift at work, everyone wants to know what’s in the box, thus creating a work place buzz.”  Kathy and her co-workers commonly hear customers say, “I bought a car at a different dealership and I didn’t receive a gift.”

Here at Carol’s, we’ve worked with several types of business to put together unique gifts that customers love.  Here are a few examples and ideas.

Custom branded cargo container with individual cookies.

Individually wrapped cookies for customer waiting rooms or business lobbies.

Custom branded lunch container filled with mini cookies.

In our experience, the art and science of building customer loyalty and retention is made a little easier with something sweet.  We couldn’t leave our interview with Kathy without asking what HER favorite Carol’s Cookie is. Kathy voted the Brownie Cookie as her #1 choice with the Milk Chocolate Chunk coming in as a close second.

To discuss how Carol’s Cookies can help you drive customer loyalty and retention via gifting, contact us today!

Cookie Monster’s Spin on “Call Me Maybe”

I’m the proud grandma of two beautiful granddaughters. Over the past year or so, there’s one song they all absolutely love: Carly Rae Jepsen’s, “Call Me Maybe.”  Just as I thought I had enough of the song that gets perpetually stuck in my head, they proudly introduced me to Cookie Monster’s version of the song: “Share it Maybe.”

I love this version because it revolves around cookies and makes me laugh! If you love our cookies, you can relate to this video! Enjoy!

Creating a Custom Gift Tradition with CH Robinson

Lenore Sikora is an employee of third party logistics provider CH Robinson in Chicago. Little known fact about Lenore: she has been ordering Carol's Cookies for her company’s clients for almost two decades. "The first time someone requested that I order Carol's Cookies, I thought it was a joke. Here we are 19 years later and it is the most requested item we give," says Lenore.

Companies like CH Robinson know that a sweet thank you gift goes a long way.  "It's a great opportunity to reach out to our customers to let them know we appreciate the business relationship we have with them. And what better way than with the best cookies?!," says Lenore.  Recipients of CH Robinson's annual gift have called our cookies "crazy-delicious, giant cookies." Clients have also told Lenore that Carol bakes, "THE most amazing cookies I've ever tasted."

While we’d be silly to take credit for CH Robinson’s success, we can tell you that their customers are definitely “wowed” each year when they receive their gift – keeping both them (and us!) busy for the past twenty years.  Our VP has been known to say that for most of our corporate clients, “Carol’s handmade cookies are literally the gift that keeps on giving!”

The Carol’s Cookies team works with corporate clients to create custom gifts that display their logo and messaging like the one above.  We have also created custom coffee mugs, golf balls and other containers to suit the needs of our corporate clients.  If you’re looking to start a sweet holiday tradition, give us a call and we can discuss your company’s custom gift needs!

Did you know Carol’s Cookies offers gluten free cookies?

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:

  • Whole Foods (IL, IN, MI, MN, WI)
  • Sunset Foods (North Chicago suburbs)
  • Kroger (IL and IN only)
  • Plum Market (IL and MI)
  • Willow Creek Church (IL)

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.

5 Tips to Making Any Cookie Recipe Better

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).

Here are 5 tips to help make your homemade cookie recipe even more delicious!

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!

 

Chicago Food Entrepreneur Series: Meet Katrina Markoff of Vosges Haut-Chocolat

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.

Chicago Food Entrepreneur Series: Meet Jon Sider of Greater Than

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

How would you describe your business?

Coconut Water that tastes great.  We've taken the natural goodness of Coconut Water and enhanced it for premium hydration and taste.

What inspired you to start Greater Than?

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

 

What’s your favorite food?

My favorite indulgence is Carol's Cookies.  Plus there is nothing like a Carol's Cookies to earn a few points with the lady.

 

When did you have your first Carol’s Cookie?

I had my first Carol's Cookies at Sunset Valley Golf Club.  It was much greater than a first kiss.

 

What do you associate Carol’s Cookies with?

I associate Carol's Cookies with delicious happiness.  They're always delicious and they always make you happy.  Yum!

 

Name your favorite thing about Carol’s Cookies.

Carol’s is rooted in our hometown of Highland Park.  It's an entrepreneurial story that can inspire others.

 

If you had to create a new Carol’s Cookie, what flavor would it be?

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!

Chicago Food Entrepreneur Series: Meet Dan Klein of Tiesta Tea

Chicago foodie entrepreneurs are one-of-a-kind. They exhibit drive and creativity in ways that continue to astound us! As part of our series, we spoke with Co-Founder and CEO, Dan Klein, about the methodology that makes Tiesta Tea not only unique and intriguing, but also practical.
 
Klein and his team have come full circle (literally) in providing loose leaf tea in innovative combinations. They brought experiences they had abroad back to the U.S. to develop a brand headquartered in River North that now provides teas globally. Their teas are marketed by the way they taste, which contain real fruit and herbs, how they should be prepared, and the benefit to the consumer enjoying the finished product.
Describe your business: We make exotic blends of loose-leaf tea categorized by function. We customize recipes that use full fruits and herbs to enhance the all-natural flavor.
How did you get into the food business? In other words, what was your inspiration? Our inspiration came from a study abroad trip my business partner Patrick and I took to Prague. We were blown away by the unique flavors and plethora of teahouses and wondered why we weren’t seeing it back home.
What’s your favorite food? Scallops, no question - Nothing like fresh seafood.
When did you have your first Carol’s Cookie? I had my first Carol’s Cookie after graduating college, when I was 22.
What do you associate Carol’s Cookies with? If I had to use one word, it would be handcrafted.
What is your favorite thing about Carol or her cookies? I love the story and the fact that they are truly handmade and all-natural. There’re very few cookies at the grocery stores these days that can claim this.
If you were to create the perfect flavor for a Carol's Cookie, what would it be? Chocolate Peanut Butter with a vanilla swirl!
A special thanks to Dan for taking the time to give us feedback on Carol’s Cookies and speak about Tiesta Tea.  Hey, Dan, which Tiesta Tea beverage would be a great combination with one of Carol’s Cookies???  Hmmm, new flavor in the making?

Chicago Food Entrepreneur Series: Meet Pam Netzky of SkinnyPop Popcorn

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!

Ten Reasons Your Dad Wants Cookies this Father’s Day

 

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!

Via ebay

 

2. You’ll never have time to bake this cake...and thank god because it doesn’t look edible.

 

Via CakePictureGallery.com

 

3. Your Dad will probably never look like this, so let him indulge a little.

 

Via express.co.uk

 

4. You’re too old for fart jokes…

Via Reddit.com

 

5. Or hand-making him a gift, for that matter.

 

Via Buzzfeed.com

 

6. He shaved his mustache in the 80’s and doesn’t get the ‘stache jokes

 

Via Etsy.com

 

7. He already has three sets of grill tools (and never uses them).

 

Via Housewaresandbeyond.com

 

8. Bacon is great, but really shouldn't be used for anything else other than eating.

 

Via Papersource.com

 

9. You haven’t had time to save up for the hottest new transportation around.

  

Via EngineCrazy

 

10. Chances are he’ll take the ear/nose hair trimmer gift personally (even though we all know he needs one).

 

Via Vermontcountrystore.com

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 Food Entrepreneur Series: Meet Corey Kaplan of NYC Bagel Deli

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…

NYBD2

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!

NYBD3

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! 

Meet Corey Kaplan!

NYBD4

Where can we visit a NYC Bagel Deli?

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.

Describe your business.

NYBD5 

 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.

How did you get into the food business?

I got into the food business 30 years ago in New Jersey. All Jewish boys worked at a bagel shop! 

What’s your favorite food?

An everything bagel with chive cream cheese, lox, tomato, capers and red onion.

When did you have your first Carol’s Cookie?

My daughter Nikki bought me a chocolate chip cookie years ago and ever since then we have been selling 20 dozen per week!!!

What do you associate Carol’s Cookies with?

Carol’s Cookies are true comfort food to me. A cookie in the microwave with chocolate chip ice cream on it, WOWWWWW!!!

What is your favorite thing about Carol or her cookies?

The fact that Carol is answering the phones and still “in the daily mix” – I LOVE IT!!!

If you were to create the perfect flavor for a Carol's Cookie, what would it be?

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!

Cookie-in-a-Bowl

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:

  • Chocolate Chip  Cookie without Nuts with French Vanilla ice cream topped with hot chocolate sauce
  • Cinnamon Swirl Cookie with a scoop of Caramel ice cream topped with warm caramel sauce
  • Brownie Cookie with a scoop of Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream and hot fudge
  • Old-fashioned Sugar Cookie with a scoop of Strawberry ice cream and fresh strawberries
  • Oatmeal Raisin with Pecans Cookie with Butter Pecan ice cream and caramel sauce
  • Toffee Crunch Cookie with Dulce de Leche ice cream and warm dark chocolate topping
  • Brownie Cookie with Rocky Road ice cream (for those choco-holics)

Warm 'Em Up!

Heat up a thawed Carol's Cookie in the microwave for about 40 seconds or in the oven for 1 1/2 minutes at 350 degrees for that just-out-of-the-oven gooey-ness.

Cookie "Popsicles"

Cut up your cookies in smaller pieces, place them in a freezer-safe bag and store them in your freezer. People love the frozen chunks! And remember, there are no calories in the small pieces (wink, wink). FYI, the cookies have a 6-month shelf-life when kept frozen.

Breakfast of Champions

You sometimes enjoy breakfast for dinner; why not have breakfast for dessert? Break up an Oatmeal Raisin with Pecans Cookie and add your favorite milk for a great way to start your day.

Ice Cream Sundae Pie

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.

Fruit Pizza

Fill a disposable pie pan with Carol’s Cookies Old-Fashioned Sugar Cookie Dough.   Bake it in a convection oven at 350 degrees and let cool to room temperature.  Fill with fruit of your choice (we prefer berries) and top with whipped cream.  Serve chilled and prepare to make friends.

Cookie Sandwiches

Scooping heaping spoonfuls of Carol’s Cookie dough onto a baking sheet and bake as directed.  Cool cookies completely to room temperature.  Use fresh made buttercream frosting (or cheat and use store bought) and frost bottom of one cookie...top with another cookie and you are sure to be an instant hit.

Carol's Cookie Truffles

Roll your cookie dough into truffle-sized balls, then freeze. Dip them in melted candy coating or chocolate that will harden.  Please note that we do not promote eating raw cookie dough…we do use ultra-pasteurized eggs...but the warning is actually because eating our cookie dough can be extremely addicting!  Consider yourself warned….