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Carol's Cookies Cookie Company
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Cookie Blog

Holiday Traditions

At long last! The challah has arrived...

You didn’t think Carol only knew how to bake cookies did you?  Not this Grandma!  It’s in her DNA to bake, starting way back at an early age. Carol grew up baking with her mother in their home kitchen in Michigan.  Pies, cookies, cakes, bread…you name it, they baked it.  Quite often they’d bake up a feast for holiday get-togethers, and over the years holiday baking became one of their most cherished traditions.

It’s not only making sure that Carol’s granddaughters have the recipes (don’t get any ransom ideas, they don’t have THE recipe…yet), but that they also have the memories of baking these special recipes with their grandma and spending time with family. This is one way the Goldman’s express their love, through delicious treats.  To Carol, not baking with her grandchildren would not be the holidays!

Of course, these traditions might have to change and adapt as time goes by.  Family dynamics shift, they shrink and grow, members interests evolve, but what’s important is that you take the traditions that mean the most to you and continue to incorporate them in some way so that they’re carried on.  If not for Carol’s mother making sure to bake with Carol at every holiday since she was a little girl, we might have never had the opportunity to enjoy these fantastic handmade cookies.

Does your family have any holiday traditions?  We’d love to hear what they are!  Share them with us on Facebook.

Whatever your family traditions are, embrace them, make time for them, and share them with the younger generations to keep them going.  But if you’re looking to start a new one, or want to be a part of our traditions, feel free to make your holiday order today!

The Joys of Fall

So often we hear complaints about the end of summer and the start of fall.

The kids are upset that summer vacation is over, the days are getting shorter, and we’re one step closer to cold weather, shoveling driveways, and hibernation. But at Carol’s Cookies we love the change of the season and think there are a lot of reasons to be happy that summer’s over.

Football season is here.

Hot cider (it’s a lovely compliment to our Snickerdoodle cookies).

 

Pumpkin EVERYTHING!

 

Apple picking (and then dunking in caramel!)

 

The best color palette of all the seasons.

 

Cozy sweaters.

 

The only season where it’s practically mandatory to dress up in a costume and eat candy.

 

S’mores…they’re not just a summer dessert.

 

Candy corn  (totally counts as a serving of vegetables)

 

And then #1 reason we’re in love with this fall: it’s the season we moved into a bigger bakery to produce more cookies than ever before!

Carol's Cookies Custom Orders

Of course you wanted to help your favorite neighbor throw their first open house, but that was before your daughter got sick and your husband got called away to travel for work.  Getting to the grocery store right now is as likely as winning the lotto without buying a ticket, but you can’t leave them high, dry, and dessert-less.

But have no fear:  Carol’s Cookies has you covered.  Whatever amount of cookies you need, we have the right gift for you.  Our gift tins and packages can be ordered with 7, 12, 36 or 6 dozen of our 7-ounce cookies!  We even offer gluten-free, nut-free cookies for those with food allergies.  And if 7-ounces of cookie seems like too much, our 1.5-ounce minis have all the same flavor but at a fraction of the size.

So fear not, you have it all under control (with a little help from Carol’s.)  On average, we need just 3 days lead time to bake your fresh batch of cookies and we ship every Monday thru Wednesday from our new bakery in Northbrook, IL.  Or, if you’re in the area, you’re always welcome to come pick up at our bakery (phone first).  We’ll make sure that you will save the day with our giant cookies, whether it’s for an open house, thank-you gift, or just an after school snack– we’ve got you covered.

Order your specific cookies needs by visiting us at http://www.carolscookies.com/order-cookies/

 

Labor Day Celebration

Labor Day is a day of celebration dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers.  It’s a day to pay tribute to the contributions workers have made to strengthen the economic well-being of our country.  And this labor day, we’re able to celebrate a new milestone for Carol and all of Carol’s Cookies employees.

The morning after Labor Day we’ll be cracking eggs bright and early in a new, bigger bakery.  We feel this grand opening day adequately represents the hard work of our company.  From starting modestly 35 years ago in her own kitchen, Carol went from selling cookies at local shops like Michael’s Hot Dogs and Sunset Foods to being distributed in over 30 states.  Now, Carol’s Cookies has a staff of 25 (and growing!), and in 2013 produced nearly 3 million cookies, a number we hope to surpass this year.

So this holiday weekend, we’re going to enjoy our day off and reflect on how far we’ve come as a company and as individuals.  It’s bittersweet to move from a location with so many fond memories, but we’re excited to increase our trade and continue to evolve, while (thankfully) our cookies remain the same.

Happy Labor Day to all of you- we hope you’re able to relax and celebrate your own hard work and accomplishments.

Carol's Cookies Summer Treats

Just because the days are getting shorter and the kids are counting down how long until they head back to school doesn’t mean your summer fun is over.  In fact, you can make the last weeks of summer sweeter than ever with these dessert ideas from Carol’s Cookies.

Carol’s Cookies Ice Cream Sandwich (1 serving)

  • Two of your favorite Carol’s Cookies (We used chocolate chip)
  • Your favorite ice cream

For our Ice Cream Sandwich, we took two of our fresh Chocolate Chip cookies and our favorite Homer’s Vanilla Bean ice cream.  Let your ice cream sit out for 3-5 minutes so it’s more pliable.  Take a scoop of ice cream and place it on the flat side of the cookie and gently spread ice cream to cover the cookie’s surface.  Top with your second cookie (flat side down!) and press slightly to allow the ice cream to disperse more evenly.  Enjoy as is, or wrap the sandwich in plastic wrap and place in the freezer to enjoy at a later time.

Chocolate Sugar Cookie Milkshake (2-3 servings)

  • 2 cups chocolate ice cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1-2 Carol’s Cookies Sugar cookie

First combine your ice cream and milk in a blender and blend until smooth.  We used Homer’s chocolate ice cream and 2% milk.  Break your sugar cookie roughly into thirds and add to the blender.  Blend again until cookie is broken up until your desired consistency.

Carol’s Cookies S’more (1 massive serving: perfect for sharing)

  • 2 Carol’s Cookies (We recommend Toffee Crunch to add another dimension of deliciousness)
  • ½ Chocolate bar (approximately .77 ounces)
  • Large Marshmallows (might we suggest using 2-4 for the proper marshmallow to cookie ratio)

Roast marshmallows slowly over an open flame.  Kids make sure you have parental supervision or approval first.  You can use a campfire or fire pit, or in a pinch, a gas stove or sterno.  We think Carol’s Toffee Crunch is divine in this recipe.  With the flat side of the cookie up, place your piece of chocolate on it.  Once your marshmallow is toasted to your liking, place it atop the chocolate and top with the other cookie.   Open wide, and enjoy!

Note: if you’re physically unable to put entire sandwich in your mouth (we don’t blame you) feel free to take the top off.

Snickerdoodle & Strawberry Trifle (2 servings)

  • 2/3 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 2 Snickerdoodle cookies broken into chunks
  • 1 ½ cup sliced, hulled strawberries
  • 1/3 cup of milk
  • cinnamon

In a large bowl beat the milk, sour cream, and vanilla extract on a low speed until thickened and combined.  Fold in the whipped heavy cream.   Place ¼ of the cookie chunks in the bottom of each glass.  Top with ¼ of the sliced strawberries in each class.  Follow with a large dollop of whipped topping.  Repeat with remaining ingredients.   Garnish with a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Hope you enjoy our summer recipes.  We’d love to hear yours.  Comment below with some of your favorite Carol’s Cookies desserts.

 

Our most FAQ

We love to hear from our friends, fans, and those just learning about our cookies.  We try to be helpful and provide answers to the most Frequently Asked Questions here (http://carolscookies.com/faq).  But the one question we get asked the most is, “How do you make your cookies so big?!”  We get it.  This question comes from the same mind-boggling, inconceivable place where we wonder, “How does the Tooth Fairy get under our pillows while we sleep?” and “What type of Spanx does Santa put on to shimmy down the chimney.”  They are the universal questions that keep us up at night.

But you’re in luck!  Tonight you can sleep easy and save the worries of the world for another day.  Creating our cookies should be a snap after reading this.

To make our cookies so big, we start with using just the right amount of fats to form correct cohesion and adhesion of ingredients.  This allows our cookies to be dense, yet cooked through, chewy, yet melt in your mouth.  The molecules must be solidly brought together to form the base.  Without it, we would be left with neat little piles of eggs, flour, and Ghirardelli Chocolate.

Speaking of eggs, you want to add your eggs whole, one at a time. But that makes the mixing a little more difficult.  Egg whites are largely water and they don’t mix well with cohesion agents.  But we warn you, too much mixing and you’re in danger of over-mixing.  Over-mixing results in a holey mess that falls apart as soon as it’s lifted off the cookie sheet.  And if you’re not using the right flour, well that totally throws off the protein structure and gluten levels and the ingredients won’t be able to bind.

You’ll need acidity and carbon dioxide to create a strong protein bond with the correct flour.  If your bond isn’t strong, all the good stuff is evaporated away.  A strong bond keeps our dough stiff, and the right level of acidity firms our cooking dough faster, which results in our thick cookies (not spread thin like you so often find).  But that all goes to waste if you don’t mix enough.  The importance of the mixing time of the dough is everything.  Mix too little and you won’t get enough air pockets to be filled with CO2, mix too much and your cookie looks like meal worms invaded.

The last step to consider in making Carol’s-Cookie-sized cookies is temperature.  You want the kinetic energy of the particles to be just right.  You want to be right where the energy within the plasma collisions is high enough to overcome the Coulomb barrier and the cookie particles fuse together into one massive cookie without cracking.

And of course, the perfection of dough you just created is nothing unless you’re dropping 1/2lb softball-sized scoops of it on your cookie tray.

Now you should be set to go ahead and recreate your own version of Carol’s Cookies in your fridge.

What?  You’re confused?  Well, you didn’t really think we were going to divulge our most sacred secrets, did you?

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/

Summer Activities with Kids

Well, it’s that time of year again. The birds are singing, the butterflies are fluttering and your kids are out of school. You may be thinking, ‘Now what do we do? How do I keep my child’s attention with summer fun activities?’

Have no fear, Carol’s Cookies has you covered! Below are some of Carol’s favorite things to do with her grandchildren and her children. Remember you are never too old for a fun summer activity. Can you guess which summer activity is Carol’s absolute favorite??

Happy Summer!

The Best Business Advice a 70-Year-Old Ever Gave You

We happen to love those articles floating around the Internet titled, “the advice I’d give my twenty-year-old self.” If only we knew then what we know now, right?!  One of those articles made us think: what advice would a non-retired 70-year-old businesswoman give us?  So we walked over to ask our founder, Carol Goldman, who still works in our bakery at age 70, what she thinks the keys to success are in business. Here’s her advice:

1.     Be patient and have a sense of humor about your work. It is only work.

2.     Be generous and treat your employees like family.  Bring in lunch every now and then, put a little gift card with their paycheck.  It's the little things that add up to years of loyal service.

3.     Have an ambitious family member help you grow the business into a force to be reckoned with.  Their passion brings energy and opportunity at every corner.

4.     Make the work environment fun and a happy place to be.  I play my saxophone for everyone's birthday...I'm not very good at it, but it always lightens the mood.

5.     Stay organized.  As a business owner, you wear a lot of different hats and juggle a lot of balls at the same time.  Keep notes, and make a daily list so you make sure you get what needs to get done each day.

6.     Customers always come first, no matter what business you're in.  Treat your customers as you want to be treated, and they'll stay loyal to you and your business for it.

7.     Be actively involved with the business...answer phones, take in a delivery, help pack an order.  Be a participant, not just an observer.

8.     Always remember where you came from.  I still support the first store that carried my cookies...I shop there, I tell others how great they are, I still call those stores personally for orders, etc.  They may not be the biggest account, but they are the most important because without them, you may not be where you are today.

9.     Be charitable.  It's not just about sitting on boards or writing checks.  It's about getting involved with your community, volunteering for events to help raise money and it's as simple as giving a sad child a cookie.  Roll your sleeves up and pitch in...there is no better therapy.

10.  Don't change the quality of your product or service.  Stay true to your roots and don't cut corners.  You got to the dance for a reason, so don't sacrifice quality for a few pennies.

Which piece of Carol’s advice do you think is most powerful? What do you hope to look back on your career and say?

 

Nominate Someone in Our #SweetestMom Contest!

In honor of celebrating 35 years in the handmade cookie business, Carol wanted to give back to and share the stories of amazing mothers around the United States. Therefore, we will be giving away lots of our famous half-pound cookies, along with coupon codes to everyone who nominates a Mom via our Facebook page! To nominate a Mother that inspired you, click the "submit entry" button at the bottom of this page. Could a Mom you know be voted as the #SweetestMom?! If so, she could win these sweet prizes...

 

How to Enter Your #SweetestMom Nominee

 

Upload a picture and description about why this mother is so special, and you'll receive a $5 coupon code to use at CarolsCookies.com for participating. Each submission will be considered "pending" until approved by the Carol’s Cookies team - don't worry, we're fast! Once your nominee is live, share it with your Facebook community and ask your friends & family to vote for your #SweetestMom.

Again, don't forget to VOTE! You can vote every hour - and the competition is getting fierce sweet! Here's how to do it once your entry is approved:

The mother who receives the most votes will win a one-year membership to Carol's Cookies Cookie of the Month Club, and 34 "Runner Ups" will receive a gift tin of 12 Carol's Cookies.  Contest closes at 11:59pm CST on Mother's Day (May 11, 2014). Let us know if you have questions! Best of luck!

The Crap In Your Cookies: The Secret Most of America Doesn’t Know

Our founder Carol Goldman has been known to say, "the best tasting things in life are things you can pronounce.”  Yet sadly, so many big food companies have lost site of this simple value.

Luckily, some of our favorite bloggers have not.  Thanks to blogs like Food Babe and 100 Days of Real Food major company secrets are being revealed to the masses. Did you know that some of the brands you trust most often contaminate their cookies with artificial flavors, GMO’s, carcinogens and even ingredients made from petroleum?

The last thing we need is a slew of mystery ingredients that could be harming our health and the health of our families too.  I mean, what in the world is Sodium Aluminum Phosphate and why would we ever want to eat it?

Cookies are a special treat meant to make life a little bit sweeter. And while our cookies may be a bit of an indulgence, we’re proud to say they are real. Our cookie dough is made up of only seven fresh, all-natural ingredients you can pronounce: butter, unbleached flour, pure cane sugar, brown sugar, farm fresh eggs, salt and vanilla.  To top it off, all of our cookies are handmade. This means they aren’t processed and jammed full of preservatives. As Carol tells her grandchildren, “It just tastes better when it's real!"

Take a look at this chart published by Food Babe it will make you think twice about purchasing convenience cookie dough.

We’re very curious what you think: as parents and consumers, did you realize these cookies were so filled with chemicals? If this is in America’s mainstream cookies, what’s hiding in the other packaged items at your local grocery store?  We hope you will stand up for your health and choose the real thing next time you want a sweet treat!

4 Easy Ways to Increase Customer Loyalty

While it’s tempting to focus all of your marketing efforts on acquiring new customers, research shows that there is far more opportunity in marketing to your existing customers. How have you expressed gratitude to your customers lately?

A study by Flowtown shows that it is 6 – 7 times more costly to acquire a new customer than it is to retain an existing customer. In addition, the study showed that profits could increase as much as 95% by boosting customer retention rates by even 5%. Check out the infographic below for more interesting stats on the value of an existing customer!

 

There are several easy and meaningful ways to show your customers you care.  Here are a few ideas to help you get started!

Always say thank you

In today’s digital world, many businesses forget the rules of old fashioned business. One of the easiest ways to show gratitude is by simply saying, “thank you.” Whether it’s through a handwritten note, taking clients out to dinner or sending a sweet treat, saying thank you is a simple, yet often forgotten, gesture that goes a long way.

Reward Loyalty

As they always say in business school, 80% of your revenue often comes from only 20% of your customers. How do you stay focused on the top 20%? Create a customer loyalty program that rewards your best customers. If your rewards program delights your customers enough, they’ll even tell others about your business in the process. Your customers will look forward to receiving their gift protecting your business from losing customers to the competition. For example, check out how this Iowa car dealership used sweet treats to keep their customers coming back.

Share your customers’ successes on social media

Social media allows us to find out about exciting news in real time. Be sure to follow your customers on social media and congratulate them when something big happens. Your customers will appreciate that you are listening to them both online and in person and will be grateful for the additional exposure you give them too!

Send something sweet!


We built our business around gratitude and have worked with several other leading businesses that have been successful doing the same. Therefore, we couldn’t end this post without mentioning that there’s nothing better than receiving Carol’s Cookies as a corporate gift. We receive daily emails, phone calls and photos from people who have experienced the pure surprise and delight of receiving the gift of Carol’s Cookies. Check out our corporate gifts page for more info on how to pass this on to your customers!

Carol’s Favorite Party Hacks

As a busy grandmother, entertaining has become a really enjoyable part of my life. Along the way, I’ve learned a few tricks that help make spending time with my friends and family even better. Try these “party hacks” on your own and please share your own entertaining tips in the comment section below!

The perfect serving amount per person http://bit.ly/NVYs85

Keep bugs out of drinks at outdoor parties http://bit.ly/1cDBqsK


Spend less time scooping and more time entertaining http://bit.ly/1lAbgzt

Spice up boring water bottle labels http://bit.ly/1eZlC8m

A fun way to show off memorable photos http://bit.ly/1cbmB5T

Feel a little more glamorous without emptying your wallet http://bit.ly/1lAcryN


Cook this days in advance to save time http://bit.ly/1gbFGAO


Who says you can’t party in the morning? http://bit.ly/1ibRBAY


No music speakers? No problem http://bit.ly/1gbGpSq


Always properly set a table http://bit.ly/1hNRf5h


How To Make Chocolate Chip Cookie Bowls

In honor of my granddaughter’s birthday party a few weeks ago, I decided to bake a special treat – cookie bowls – that could combine her (unbiased) love for Carol’s Cookies and ice cream. These cookie bowls are absolutely perfect for serving mini ice cream sundaes when you entertain! The treats were a big hit with both the kids and maybe even more so with the moms, so I just had to share it with you.

All you’ll need is some quality cookie dough (preferably ours), a 12-cup muffin tin, ice cream and endless toppings of your choice.  I prefer colored sprinkles, whipped cream, mini chocolate chips and hot fudge.

Cookie Bowl Recipe

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Turn the muffin tin upside down and cover with cooking spray.

Roll out the dough on a generously floured surface to about 1/8 inch in thickness making sure they are big enough to cover two-thirds of the domes on the muffin tin.

Press the dough firmly to the domes of the muffin tin and bake for 11-13 minutes, until the cookie bowls are just turning golden brown.

Carefully remove the cookie bowls after they cool to room temperature.  Then, simply fill them with ice cream and toppings and enjoy!   My personal favorite is our Chocolate Chip Cookie Bowls filled with Praline's & Cream ice cream and finished off with whipped cream!

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.