One Smart Cookie | Following a Trail of Crumbs to a Baking Empire
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Most kids learn the secret sooner rather than later: sometimes, the cookie dough is even more delicious than the cookies themselves. Longtime cookie obsessive Courtney Cowan was no exception. “Growing up as a kid, if I was not in school or doing gymnastics, I was probably making cookies—and I really loved the dough,” Cowan, a Los Angeles-based entrepreneur, recalls. “When I was about eleven, I was out of baking soda at the house and I thought ‘Oh, it’s only a teaspoon, so it can’t matter that much.’ I carried on, then realized that my cookies did not bake properly. My mom explained to me the idea of a leavening agent and I realized that there was a science to baking, which just absolutely fascinated me and blew my mind.”
Cowan started tinkering and tinkering some more. Before long, she’d developed a doughy cookie recipe that her friends and family couldn’t get enough of. “Cut to being in my twenties in Los Angeles working in television . . . I would bring [my cookies] into work and hear people asking, ‘What bakery are these cookies from?’” says Cowan. “It kind of sparked something in me that maybe there was something to this recipe that I just made for fun.”
The baker also noticed delectable possibilities in the marketplace. “Cookies are oftentimes overlooked,” says Cowan. “They’re just so pervasive in our culture that everybody makes them, and they aren’t typically seen as a gourmet product. Obviously, I think that is a real missed opportunity.” In 2005, she kick-started a cookie company—now known as Milk Jar Cookies—out of the coat closet in her one-bedroom apartment. Buyers could fax in their orders, and she’d get home and begin baking posthaste.
Read the rest of Courtney Cowan's story here!