A conversation with the marketing and sales manager for The Gourmazing Cookie Ltd., plus a couple of recipes to try, and our favourite cookie-related quotes.
We recently sold our controlling interest in The Gourmazing Cookie Ltd. to Redstone Foods. They do a lot of breads and muffins and, with 30,000 square feet of manufacturing room, have much stronger manufacturing skills.”
“We have a strong brand, a well-executed brand, that’s working in retail applications, but we’ve had a lot of interest from major grocery chains and the orders you get can be just that much bigger, we started really questioning whether we were set up to handle that. Redstone was looking to acquire companies and, combined with our marketing skills, it was a good fit.
“Our strength is a slightly higher end cookie. We’ve come through a process of trying produce a cookie that’s different, yet not formulating a cookie that’s too expensive for the market to bear. Our main target right now, I would say, is grocery chains, places that are a little more niche and specialist and offer a slightly higher end product, a gourmet cookie.
“The original definition of gourmet is quality ingredients, pure chocolate, butter, lots of sucrose – not getting into liquid sugars. Using traditional ingredients and trying to stay within as natural a formulation as possible, trying to create flavours that are unique and fit well within the traditional flavour profiles that cookie-lover know and respect. You have to offer traditional cookies like chocolate chunk and oatmeal raisin, but put a twist on that. We’ve made our bases ever slightly more complex, as opposed to a traditional sugar cookie base. What we’re trying to do is create a character for a gourmet cookie.
“Our chocolate chunk, peanut butter and double chocolate chunk are very popular because of the quality of ingredients and chocolate. Our Bittersweet Valencia and Lemon Chocolate Ginger cookies are also very popular. Those are the unique ones that the high-end stores and high-end coffee shops are looking for. Then there are a lot of stores that are looking for the traditional flavours and that’s where those first three do very well.
“When the low carb trend came out, we were inundated with requests, but that seems to have just disappeared. I think the majority of people, when they’re looking for a dessert product, want a dessert product.
The opportunity for healthy products is not consumer driven yet, although I know there’s an opportunity to produce more healthy products.
“We’ve brought out a breakfast cookie, which we call the Fruit Fling; it’s a fruitier alternative and it has a big following. People call in from various grocery stores and tell us how much they love them. But I wouldn’t say we’re losing chocolate chunk sales to Fruit Fling sales.
“As for cookie size, it really still depends on the market. When you come to a coffee shop, they’re usually trying to sell as big a cookie as possible, bigger is better. For the grocery chains those sizes have not changed, they like the two ounce size. Caterers still like one ounce because you can put out a platter and have a number of bite-sized cookies, and it’s more affordable. Bite-sized seems to be becoming popular, but it’s a small trend that hasn’t really affected the market in a major way.
"I’ve never felt like I was in the cookie business. I’ve always been in a feel-good feeling business. My job is to sell joy. My job is to sell happiness. My job is to sell an experience."
– Debbi Fields
"If bitterness wants to get into the act, I offer it a cookie or a gumdrop."
– James Broughton
"C is for cookie, it’s good enough for me; oh cookie cookie cookie starts with C."
-The Cookie Monster
“For new product ideas, I keep an eye out everywhere I go. I look at what products are out there, day to day, and question what could be done better or differently. Our drive is to find unique and different products. We don’t want to compete with the cookie cutter products that are out there in large volumes. The cookie is a format that is not going to change, it has a certain structure that works very well which comes from a combination of ingredients, so you adjust the flavour to whatever is trendy at the moment.
“In my experience, I think you can’t compromise on ingredient quality. I think that’s what makes the difference. People who tend to come back for more are the ones who’ve enjoyed the complexity of tastes, and that usually comes from selecting good quality ingredients, that really distinguishes one cookie from another, it seems to keep repeat business going. Cost is always an issue but it doesn’t buy sales.”
A Chocolate Chip Cookie in the Spotlight
Copia: The American Center for Wine, Food & the Arts pays attention to many aspects of gracious living and dining, not least the chocolate chip cookie.
Copia’s “Best Darn Chocolate Chip Cookie Contest” attracted more than 160 recipes, from as far away as Italy. A recent final tasting produced the first-place winner: the Mexican Double Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookie, created by Chaim Potter of Napa.
The judges’ comment: “These delicious cookies almost melt in your mouth. The flavour and scent are reminiscent of warm Mexican hot chocolate. And the rich chocolate stays gooey long after they cool – if they last that long. They seem to disappear as fast as you can pull them out of the oven.”
Mexican Double Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies
All-purpose flour – 172 g
Unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder – 44 g
Ground cinnamon – 3 g
Baking soda – 3 g
Coarse salt – 2 g
Finely ground black pepper – dash
Coarsely chopped good-quality dark chocolate – 122 g
Unsalted butter – 134 g
Sugar – 305 g
Whole eggs – 2
Pure vanilla extract – 4 g
Semisweet chocolate chips – 140 g
1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
2. Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and black pepper; set aside.
3. In a small heatproof bowl set over a small saucepan of simmering water, melt the coarsely chopped chocolate with the butter. Let cool slightly.
4. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the melted chocolate mixture with the sugar, eggs and vanilla; mix on medium speed until combined.
5. Reduce speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture; fold in the chocolate chips.
6. Line a 17-by-12-inch cookie sheet with parchment paper. Using a 1 1/2-inch ice-cream scoop, drop scoops of the cookie dough onto the parchment paper, spacing two inches apart.
7. Bake the cookies for about 15 minutes, until they look flat and the surfaces crack (cookies should still be soft in texture). Let the cookies cool on the parchment on wire cooling racks.
Yield: Approximately three dozen.
Recipe created by Chaim Potter, of Napa, Calif.
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