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!
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?
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!
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!