Labor Day is a day of celebration dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It’s a day to pay tribute to the contributions workers have made to strengthen the economic well-being of our country. And this labor day, we’re able to celebrate a new milestone for Carol and all of Carol’s Cookies employees.
The morning after Labor Day we’ll be cracking eggs bright and early in a new, bigger bakery. We feel this grand opening day adequately represents the hard work of our company. From starting modestly 35 years ago in her own kitchen, Carol went from selling cookies at local shops like Michael’s Hot Dogs and Sunset Foods to being distributed in over 30 states. Now, Carol’s Cookies has a staff of 25 (and growing!), and in 2013 produced nearly 3 million cookies, a number we hope to surpass this year.
So this holiday weekend, we’re going to enjoy our day off and reflect on how far we’ve come as a company and as individuals. It’s bittersweet to move from a location with so many fond memories, but we’re excited to increase our trade and continue to evolve, while (thankfully) our cookies remain the same.
Happy Labor Day to all of you- we hope you’re able to relax and celebrate your own hard work and accomplishments.
Just because the days are getting shorter and the kids are counting down how long until they head back to school doesn’t mean your summer fun is over. In fact, you can make the last weeks of summer sweeter than ever with these dessert ideas from Carol’s Cookies.
Carol’s Cookies Ice Cream Sandwich (1 serving)
For our Ice Cream Sandwich, we took two of our fresh Chocolate Chip cookies and our favorite Homer’s Vanilla Bean ice cream. Let your ice cream sit out for 3-5 minutes so it’s more pliable. Take a scoop of ice cream and place it on the flat side of the cookie and gently spread ice cream to cover the cookie’s surface. Top with your second cookie (flat side down!) and press slightly to allow the ice cream to disperse more evenly. Enjoy as is, or wrap the sandwich in plastic wrap and place in the freezer to enjoy at a later time.
Chocolate Sugar Cookie Milkshake (2-3 servings)
First combine your ice cream and milk in a blender and blend until smooth. We used Homer’s chocolate ice cream and 2% milk. Break your sugar cookie roughly into thirds and add to the blender. Blend again until cookie is broken up until your desired consistency.
Carol’s Cookies S’more (1 massive serving: perfect for sharing)
Roast marshmallows slowly over an open flame. Kids make sure you have parental supervision or approval first. You can use a campfire or fire pit, or in a pinch, a gas stove or sterno. We think Carol’s Toffee Crunch is divine in this recipe. With the flat side of the cookie up, place your piece of chocolate on it. Once your marshmallow is toasted to your liking, place it atop the chocolate and top with the other cookie. Open wide, and enjoy!
Note: if you’re physically unable to put entire sandwich in your mouth (we don’t blame you) feel free to take the top off.
Snickerdoodle & Strawberry Trifle (2 servings)
In a large bowl beat the milk, sour cream, and vanilla extract on a low speed until thickened and combined. Fold in the whipped heavy cream. Place ¼ of the cookie chunks in the bottom of each glass. Top with ¼ of the sliced strawberries in each class. Follow with a large dollop of whipped topping. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Garnish with a sprinkle of cinnamon.
Hope you enjoy our summer recipes. We’d love to hear yours. Comment below with some of your favorite Carol’s Cookies desserts.
Well, it’s that time of year again. The birds are singing, the butterflies are fluttering and your kids are out of school. You may be thinking, ‘Now what do we do? How do I keep my child’s attention with summer fun activities?’
Have no fear, Carol’s Cookies has you covered! Below are some of Carol’s favorite things to do with her grandchildren and her children. Remember you are never too old for a fun summer activity. Can you guess which summer activity is Carol’s absolute favorite??
Think back to the last time you purchased a car. Was it a good experience? For us, some car dealership experiences have been sweeter than others.
Meet Kathy Miller, an associate at the McGrath Family of Dealerships that includes 6 car dealerships throughout the state of Iowa, McGrath Powersports and McGrath Hawkeye Harley Davidson.
From left: Gavin McGrath, Lindsay McGrath, Pat McGrath, Jaymie McGrath and Murphy McGrath.
While McGrath had always had an in-house gift program for their customers, their needs started to change as they acquired more dealerships. McGrath needed a customer-gifting partner who had the staff and the expertise to expand with their growing business. It turned out that Carol’s Cookies were the perfect fit. “Our Vice President of Sales, Orrin Smith, came to me with information about Carol’s Cookies,” said Kathy. “We have since built a partnership with Carol’s Cookies absolutely fantastic team.”
Kathy has seen first-hand that McGrath customers, love Carol’s Cookies and will frequently hear people say “they are soooo big!” Customers now associate these special gourmet cookies with McGrath, leaving a lasting impression.
McGrath has always strived to set itself apart from the competition by giving customers an impactful customer experience they will remember and talk about. When asked how working with Carol’s Cookies has helped McGrath’s business, Kathy said “it helps keep our name in front of customers. When someone receives a gift at work, everyone wants to know what’s in the box, thus creating a work place buzz.” Kathy and her co-workers commonly hear customers say, “I bought a car at a different dealership and I didn’t receive a gift.”
Here at Carol’s, we’ve worked with several types of business to put together unique gifts that customers love. Here are a few examples and ideas.
Custom branded cargo container with individual cookies.
Individually wrapped cookies for customer waiting rooms or business lobbies.
Custom branded lunch container filled with mini cookies.
In our experience, the art and science of building customer loyalty and retention is made a little easier with something sweet. We couldn’t leave our interview with Kathy without asking what HER favorite Carol’s Cookie is. Kathy voted the Brownie Cookie as her #1 choice with the Milk Chocolate Chunk coming in as a close second.
To discuss how Carol’s Cookies can help you drive customer loyalty and retention via gifting, contact us today!
I’m the proud grandma of two beautiful granddaughters. Over the past year or so, there’s one song they all absolutely love: Carly Rae Jepsen’s, “Call Me Maybe.” Just as I thought I had enough of the song that gets perpetually stuck in my head, they proudly introduced me to Cookie Monster’s version of the song: “Share it Maybe.”
I love this version because it revolves around cookies and makes me laugh! If you love our cookies, you can relate to this video! Enjoy!
Lenore Sikora is an employee of third party logistics provider CH Robinson in Chicago. Little known fact about Lenore: she has been ordering Carol's Cookies for her company’s clients for almost two decades. "The first time someone requested that I order Carol's Cookies, I thought it was a joke. Here we are 19 years later and it is the most requested item we give," says Lenore.
Companies like CH Robinson know that a sweet thank you gift goes a long way. "It's a great opportunity to reach out to our customers to let them know we appreciate the business relationship we have with them. And what better way than with the best cookies?!," says Lenore. Recipients of CH Robinson's annual gift have called our cookies "crazy-delicious, giant cookies." Clients have also told Lenore that Carol bakes, "THE most amazing cookies I've ever tasted."
While we’d be silly to take credit for CH Robinson’s success, we can tell you that their customers are definitely “wowed” each year when they receive their gift – keeping both them (and us!) busy for the past twenty years. Our VP has been known to say that for most of our corporate clients, “Carol’s handmade cookies are literally the gift that keeps on giving!”
The Carol’s Cookies team works with corporate clients to create custom gifts that display their logo and messaging like the one above. We have also created custom coffee mugs, golf balls and other containers to suit the needs of our corporate clients. If you’re looking to start a sweet holiday tradition, give us a call and we can discuss your company’s custom gift needs!
I’ve been making my handmade cookies for over 30 years now, but it wasn’t until a few years ago that I realized that not everyone could actually enjoy them. When my son was diagnosed with Chrohn’s disease a few years ago, we started looking into making the perfect gluten-free cookie.
At the time, I had no idea there were so many people with gluten intolerances. While Chrohn’s disease affects between 400,000-600,000 people in North America alone, the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness estimates that 1 in 133 Americans has celiac disease. Of those suffering from gluten intolerances, most will go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed for years.
The more I learned about those living a gluten-free lifestyle, the more interested I became in making sure they could still have an amazing gluten-free cookie. Our gluten free cookies are made by hand in a separate gluten free facility. If you’re looking for the best gluten-free cookie on Earth, check out Carol’s gluten-free Cookies at the following stores:
Note: This list was created in August 2013. If you'd like to check to see if more stores have been added, please visit our contact page.
For years, people have been asking me how to perfect their homemade cookie recipes. I’ve even seen online forums dedicated to “cracking the code” on how our cookie recipe differs from the others. If you’re one of the curious ones, it’s pretty simple: Carol's Cookies were born and perfected in the kitchen. Even so, there are little tricks that helped my family recipe go from average cookie to the best handmade cookies out there (yes, we're a little biased).
1) To avoid burning the bottom of the cookies, put a cookie sheet on top of the baking sheet with the waxed side facing up. Otherwise, the metal baking sheet gets too hot and can turn a really good homemade cookie into a crispy mess.
2) Use the finest ingredients: pure butter, crack your own eggs and kosher salt. If you're making chocolate chip cookies, make sure you use a premium chocolate with a decent cocoa butter content. This may seem like a basic concept, but using gourmet ingredients will make sure that your cookie recipe is on the right track to wow your taste-testers.
3) A convection oven is the best way to go to ensure your cookies are baked evenly. Be sure to place the tray of cookies on the middle rack. The top rack will burn the tops too quickly, and the bottom rack may cause you to bake the cookies much longer so they are not raw, ultimately drying them out.
4) Understand the art and science of proper mixing. Your fats (butter), sugars and eggs should be mixed together. We like to add the vanilla at the first mixing stage, but make sure it's a pure vanilla and none of that imitation stuff! This will help incorporate the sugars and fats, which is necessary for the, "omg-this-is-the-most-amazing-cookie-ever" recipe.
5) Watch your oven constantly! This is very important! You could have the best cookie recipe on the planet, but if your cookies are baked too much, bye-bye moistness and those glaring compliments you deserve! Always set the timer for 3 minutes less than what the recipe calls for. Once you start seeing some golden brown tones on the tops of the cookies, your cookies are nearly ready. Don't wait until they are fully brown, or you may be giving them away as paperweights.
Enjoy the process of perfecting your homemade cookie recipe. Like anything in life, practice makes perfect! And in this case, you’ll get to taste test a lot of cookies in the process – yum! Happy Baking!
Imagine being able to travel the world while indulging in delicious, hand-crafted chocolate. If it’s hard for you to imagine, fear no more! Our next Chicago Food Entrepreneur, Katrina Markoff, has made that dream possible through her world-renowned chocolate operation, Vosges Haut Chocolat.
Katrina’s business was inspired by her travels around the world. Soon after graduating from college, she journeyed to Paris to study at Le Cordon Bleu. From there, Katrina visited countries from Spain to Southeast Asia. Located in Logan Square, Vosges provided people in Chicago a way to experience the world through chocolate. Today Vosges brings joy to people all over the world through its retail locations in New York City and Las Vegas.
We had the pleasure of gaining a little more insight into the world of Vosges while speaking with Katrina. She described her chocolate as “experiential” and told us that her favorite food was chocolate!
We also wanted to know more about what Katrina thought of Carol’s Cookies. Katrina had her first Carol’s Cookie at Neiman Marcus, which is probably why she associates our cookies with Christmas shopping in Chicago. She also thinks that what sets Carol’s Cookies apart is the fact that “Carol is an incredibly sweet person!” We asked if she was given the chance to create her own sweet, perfect cookie, what flavor it would be. Katrina confessed that Carol’s already had the perfect cookie: our sugar cookie.
Thanks to Katrina for chatting with us! We are proud to associate with a fellow Chicago food entrepreneur who is passionate about using food to change the world.
In Chicago, we are known for our sports (Congrats Blackhawks!) and our food. And luckily, our next Chicago Food Entrepreneur has had an effect on both. We’re happy to introduce you to Jon Sider, the co-founder of Greater Than sports drinks!
Image via Medill Northwestern
Jon and his brother, Mark Sider, felt the need to create the optimal drink for those who live an active lifestyle. The great thing about Greater Than (no pun intended) is that it’s unlike any other sports drink you’ve heard of: no artificial color or dye, no high fructose corn syrup, and all natural ingredients. Head quartered in the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago, Greater Than now offers their delicious coconut water in five flavors and continues to fuel athletes in Chicago and around the country.
Image via: Lacrosse America
Coconut Water that tastes great. We've taken the natural goodness of Coconut Water and enhanced it for premium hydration and taste.
We are young, hungry and determined to be great. It just so happens that our sport in business turned out to be hydration. Living an active lifestyle ourselves, we believed there was a need for a more natural source of hydration. After learning about Coconut Water, we thought that was the perfect place to start.
Image via: Kumbuya
My favorite indulgence is Carol's Cookies. Plus there is nothing like a Carol's Cookies to earn a few points with the lady.
I had my first Carol's Cookies at Sunset Valley Golf Club. It was much greater than a first kiss.
I associate Carol's Cookies with delicious happiness. They're always delicious and they always make you happy. Yum!
Carol’s is rooted in our hometown of Highland Park. It's an entrepreneurial story that can inspire others.
How about some Chocolate Chip, Peanut Butter, topped off with Cinnamon & Sugar! That would be a Greater Than Moment!
Thanks again to Jon for chatting with us about Greater Than (and his love of Carol’s Cookies)! All natural ingredients made us successful and we have no doubt that the same will be true for Greater Than!
Our Chicago foodie blog series continues! In our last post you met Corey Kaplan of NYC Bagel Deli – a man who has wooed Chicago with his east coast-inspired bagels & cream cheese. Today’s post shares how one woman put a twist on the Midwest’s favorite snack: meet SkinnyPop Popcorn!
With the tagline, “No artificial anything,” consumers can indulge in a guilt-free snack without sacrificing flavor or enjoyment. We asked Pam Netzky, President and Co-Founder of SkinnyPop Popcorn,a few questions to get an insider's look into her booming business.
Pam was recruited by Andrew Friedman to help launch Wells Street Popcorn in 2007. Andrew and his investors were originally inspired by the success of Garrett Popcorn. Shortly after, they discovered their original business plan – a retail store model – would need to change. Pam and Andrew began experimenting with a healthier popcorn product.
Pam tells us, "I fell into the food business due to my entrepreneurial spirit” and her efforts have paid off. Pam has been featured in various media publications including the Chicago Tribune and recently made Crain's 40 Under 40 where she says, "you have to be open to change, to spot opportunities and take chances."
And, like many of our Chicago foodie friends, Pam has a special place in her heart for Carol’s Cookies.
When did you have your first Carol’s Cookie? Years ago at Neiman Marcus.
What is your favorite thing about Carol or her cookies? I love how unique the cookies are. Not much like it in the market…Aside from them being beyond delicious.
If you were to create the perfect flavor for a Carol's Cookie, what would it be? No need. It already exists: Classic Chocolate Chip.
A special thank you to Pam for taking the time to speak to us about her business. Now it’s time for all of us to go pick up both a sweet and a savory Chicago-style treat!
I was at dinner with some friends last week and the topic of Father’s Day gifts came up. Yep, somehow it’s June already and many of us are saying, “oh shoot! I need to get something for Dad!” But how many shirts, ties and grill tools can you really buy one person in their lifetime?
From there we got into a pretty funny conversation about the plethora of generic Father’s Day gift options out there (along with all the horrible ones we’ve given over the years). So in the end, we decided Carol’s Cookies really are the best Father’s Day gift and here’s why.
1. This was his gift last year. While we appreciate the Seinfeld reference, you can do better than that!
2. You’ll never have time to bake this cake...and thank god because it doesn’t look edible.
3. Your Dad will probably never look like this, so let him indulge a little.
4. You’re too old for fart jokes…
5. Or hand-making him a gift, for that matter.
6. He shaved his mustache in the 80’s and doesn’t get the ‘stache jokes
7. He already has three sets of grill tools (and never uses them).
8. Bacon is great, but really shouldn't be used for anything else other than eating.
9. You haven’t had time to save up for the hottest new transportation around.
10. Chances are he’ll take the ear/nose hair trimmer gift personally (even though we all know he needs one).
In honor of Father’s Day and graduation season this year, we’re offering 15% off online orders until June 15th when you use coupon code Dads&Grads2013! Make this the Father’s Day that your Dad actually remembers!
Chicago is a city that’s passionate about food and hard work. Many of you know our great city for “Chicago Style” hot dogs, pizza and Italian beef. On the sweeter side of life, there are iconic companies like Garret’s Popcorn, Eli’s Cheesecake (and Carol’s Cookies!) that have left quite an impression. On the restaurant front, we’re grateful for Lettuce Entertain You. And for the best quick lunch you’ve ever had, there’s NYC Bagel Deli. And these are just a few…
Out of respect and appreciation for our fellow foodies, we wanted to introduce you to “the brains behind the tastes.” We hope you enjoy getting to know some of the people behind your favorite local eats!
Our first interview is with Corey Kaplan, founder of NYC Bagel Deli. Who doesn’t love NYC Bagel Deli’s ridiculously amazing homemade cream cheese, fresh bagels and Boar’s Head deli meat & cheese?! Oh yeah, and if you’re really a true Chicagoan, you’ll grab a Carol’s Cookies to top it off!
We have three main locations: River North, Lincoln Park and South Loop. We also make NY Style thin crust pizza at the Citigroup Center food court in Ogilvie Station and sell our pizza “slices” at the River North location.
My business is New York Style in Chicago… WHOAAA! So, we walk a fine line. We have the BEST New York Style kettle boiled bagels, homemade cream cheese and Boar’s Head brand meats and cheese.
I got into the food business 30 years ago in New Jersey. All Jewish boys worked at a bagel shop!
An everything bagel with chive cream cheese, lox, tomato, capers and red onion.
My daughter Nikki bought me a chocolate chip cookie years ago and ever since then we have been selling 20 dozen per week!!!
Carol’s Cookies are true comfort food to me. A cookie in the microwave with chocolate chip ice cream on it, WOWWWWW!!!
The fact that Carol is answering the phones and still “in the daily mix” – I LOVE IT!!!
YOU ALREADY HAVE!!!!!
Thanks for taking the time to hang out with us Corey! After writing this post, it’s safe to say we’ll see you around lunch time!
Combine a warm Carol's Cookie with a scoop of your favorite ice cream to recreate our signature Cookie-in-a-Bowl dessert. If you are daring, add some whipped cream to the dessert ideas listed below for a bit more fun. Here are some suggestions of our personal favorites:
Crush up a variety of Carol’s Cookies, your choice, and roll them using a little butter to form a pie crust. Line the bottom of a pie pan with this crust. Swirl vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt and chocolate sauce together, fill the pie pan with the Carol’s Cookies pie crust and fill it with the ice cream or frozen yogurt. Freeze it and serve when you want to be the life of the party.