When making cookies, all baking problems are magnified. More than any other dessert, the tiniest variation has a large impact in the low-moisture world of cookies. It’s a point that was illustrated to me in my long ago series of chocolate chip cookie experiments.
I notice that many home bakers don’t accord the same attention to their cookies as they do to say, their cakes. The thinking is that cookies are simple little things, a scoop-and-slap affair. As a result, the cookies I see are misshapen, flavorless, and most of all, hard and crumbly. There aren’t many cookie features on DCF, evidently.
The best cookies I’ve eaten all year are from Cookie Day, run by Bea Melendres, Joyce Penson, and Fenina Serrano. A cookie baking business borne from a culinary school project, it evolved into a home-based venture with occasional jaunts into bazaars and food markets. Self-professed cookie monsters all, their aim is to “try different takes on ‘the cookie’,” says Bea. ”The flavors are inspired by flavors we like including those we find in our research and what’s trendy. Since we want to please every cookie lover, we have a wide range of choices from traditional to the not so traditional,” she adds.
The Vanilla-Chocolate Chip is a wonder – striations of Callebaut chocolate glisten from a cookie fragrant with notes of butter and vanilla. Look closely and see stray grains of coarse sea salt embedded throughout. This cookie would be murderous to have around when cookie cravings hit hard.
There’s a cookie in the States made popular by pastry chef Sarabeth Levine, Chocolate Chubbies. Almost unforgivably chocolaty, they are dark cookies awash in cocoa and dark chocolate. Cookie Day’s Dark Chocolate Chewy reminds me of these Chubbies, in darkness and the decadence they proffer. A crusty exterior practically collapses upon its lush inside. Eating this cookie is like munching on a bar of dark chocolate (and crunching on the occasional walnut). The Reese’s Chocolate Chewy (below) mimics all these sensations also save for the characteristic clot and goo of peanut butter (chips).
It’s obvious that all the cookies are made with quality ingredients, one of the lessons Bea picked up while working with Philippine cupcake pioneer, Sonja Ocampo of Cupcakes by Sonja (CBS). “At CBS, it’s always quality over quantity,” Bea explains. “Another is consistency – if there’s a bad batch [of cookies], we don’t sell it. Third is creativity, being able to provide customers with choices. And of course, [you] must always put your heart and soul in every aspect of the business.”
Although the group brainstorms together, their business benefits from clearly defined roles. Bea does the baking and R&D while Joyce and Pia are tasked with purchasing, marketing, and finance.
Three cookies are a treat but to have more puts me gleefully out of register. The CocoMango Loco is a tribute to the tropics. White chocolate and mango are one of those masterful combinations and here they commune in a confection with an irresistible chew and grit contributed by dried coconut. I quite think this cookie in one hand and a piña colada in the other would be smashing.
My favorite cookie of all is the Caramela and Chip (above and cover photo). A caveat: this is not for you if you don’t like caramel and/or have weak teeth. Excessively sticky rivulets of homemade caramel rake across the cookie’s contours careening into clumps of fudge. It may be that the two pecan halves are there as stopgaps to plug any wayward spills.
Cookie Day also offers organic cookies, an idea pitched by a client. Sweetened only with coconut sugar, these cookies are high in fiber, and low in in fat, and no, I’ve not tried them. But I’m keen to sample the Kesong Puti Brownies (!) that Bea tells me are “dark, chewy and fudgy with a filling of kesong puti pastillas.” It’s the trio’s take on the time-honored cream cheese and chocolate brownies.
When I first try Cookie Day’s cookies, I’m delighted with them all but find them overly sweet and occasionally over-salted. I’m told these issues have been remedied. With that aside, all these cookies are moist and chewy, enviable textures missing from others on the market. In addition, they’re made with quality ingredients and – this I believe is what makes all the difference – each cookie is also packaged and sealed in plastic, factors that make these cookies exceptional.
Cookies: Half a dozen, P 200; Dozen, P 400. See links below for full list of flavors.
0917 507 5124 / 0927 746 0504
On Facebook: cookiesmadewithlove
On Instagram: cookiedaymanila
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