Wild, weird baked goods don’t happen by accident, and neither does delightfully delicious marketing.
Weekly email archives and occasional extra words that don't have a home anywhere else on my site.
Some people have a sweet tooth.
Well, I have a mouth full of sugar fangs.
A good friend and I regularly swap photos of our evening “scoopie,” a lil’ after-dinner ice cream treat. We’ve both designated special vessels to enjoy said scoopies; mine is a dark-green mug with Kansas City written across it in cursive.
As I write this, my freezer contains two pints of Ben & Jerry’s — The Tonight Dough and Mint Chocolate Cookie — in various states of demolition, and a full box of Yassi Birthday Cake Greek yogurt bars.
But there’s a change in the air:
If summer is for chilly-sweet scoopies, fall is for oven-on, fill-the-house-with-good-smells baked goods.
Every day for the past couple of weeks, I’ve had to resist the urge to quit my job and invent a time machine that will yeet me straight into October and all its baked bounties. (Also, sweaters.)
During peak ‘Rona, I took an online baking class — as one did — led by Milk Bar Founder Christina Tosi.
Each weeklong module — cookies, pies, and cakes — started by teaching a classic Milk Bar recipe and the techniques and components behind them.
For example, the Cornflake Chocolate Chip Marshmallow Cookies* (🤤), called for:
After we made the signature recipe, we got to the really fun part: recipe development.
Cookies needed a base dough and mix-ins to add texture and interest — all based on a “flavor story” to ensure what we created would plunk the person enjoying said cookie right into the baker’s memory.
🍪 My chocolate-chai cookies with espresso crumble evoked my high-school years as a Starbucks barista.
🥧 A cheddar cheesecake with a pretzel crust and cocktail-cherry topping was inspired by family vacations to Door County, Wisconsin.
🎂 My peanut-butter cup layer cake was born out of…my love of peanut-butter cups.
And I couldn’t have done it if I hadn’t internalized the basics and built up the confidence to use them as a springboard.
Wild, weird baked goods that work even though they shouldn’t don’t happen by accident, and neither does delightfully delicious marketing.
Getting the basics down, including creating a core brand message that frames out who your dream customer is and how you can help solve their problems, is what allows you to start playing.
* I only have the base recipe for her cookies, sorry! But if you want to spend the better part of a day attempting these puppies, you can probably find a dupe recipe online 🍪
F-S: Reserved for rest