Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Blueberry Jammers

This past January I went to Portland, Oregan for a wedding.  As is the case anytime I travel, I decided to visit a few bakeries.  One of the bakeries that I visited was actually a bakery that I had been following on Facebook.  

It’s called Grand Central Bakery and they have several locations in Portland.  One of my favorite items was the “Jammer.”  I’m not sure if this is an invention of Grand Central Bakery or something that is indigenous to the area, but when something is this delicious, I’m just glad it exists!  

What’s a “Jammer” you ask?  It’s a buttermilk biscuit with jam baked inside!  It’s really a simple concept, but sooo delicious. 

“Where can I get a Jammer in Houston” you ask?  Well, recently I had the pleasure of visiting a new bakery in Tomball called Jane and John Dough Bakery.  They have absolutely delicious pastries that are Influenced by time-tested traditions of the East Coast and the imagination and ingenuity of the Pacific Northwest.”  And they have Jammers!

As part of our Blueberry Festival, we are also offering Blueberry Jammers!  If you don’t happen to be near Portland or Tomball, give ours a try!  You won’t be disappointed!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

It's Blueberry Season!

Welcome to our first ever “Blueberry Festival!”  Like so many other special events at the bakery, this one was part planned and part happenstance.  

This event began last fall when we introduced the “Karma Apple Tart” which was a huge success.  Our Guests loved the flaky pastry crust with apple and dulce de leche filling.  Our Pastry Team was also excited to stretch their culinary endeavors beyond cookies!  

As a result of that success, I wanted to offer similarly styled tarts for the summer, but made with seasonal berries.  Like so many other projects, I put it on the back burner until early this year.  I was teaching one of my baking classes and a long time student (she has been in several of my classes as well as being a regular customer) revealed to me that her family has a blueberry farm (Moorhead's Blueberry Farm in Conroe) and they would be delighted if I could come up with a cookie that used their berries.  I could barely contain my excitement!  I told her I’d do more than make a cookie with their blueberries, I’d have a festival and offer a plethora of blueberry pastry delights!!

Typically blueberries are available from Memorial Day until the 4th of July.  However, our heavy rain delayed everything and blueberry picking did not start until the second week of June.  No worries!  When we’re working with Mother Nature, we hope that all our Guests know that they’re getting the very best, even if they have to wait a little longer.  

When we did get out to the farm, my Team and I picked nearly 60 lbs of berries.  The great thing about blueberries is that after you wash and dry them, they keep in the fridge for up to two weeks and in the freezer for several weeks.  This is very helpful to allow us to minimize the number of trips we need to take to the farm.  Did I mention that the Festival is four weeks long (06/09 - 07/03)?

The fun of this event is that we get to stretch our culinary wings again.  Because blueberries are very wet, it's a bit of a challenge to make a cookie with them, so we came up with a menu that makes the best use of this precious fruit.  Our first question was how to get blueberries into a cookie?  We decided to make jam out of the berries to maximize the flavor and then use it as a filling for our linzer cookies.  The result was a deliciously sweet and delicate cookie!  This cookie, as well as our Blueberry Banana Bread are offered throughout the festival.

Then, we are having weekly specials.  At the time of this writing, we will be offering Blueberry Tarts (fashioned after last year’s Karma Apple Tart) for the week of June 15th.  The following week we’ll have a gluten free blueberry cheesecake bar.  Not “into” gluten free?  No worries, if I didn’t tell you it was gluten free, you wouldn’t even know!  And finally, the last week we’ll have mini blueberry pies and throughout the festival, we’re taking pre-orders for 9” blueberries pies for the 4th of July weekend.  We’ll also have some other surprise pastries, so stay in touch via our Facebook page or sign up to receive weekly emails.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Michael's Cookie Jar Downtown Grand Opening

What makes a grand opening GRAND?   Well…the word "grand" is synonymous with Magnificent, and can be thought of as awe-inspiring, splendid and monumental.  

We at Michael’s Cookie Jar want to share the GRAND experience of our small business expanding, growing, and thriving with you, the community, our patrons, friends and fans. What is an exciting moment in time if you can’t share it? We are prepared to do just that on Friday, March 14th from 12-4 p.m. at Michael’s Cookie Jar downtown in the Pennzoil Tower.

Did you know there is a whole world that work and play under the streets of downtown Houston? Most people don’t know such a world exists and that you can get #cookiesunderground as well as a hearty lunch, shop for gifts and meet people from interesting and intriguing professions of all kinds.

Michael’s Cookie jar is proud to be a part of this underground world and to share their cookies with the best of the best when it comes to cookie lovers. Why don’t you set some time aside on Friday the 14th (or any day for that matter) and take a field trip to explore and visit us in the Pennzoil Tower.  

During our Grand Opening you will meet the “Cookie Master” himself, Michael Savino, our local vendors and partners from Araya Chocolate, Chocolate Pizzazz, Caphin and Mill-King. A Star of Hope representative will be on site and a percentage of our proceeds from our event will be given to this worthy cause as giving back is part of Michael’s “Grand” scheme.  If that is not enough, warm cookies out of the oven, door prizes and a fun filled atmosphere will have you in cookie heaven.

In closing, be in the know, experience #cookiesunderground and join us for our Grand, Magnificent and awe-inspiring event.  We’ll preheat the oven now!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Bronco Buster Rides into Houston!

There’s a new cookie in town!  Inspired by the deep traditions of Houston’s beloved rodeo, Michael has created a cookie that embodies the spirit of life on the range!

The Bronco Buster is a cowboy inspired cookie. A little like an oversized (4 oz) chocolate chip cookie, but made with candied bacon, Texas pecans and a hint of chipotle. It’s a rebel of a cookie, one that deserves its own box.

At first bite you might need time to process the experience.  The flavors rush through your mouth like a stampede of wild horses. As your eyes roll back into your head you realize you have just tasted the best cookie this side of the Mason Dixon line. When only crumbs remain you might find yourself in need of an ice cold glass of milk, a shot of bourbon, or a nap, either way, be assured, your taste buds will never be the same.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Order Holiday Gifts Early!

We're gearing up for a very busy holiday season at Michael's Cookie Jar.  As you know, our new store will be opening later this month.  We're anticipating that our production will double almost instantly.  As such, we want to make sure that if you need gift boxes shipped in December, to please order early!

If you'd like to order cookie gifts (individual or corporate) to be shipped in December, please place those orders (or commit to place an order) by November 15th.

Although we will accept gift box orders after November 15th, we will not be able to ship them in December.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Meet Sherry Eichberger!

Meet Sherry Eichberger, a woman who loves Entrepreneurship and small business!  It’s no surprise because she's lived her life with the entrepreneurial spirit! Growing up in a small suburban town in Michigan, the youngster Sherry led her neighborhood through one entrepreneurial experiment after another from Kool-Aid stands to stuffed animal zoos! She was always thinking of the next big thing to share, make money and use her creativity.

Fast forward many years to motherhood where Sherry, a stay at home mom, once again found a way to keep her entrepreneurial spirit alive by starting a small business she could run out of the house while raising her two small children. It was called “The Tickle Trunk” and the idea was that busy moms could rent a trunk of costumes for their kids’ events.   It must have been a meaningful enterprise because she still has the business cards in her wallet today!  I’ll bet anything she has a few costume still at the house, because you just never know when someone might need one!

Fast forward many more years later.  With grown children in college, Sherry took a huge leap of faith and built a business from scratch during the worst economic times in years. “One Green Street” served the community as a “green” retailer for many years until unfortunately they had to close their doors in July of this year.

With the passion for entrepreneurship still alive, a fateful cell phone text brought her to Michael’s Cookie Jar.  It started with a simple enough message. I was checking on Sherry to see how she was doing when she replied: “Do you need a manager?”

My response: “Do you know a Sherry clone that could manage my new location?”

Her answer: “How about the real thing?” And the rest is history.  

Sherry has always been passionate about her work and I’m thrilled that she’s chosen to work with me and my crew.  In her own words: “I have always respected and admired Michael as a local business owner, pastry chef and a person who gives back to the community. It is an absolute honor and privilege to manage his new location and assist him in growing this inspiring local business.”  Our little bakery has quickly become a place she could call home and could continue to fuel her lifelong passions.

Once you meet her at the new store, you'll see how Sherry will care for and delight downtown “sweet” lovers with her professional, yet down to earth style. Sherry's words again: “I know my purpose and it is to serve. I look forward to doing just that.”

We are thrilled to have her on board!  

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Michael's Cookie Jar Opens Second Location

Great News!  Downtown Houston will grow sweeter this fall when we open our second location in Houston’s Pennzoil Tower! We will be located at tunnel level with easy access to street level.  The shop will open in late October.  

This second sweet spot will feature all the same delectable "chef-prepared" all-butter cookie creations Houstonians have grown to love over the years – classic soft-baked Americana cookies, decorated cut-outs, biscotti, fancy tea cookies, and mouth-watering dessert bars. Fresh beverages and local collaborations, including Chocolate Pizazz and Fat Cat Creamery “Ice Cream Sammies,” will also be available for purchase.  

Like the flagship Weslayan location, our downtown shop will offer delivery to businesses in the area, but downtown employees will be encouraged to stretch their legs and step outside the office for a tunnel walk and a sweet treat. We will also offer dessert catering for business affairs, birthday celebrations and employee events.  

We've been a long time supporter of the local community from our charitable contributions to local schools and business partnerships with favorite local businesses like Sundance Cinemas, Agora Coffee House, Inversion Coffee House, and Spec’s Liquor House on Smith Street. You can also find our vegan cookies on board some of Houston’s beloved food trucks, like Monster PBJ

One of the best kept secrets is that we offer vegan cookies, sugar-free cookies and gluten-free cookies.  Once the new store opens, these items will be readily available to meet modern-day demands. 

Our soon-to-be second location is a direct product of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program, where in we crafted a business growth plan during an intensive 10-week program.  The mission of the program is to increase sales and increase employment.  We will do both!  As such, we are hiring customer service people, delivery people, a store manager and pastry cooks.  Full-time and part-time positions are available.  We've worked with many students over the years and are happy to work with their sometimes erratic schedule needs.  Click here for an application.

Stay tuned to this blog for further developments!

You can find Michael’s Cookie Jar at our website; on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.