I know! I know! It’s not nice to tease, but all of us here at Alecia Bakery NYC are just so excited about acquiring our new Manhattan space that we want to give everyone a sneak preview of our shop’s expanded services.
“That’s right. I’m the social do-gooder yer mama warned you about!”
A couple weeks ago, with my 41st birthday quickly approaching, I began considering how to mark the day I was born. Birthdays bring to mind memories of pool parties with neighborhood friends, the cacophony of Chuck E. Cheese’s, getting your driver’s license when you turned 16 (for those of us who grew up in Michigan), slamming shots on your 21st culminating in your swearing you’d never drink again (ummm…no mum, I didn’t do this), and the years following when celebrations became smaller and more intimate yet more meaningful.
I’m not much for being the center of attention and with such a high percentage of my social circle spread out across the country a traditional celebratory gathering wasn’t in the cards. I found myself reflecting on my 30th birthday. My husband had suddenly and unexpectedly passed away just weeks prior and my co-workers didn’t want me to be alone so they took me out to dinner after the shop closed that evening. While at dinner, calls and texts poured in from family and friends across the country. It had secretly been planned that everyone would participate in my birthday celebration remotely. It was a wonderful night and a birthday I will always remember for the love sent over the airwaves. So in that same vein, while speaking with my dear friend, Jerome, I came up with “The Peanut Butter Cookie Project” which would allow me to celebrate with friends and family no matter their location while helping an all-volunteer, non-profit, no-kill rescue organization that was near and dear to my heart — Curly Tail Pug Rescue.
WHO COULD PARTICIPATE? Anyone who was my personal Facebook friend. Yes, sometimes it’s beneficial to be friends with a baker who owns a company 🙂
WHAT WAS REQUIRED?
* Donate a minimum of $20 to Curly Tail Pug Rescue. (Many of my friends donated more because, well, they’re awesome!)
* When participants received their cookie, they took a digital picture of themselves, their family, etc., enjoying their treat in honor of my birthday and posted it on my Facebook page with the hashtag #ThePeanutButterCookieProject.
ABOUT THE COOKIE: The Alecia Bakery NYC Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookie weighs in at a WHOPPING 7 oz. MINIMUM! This is the total weight of an ENTIRE box of Girl Scout Do-Si-Dos, which is the inspiration for this treat! This monster of a cookie consists of two nearly 5″ Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies sandwiched together with deliciously creamy Peanut Butter Buttercream. Of course, we couldn’t let it go there. We had to add something extra to gild the lily — a swirl of house made caramel! Salted Caramel adds a touch of sweetness while Habanero Caramel adds heat and sweet! And since these mammoth treats are too big for any of our pre-made bags, we hand cut cellophane and hand wrap each one.
Five steps to peanut butter sandwich cookie heaven…
$710 donated to Curly Tail Pug Rescue! That’s right! $710 smack-a-roos, baby!
HAPPY 41ST BIRTHDAY TO ME!
* Would you like to raise money for an organization? Contact us for #ThePeanutButterCookieProject program details!
It’s always nice to receive unsolicited positive feedback from customers. And thankfully, we have a loyal and steadily growing fan base who truly appreciates the love and time we put into our products. While every note of encouragement, thanks and praise, is not only appreciated, but helps to fuel our passion, occasionally we receive a note that move us to tears.
[My wife’s] father called her AGAIN about the cookies. He was almost in tears. I’ll tell you why…
As I’d mentioned to you, [my wife’s] mom used to make the same type of cookie for Xmas using walnuts. They were VERY similar in taste and texture — so light they melted in your mouth. I’d await my holiday deliveries from her every year, and she’d always make an extra batch for me. I’d never before or since found that type of cookie made as well until I tasted yours. They’re so identical it’s uncanny. Anyway, her father said the same thing to [my wife]. He said it feels as if he has her mother’s Xmas cookies again. He’d been trying out different bakeries, but nothing cut it. You did a mitzvah!!”
And that, friends, sums up what we hope you all feel when you take a bite of our treats. We aspire to remind you of happy, possibly simpler, times when a bowl of cookie dough could create fun, laughter and the most wonderful memories.
The following unsolicited comment about me and my company have my heart bursting at the seams with joy and pride this morning. THIS is what I hope everyone sees through the butter and sugar:
“Anyone who likes sweets who isn’t trying my friend Lin’s prodigious menu is missing out on something special. Besides baking delicious, artisan cakes, cookies and other delicious stuff, she’s one of the most diligent, hardworking and downright decent people I’ve ever met. She puts a huge amount of care into every aspect of her product AND puts her money where her mouth is with regard to donating a portion of her earnings to pug rescue. Talented, independent artists and small business owners should be lauded and supported in this day and age, and Lin is one of them. I’m proud to count her among my small circle of friends.”
Much love to all of our family, friends and fans, who make our (sometimes round-the-clock) baking marathons worth so much more than words can express. YOU put the smiles on our faces! THANK YOU!
Two weeks have passed since my last blog entry. Not from lack of material, but rather I have been struggling to focus my ideas. One thought gives way to a host of other avenues and an hour later I am in a place with no real explanation as to how I arrived there. The holidays have me in a serious tizzy. Even now I have a million things I could and want to write, but they are all getting tangled in the proverbial tinsel.
I read an article called “The Gimme Guide” by Penelope Green this morning in The New York Times. It caused me to reflect on my past years of gift giving (and receiving) and realize how I have come full circle.
I was taught from a very early age that it is “the thought that counts” when giving any manner of gift. Simply sneaking out of the house before my parents would wake just to leave letters for them to find later in the day in our mailbox thrilled me! But as I grew older, the focus somehow became increasingly about the gift itself and how impressive it would be to not only the recipient but to the recipient’s friends, family, etc. I felt the pressure to prove myself, to impress and win favor, with the gifts I gave. Suddenly the holidays became much more stressful than I ever remembered them being in the past. Shopping became a chore. Even wrapping the gifts became a project.
When I went off to college, I found myself collecting soda cans in lecture halls for the bottle deposit money to pay for things. Gone were the days of living at home where everything was provided gratis. Gift giving became a “bare bones” challenge. And I found myself falling back on what my parents taught me — its the thought that counts. Having barely enough money to pay the rent one year, let alone purchase gifts at Christmastime, I looked around the apartment for inspiration. Having found my “escape” in baking when I was very young, I always had the basics in my pantry for those stressful moments that called out for creaming, beating and blending. That year I made a few batches of fudge which I divided between the people on my holiday gift list. Much to my relief, no one seemed to miss the store bought gifts with fancy names as they raved about their tiny handmade treats. The following year (and not a nickel wealthier), I added a couple more varieties of fudge and also tried my hand at an assortment of old fashioned stained glass candy.
The years following my college graduation brought me more financial security and, once again, that feeling of “needing” store bought gifts worth “x” amount of dollars to fully express myself. However, I continued my college tradition of creating sweet treats for the recipients on my gift list, too. What began as five simple pounds of fudge divided into dozens of packages in college evolved into thousands of cookies, bars, crumbles, brownies and whoopie pies, that were lovingly packed into boxes, tins and shopping bags, for delivery to friends and family here and across the nation.
I didn’t see it then, but it makes me smile today to reflect on the years and realize that the recipients that really knew me appreciated my handmade sweets much more than any department store package because they knew that was a gift that truly came from the heart.
So, not that I want to spoil the surprise, but there will be no department store gifts this year. Everyone on my list will be receiving a little something sweet from the kitchen…wrapped in a whole lot of love.