Tag Archives: cookie

The Birth of The Original Cookie + Granola Bark™ (aka Crunch!)

I was born lactose intolerant, as most Asians are. So, eating a bowl of cereal with milk for breakfast, as the majority of my friends and family did, was out of the question. In a household where sweetened cereals were banned and shredded wheat ruled, I was out of luck unless I wanted to pretend I was a horse chewing away on a bale of dry hay. Not!

And then came the day when my neighbor introduced me to Cookie Crisp. It was cereal. It was sweetened. It looked a bit like nickel sized Chips Ahoy cookies. Eureka! We sat on the porch and ate these delicious little nuggets off a shared paper plate.

Jump ahead 30+ years. Yeah, 30+.

I still can’t stomach a bowl of cereal with milk. Even with the delicious dairy alternatives we have today, I prefer my cereal dry — a snack to pop into my mouth by the handfuls on the go…or while I watch a movie.

One evening, one of my best girlfriends shared, “I may have eaten a bowl of kettle corn with milk for dinner last night.”

Not too many weeks later, I messaged her, “I may be in bed watching tv eating a bowl of animal crackers.” Her reply? “I hope you’re eating it with milk and a spoon like you’d eat a bowl of cereal.”

Obviously, I have the BEST friends ever!

Many months of recipe development followed. Scraps of paper with notes scattered everywhere. Innumerable tweaks until I was happy with a master recipe. And then innumerable flavor combinations. Flavors were finally narrowed down to four everyday, two autumnal and two winter/holiday. Shelf life was tested (delicious for a minimum of 9 months, baby!). We sold our addictive treat to our local retail partners in bulk for repackaging and using to enhance their in-house edible offerings.

And finally, years later, retail labels have been designed, resealable packaging chosen (because don’t you just hate not being able to reseal a package?!) and my company’s first official retail production run was a success!

And that, my friends, is how the original Cookie + Granola Bark™ (aka Crunch!) product line came to be!

The flavor of cookies! The wholesome 100% whole grain goodness of granola! Snackable chunks of addictive deliciousness!

Available for sale online HERE!

Wholesale inquiries please submit your application HERE and our Sales Manager, Stan Smulewitz, will contact you.

Look to the Cookie

Look to the Cookie

For the answers to life’s big questions and indeed, the key to humanity, we have only to “look to the cookie”.

That’s what Seinfeld says, anyway.

President Obama calls them Unity Cookies.

See? Already, there’s harmony surrounding the thing.

Me? I’m in firm agreement with both of them. I respect our nation’s leader in all things, not the least of which is his culinary inclinations. And Jerry, we’ll, he married a baker after all. Besides, the black and white cookie is the yin and yang of deliciousness. Have commitment issues? Having trouble deciding between vanilla and chocolate? You don’t have to! That’s the beauty of the thing. Even the cookie itself can’t quite get on the cake or the cookie train and ride the rails unabashedly. It’s gonna be both. And I like that.

Coming to the East Coast from the midwest, back in the 80s, I’d never tasted this particular brand of confectionary neutrality. It’s a New York staple; a child of the deli and the local mom & pap baked good establishment. But trust me, my friend, once you go white and black, you never go back. Sorry. I had to.

So where and how did this delicacy originate? Often confused with the Half Moon cookie, which is traditionally a devils food and more recently a vanilla cookie base, with a buttercream frosting. They’re richer than the black and white and they hail from Central New York, whereas the black and white is a New York City thing.

It all started at Hemstrought’s Bakery in Utica, New York, where the Half Moon cookie was born in the early part of the last century. Either a chocolate or vanilla cake base was topped with either a dark fudge or sugary white frosting, often both, it was later re-appropriated by Long Island, New York City as a vanilla cake based, vanilla and fudge frosted favorite whose topping is now more typically made of fondant.

Now they’re so widely available, you can get them in most supermarkets. Like its black and white brother, the Oreo, everybody has a favorite way to eat one. I like to break them apart, letting the fondant fall off in pieces, eating that first, then going in for the cookie kill last.

Want to try your hand at a homemade version? Here’s a recipe for the traditional New York City Black and White Cookie. It only takes 40 minutes to make. Recipe courtesy of Food.com.


1 1⁄4 cups all-purpose flour
1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄3 cup buttermilk
1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla
1⁄3 cup unsalted butter, softened
1⁄2 cup sugar
1 large egg

Black or White icing:

1 1⁄2 cups icing sugar or 1 1⁄2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon clear corn syrup
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1⁄4 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon water (approx)
1⁄4 cup cocoa powder

to make: 

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Sift together flour, baking soda and salt in medium bowl.
In small bowl or cup, mix together buttermilk and vanilla.
Beat butter and white sugar together in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer for about 3 minutes or until it’s evenly distributed.
Add egg to butter and sugar mixture, and beat until blended.
Gradually beat in flour mixture one cup at a time, and add in buttermilk mixture between each cup of flour, and mix until smooth. It will be necessary to scrape down the sides of the bowl while mixing.
Spoon batter in 1/4 cup size servings onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Bake on middle rack for about 15-17 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown and spring back when touched.
Place on a cooling rack, and allow to cool completely before icing.
Stir together icing sugar, corn syrup, lemon juice, vanilla, and 1/2 Tbsp of water in bowl until smooth.
Place half of mixture into separate bowl and add cocoa powder, and remaining water bit by bit until it is the same consistency as the white icing. If the icing is too runny, add more icing sugar until it is smooth and spreadable.
Turn cooled cookies flat side up, and spread icing with pastry spatula, or butter knife. White over one half, chocolate over the other. The icing does not set solid on these cookies, and does not harden, but it dries enough to be wrapped as they are sold in the city. They can be wrapped individually in cellophane, or sealed in a plastic container.

So look to the cookie! And don’t look back.

Photo by Yelp.com / CC BY

Featured photo by veganbaking.net / CC BY

The thing about french fries…

I love french fries. I mean I really LOVE french fries. Belgian frites. Yuca fries. Sweet potato shoestrings. Seasoned. Waffle cut. Smothered in chili. Oozing with cheese. Tossed in truffle oil. They are all mouthwateringly good. But…there’s always a “but,” isn’t there? No matter the vegetable, seasoning, topper or dipping sauce, a soggy fry diminishes the experience for me. I want a crispy, golden fried treat that can not only deliver that delicious bit of starchy flavor, but also the perfect toothsome crunch. And folks, this texture is only found during a short window after those precious nuggets have taken a deep dive into a hot oil bath.

However, when it comes to some baked goods, time is our tastebuds’ ally.

Let’s take the classic chocolate chip cookie. Most of us have had one at some point in our life. And who of us hasn’t fantasized about that ooey gooey meltiness hot out of the oven? I know I have…and still do on occasion. However, take a moment and reflect on the difference between that straight-from-the-oven cookie and the one eaten an hour later or even a day later. Flavor profiles change. Textures change. And thus, our experience changes. Direct from the oven, our tongues are coated with luscious melted chocolate and the soft cookie wilts in our hands. But, wait a day and that same cookie becomes something crispy, chewy and complex. The buttery, brown sugar based dough is so much more than simply a vehicle to deliver chocolate into our salivating mouths. We are able to appreciate the rich caramel-like flavor which compliments the chocolate and nuts carefully baked within. Now THAT is a cookie — when texture and taste work together to reach their full potential.

So in this instance, “good things come to those who wait.”