Monday, November 22, 2010

My Baking Tips & Tricks

Around the Holidays, I feel like everyone at least attempts to put on a baker's hat and apron in hopes of baking an amazing Holiday treat. And hopefully I can add some help. Trust me I've definitely had my fair share of baking catastrophes and learned a few things over the years. The first time I ever attempted a cookie it turned out more like a muffin...horrible and now I try to avoid muffin cookies at all costs! Here's what I've found that helps.

1.) Soften your butter to room temperature before creaming it with your sugars. It's never really recommended to soften in the microwave so if you need to soften it quickly, you can cut it up or grate it and it'll soften much quicker. I always use butter for the flavor but sometimes when I want a really tender cookie, I add just a little shortening. Because shortening has no water, while butter does. Water can mix with the flour forming glutens that make a tougher cookie.

2.) I love love love chewy cookies! To make cookies chewier, try just using the yolk of an egg and not the whites, only using brown sugar and baking it a couple minutes less than the recommended baking time. Also, when you cream the butter and sugar, be careful not to cream it too much, incorporating a lot of air into the cookie. You can also use shortening, because it has a higher baking temperature, the cookie won't spread as much.

3.) Check the expiration date on your baking soda and powder. Yes they do expire. If they are expire, throw it away they won't be effective in baking anymore. And sift your flour.

4.) Pre-crack your eggs into a separate bowl, that way if you get shells in, it's a lot easier to pull out and if you get a bad egg it won't ruin your batter. Add eggs in one at a time and let it incorporate before adding the next egg.

5.) Pull your cookies out of the oven just when the edges are brown and the center still looks a little under baked. It'll continue cooking on the sheet. If your cookies look done in the oven, chances are they're over baked and will be dry and crispy.

6.) I like to chill the dough at least 1/2 hour before baking. It helps with the consistency of your dough and your cookies will spread less in the oven.

7.) Use shiny baking sheets, dark pans absorb more heat and can cause over browning.

8.) Make sure you're using a cool cookie sheet. If you're cookie sheet is warm, your cookies may spread too much.

9.) Any other questions? Feel free to ask. I'll help if I can! Happy Baking!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Can she do it?

It's been three weeks since the flurry of activity and whirlwind of emotions resulting from the success of the company re-launch on Kickstarter. Still overwhelmed by all the support I received, I'm starting to feel the pressure of success and the fear of failure settle in. This time there are so many more people invested, curious to see whether this time I'll do it or not. And that's hard.... but also encouraging that so many people do believe in me.

Re-launching The Cookie Chew should theoretically be a step by step process but I wasn't all together sure I was doing everything I should have been doing. I've begun the process to file for a LLC, contacted the state and county to ensure I have all the proper health and food permits, contracted with my old kitchen to bake in their facilities again, hired a baker and begun the process to obtain proper insurance. But is that everything? I wasn't I contacted the San Diego Food & Beverage Association to take them up on their offer of a free counseling session on "How to Open and Run a Successful F&B Business." and met with President/ Founder Steve. We spent about two hours talking and chatting and listening to his years of knowledge wrapped in two hours of advice and though I don't think I learned anything truly new, it was nice to find confirmation that I was taking all the necessary steps to get started again. So now that I'm almost all back certified and legit....the only thing to do just find sales. That'll be easy right?

Sunday, August 29, 2010

We did it!!

Thank you so much to all my backers and all the support I received for kickstarter! It's incredible how quickly momentum can take over and create a whirlwind of activity. In the last 48 hours of my project I managed to raise over $2k! ( a whole $1k over my original goal!) I can't believe we did it! With that I'm ready to get back to baking and changing the world of cookies as we know it! Thanks again to everyone! I love you all!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

VIP Backer Bag New Addition

Thanks to everyone who's been following my kickstarter project and have backed me! It's so amazing to see support from so many people! I've just perfected the new Cookies N' Cream truffie....white chocolate with chopped oreos and am excited for all my bakers to try them at The Cookie Chew re-launch party! Thanks again!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Over half way there....and other updates!

his is so cool! I'm getting so close and getting very very excited! Thank you to all my backers who have gotten me this far...but we still have the other half left. Please spread the word!! Tell your friends, your family, tell anyone you know who loves a good yummy cookie! I can't believe it's almost there! Thanks again for all your support. Many many cookies filled with lots of love are definitely headed your way! ;)

Other updates that are very exciting for me:

1.) I entered a contest in Daily Candy to celebrate their 10 year anniversary to find the next best big thing in fashion, food and fun! One winner from each category will win $10,000, a trip to NYC for a business intensive and a party thrown in The Cookie Chew's honor! OMG!! This quirky fun filled e-newsletter alone is what transformed Bacon Salt (a flavoring that turns anything to tasting like bacon...ingenious!) into a $1.8m company! Wish me luck!

2.) I also just agreed to sponsor an event for Project Ethos ( as a VIP Buyer Bag Sponsor for their red carpet event in San Diego at Fluxx nightclub at the end of this month. Project ETHOS is an incubator for emerging fashion, music and art and will feature 8 new emerging designer's Spring 2011 lines. They also have two Project Runway Alumni (Jesus Estrada and Gordana Gehlhausen) headlining the fashion runway segment of the event and a Special Headlining Music Performance by Sophia Fresh, singers of the hot new song "This Instant" feat. T-Pain which is featured in the new STEP UP 3D Movie. It looks so cool and I'm stoked for it to happen. If anyone is in SD next weekend, you should look into going!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Pina Colada Cookie attempt number...well who's really counting?

This has been a cookie in the works for years now and I'm finally close....I think....attempt number...well who really knows is only a couple changes away.

I used canned pineapple which added great pineapple flavor with a little of the juice included but made the cookies kind of cakey, like a muffin top. I also only used a out a half of cup of coconut which I think I will increase to make the cookies a little chewier. I added a little coconut extract which I liked and might add some rum to the next batch. But I'll also use all brown sugar and dried pineapple instead of the canned and using any white sugar at all. For the topping I made a pineapple glaze which made the cookie way to sweet...even for me! For the next batch, I think I'll try white chocolate instead. It was also my first time toasting coconut and lesson learned, take it out the oven a little before you think it's done because it'll continue browning on the baking sheet. Stay tuned for the next trial! So close!!!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Back to school...

It's so amazing to see how many people will support you if you're willing to take a risk and put it out there. I know I posted an update about my old UCSD professor asking me to come in and give a talk about Kickstarter and my project when it first launched... well 20 days later it finally happened and it was awesome! In preparation for my presentation, I did a little research on Kickstarter and found a very encouraging statistic that I hope holds true. I read that 90% of all projects that get funded up to 20% get fully funded and 100% of projects that reach 50% eventually make 100% too!!! I'm up to 37% with only 14 days left and I'm starting to feel the pressure but so excited to see the results!! Thanks to all my 17 backers so far! You guys have no idea how much this means to me and I truly truly appreciate it! Here are some pics on my speaking debut.....:)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

What is Kickstarter and why did I do it?

Many people have asked me this question since launching my project “The Re-Launch of The Cookie Chew” ( on Kickstarter, so I thought I’d take some time to answer it.

In my opinion, we all want to be part of something great, whether it’s donating to your favorite charity or helping an elderly woman cross the street, we all have inner heroes just waiting to be unleashed. For me, I’ve always wanted to leave my mark in this world and hope along the way impact and be a part of as many lives as I can. Which is why when I came across the Kickstarter site and learned about what they do, I immediately fell in love and decided to join the community.

Brief History & Concept

Frustrated at how hard it was to raise money to pay for two Austrian DJs to come to the U.S., Perry Chen, a day trader at the time, who had opened an art gallery and dabbled in the music industry came up with the notion of soliciting funds online. "There are all sorts of good ideas out there that never have a chance to succeed,” says Chen.

Basically, people with a cool idea or cool project, but not enough money, meet people -- local or global -- who can fund it, in small pieces, with the twist that the money they pledge will be collected from them only if the project reaches 100 percent of its funding goal.

In essence, Kickstarter allows people with creative projects to build pages on the site to describe the work they hope to do and the costs they face, and, crucially, to offer various rewards and benefits to potential backers in exchange for pledges of support. They share samples of their previous works, describe their new projects with audio or video clips, and provide links to more robust websites related to the project at hand. The hope is that their fundraising effort will go viral, providing them with capital and their backers with some nifty goodies and a sense of a communal job well done.

Kickstarter's chief technology officer has a name for it: "crowd-funding." "It leverages social media across the creative community. Kickstarter isn't precisely microfinancing, which"implies investment. We don't allow people to offer equity to their backers or promise a return." Kinda cool, don’t you think?

In it’s first year, kickstarter funded $600K and to date this year $1.5M in miscellaneous various projects. Its most famous campaign has been for New York-based Diaspora, an open-source alternative to Facebook; the four programmers behind the project needed $10,000 to buy time to work on it; people contributed nearly $190,000 -- a startling 1,892 percent -- days before its deadline. That’s insane!

From the words of Kickstarter:

We believe that...

• A good idea, communicated well, can spread fast and wide.
• A large group of people can be a tremendous source of money and encouragement.

Here's the Kickstarter DNA:


So basically, in hopes of funding my dream and my passion through the support and help of a community of creatives, my project was launched 24 days ago. I have 19 days left and still not quite halfway there. But I’m hopeful and staying positive that others will want to be a part of my something great! (

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

It's the simple things...

Having to make decisions, it’s all a part of life right? Sometimes it’s hard enough for me to choose between my closed toe pumps or peek toe flats. And to make it even harder, there's Gwyneth missing her sliding doors by a split second completely altering the course of her life! But at least we all go through it together. We all have decisions to make and unfortunately for me often the bad out number the good. I often find myself thinking how I got here. Not in this coffee shop typing this post so much or even here in San Diego, but to this point in my life, where every day is a new adventure and filled with numerous decisions that may or may not alter the course of my life. Talk about stress! Okay maybe a little over dramatic but do you ever wonder how your life would be different had you choose not to take that job or date that boy or even go that party or for me, quit your job to start a cookie company? Maybe that’s why I chose to stuff truffles inside of cookies. It just got too hard to decide between the two! If only everything in life were that simple...or maybe it really is.

Here’s a decision that isn’t a hard one to make. Do spicy and chocolate go together? Oh I think so! Cayenne dark chocolate truffle stuffed cookie. The newest addition to the truffie collection!

(The picture kinda sucks cause it's from my phone but you get the point)

AND since it was kickstarter that's inspired me to start baking, blogging and pursuing again, as a special thank you, every backer will also get this new flavor to try with your pledge! Thanks again!

Check out the project here