Everyone knows this holiday is about two things. The first is, it’s all about the candy. Fun-size, over processed, nuggets of sugar. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t wish the tradition changed over to adorably dressed children ring doorbell, door opens, and a handful of Carol’s Cookies minis were handed out…But I digress.
The second part of Halloween, the most important part, is the costume. Basically, if you dream it, you can be it. It can be extremely overwhelming…where do you even start? Well, for us, it’s a bit easier. We eat, sleep, breathe, think, and live for cookies. So naturally, we favor costumes of the doughy, sweet treat variety. And we couldn’t encourage you more to take suit…and suit up as your favorite treat this holiday. And don’t forget to let us see!
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).
Apple picking (and then dunking in caramel!)
The best color palette of all the seasons.
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!
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.
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)
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)
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)
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)
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.
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?
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??
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?
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...
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!
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!
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!
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!
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.
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!
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!