They are crisp on the outside and gooey on the inside
In life, we always for search that “just right” state of things. It’s always about the perfect balance. Think of the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. The tale plays with the same philosophy of “not too this, not too that.” It even applies to our place in the cosmos where it is not too hot, and not too cold.
While we may cheat on that philosophy once in a while, we can at least achieve it in our favorite treat, which are cookies. Spearheaded by Alexis Hess and Martin Jordana, Las Piñas-based food brand Cookie Dude specializes in bringing oven-fresh half-baked cookies.
“We started informally in August of 2019, when we collaborated with our first ever partner, Buku-Buku Kafe (SM Southmall, Las Pinas.) We started supplying their shop with our cookies (and still currently do),” says Alexis, president and CEO of the brand. “At the time, we were both still at our previous jobs, Martin being in marketing, and me being in the food and beverage industry. We both left our jobs in September that year and decided to officially launch our business online in the beginning of October.”
In a conversation with Manila Bulletin Lifestyle, Alexis shares why they chose to hit the brakes on their business during the peak of the pandemic and why we could never go wrong with serving cookies, particularly the chocolate chip variety.
For those who don’t know, what is a half-baked cookie?
Cookie Dude’s Half-Baked Cookies are your favorite classic chocolate chip cookie on a whole other level. Not quite soft-baked or crispy, but a hybrid of the two; they are baked at just the right time and temperature to achieve a toasty, crispy exterior while the inside stays perfectly velvety soft and ooey-gooey. A medium rare cookie, if you will.
Where do you source your ingredients?
We try to use only the highest quality ingredients for all our cookies, so we make sure to purchase only from reliable baking supply stores. We use pure chocolate chunks for all our cookies and not chocolate chips, because chunks have a gooey, melts-in-your-mouth quality that chocolate chips simply do not have. The most satisfying thing about eating a warm chocolate chip cookie is that chocolatey ooze, so we wanted to make sure to maximize that experience in our product.
Apart from the top three chocolate flavors, what are the other flavors to try? Are you also producing holiday-themed products?
So far, we only have our classic flavors (the Original, the White, the Dark Chocolate Cinnamon), but by the time you’re reading this, our holiday flavor might already be out! We have lots of plans to release some fun and unique flavors in the new year as well, so keep an eye out for that.
What makes Cookie Dude a stand out from other cookie brands out there?
When we were doing our research on the online cookie market, we noticed it was mostly soft-baked cookies, and while there is certainly nothing wrong with a good soft-baked chocolate chip cookie, we wanted to bring something a little more unique to the market. We wanted to keep the nostalgia of the classic chocolate chip cookie, but bring it to a whole new level. We don’t claim to have invented the half-baked cookie by any means, but we noticed it was something that definitely was lacking in the market, especially one in the lower to middle price range. We spent several months developing what we thought was the perfect half-baked chocolate chip cookie recipe, from scratch. With Cookie Dude, we wanted to introduce to the market a premium-quality half-baked cookie for a mid-range price. We wanted people to be able to treat themselves with the ultimate indulgence without having to break the bank.
How was it operating during the pandemic? What were the challenges and how did you cope with them?
We actually had to go on hiatus during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ). We stopped last March and relaunched in October. Other than the logistical issues (baking store supplies were closed, I was quarantined in Laguna, and our business was in Las Piñas), we were faced with the moral qualm of selling non-essential items during a time when the whole country was facing new challenges and hardships every day because of the pandemic. So ultimately we thought it would be for the best to halt production and not take away focus from the more pressing current events.
What do you think it is with cookies that people love so much?
I think the chocolate chip cookie is a classic, quintessential favorite because of its simplicity. When we think of our childhood food favorites, we don’t love them because they’re fancy and complex, we love them because they’re straightforward, simple, and comforting. That’s why it was important for us in our relaunch to perfect a collection of classic flavors; we wanted the perfect, warm, ooey-gooey chocolate chip cookie to be our flagship product and the foundation of our brand. At the end of the day, the nostalgia of a classic chocolate chip cookie is what will keep people coming back for more.