Saturday, November 27, 2010

Holiday Cookies are Here!

As busy shoppers swamped the big box stores for various "two day sales, Michael's Cookie Jar decorated for Christmas.  Down came the "autumn themed" cookie cake and up went the Christmas Cookie Cake.  It's nine tiers tall and has more than 850 cookies.  I couldn't decided between an "all-white" theme or multi-color.  Since I like diversity, I went with all types of colors, shapes and sizes.  I think the result is beautiful...and tasty.  Stop by to see all our holiday cookies and have a taste!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Bellaire Art Festival

We're delighted to be participating in the Bellaire Art Festival for the fourth time!  This fun filled day features many great local artists, craftspeople and food! (that's where we come in!)  We'll have a great selection of our soft-bake home-style cookies, as well as decorated cookies.  Some new items this year include our cinnamon shortbread (ojarascas), Rugelach and Sand Tarts.  Stop by!  You won't be dissappointed!

The Bellaire Art Festival has been in existence since 1991 is produced twice a year, in April in the Spring and in October in the Fall. The event takes has long taken place along scenic Bellaire Boulevard, between Loop 610 and South Rice Avenue, and now has a new home in Bellaire Town Square.
Since its inception, the Bellaire Art Festival has provided a venue for thousands of local artists to display and sell their works - many of whom were just starting their careers as successful artists. Cultivating local talent is one of the many reasons that the Bellaire Art Festival has been so successful and is still around today.

Today, the Bellaire Art Festival is continuing to expand, and we are looking forward to introducing some exciting new programs over the next few years. Currently, between 150-200 painters, potters, jewelry-makers, glass blowers, metalsmiths, clothing designers, and many other types of artists set up their booths in the esplanade.

And make sure you bring the kids too - the Bellaire Art Festival has a fantastic children's area complete with petting zoo, face painting, bouncy castles, children's art, and entertainment for the young ones. If you get hungry, check out the local cuisine scattered around the park - you'll find anything from corndogs to crawfish to kettle korn!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

High Cookie Season is Here!

In case you didn't know, October is National Cookie Month.  It seems appropriate to me because October is the beginning of some great cookie holidays!  We debut the Halloween Cookie Collection Friday, Oct 1st.

Oct 1st is also very special because we will have our official ribbon-cutting ceremony for the bakery.  Click here for more information.  I hope to see you on Friday!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

"Ojarascas" By Another Name

I have to confess.  Some of our best cookie ideas come directly from our customers.  When our bakery opened on June 22, a customer came to me to "talk cookies."  The subject turned to one of her favorites called "Ojarascas."  I had never heard of this cookie.

Well, within a few weeks she returned with samples from a local Mexican bakery!  It was a heart-shaped, thick cut cinnamon-flavored shortbread cookie.  I loved it!  I told my friends about it and they never heard of it.  But, after I described it, my friend, Adam, said, "Oh, you mean 'Pan de Polvo.'  We get'em in the valley.  I'll pick up some next time I visit mom."

Well, I couldn't wait for Adam or his mom.  After a little homework and several trials, I came up with the MCJ version of Ojarascas, aka Pan de Polvo.

Now, I'll be the first to admit that I'm never sure about the authenticity of my ethnic flavors, but as long as it's made with butter and tastes great, well, I'm pretty satisfied.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Sweets for the New Year

As the Jewish New Year of Rosh Hashanah approaches, we have perfected some traditional sweets.  We've added to our repertoire three types of rugelach: choc/raspberry, apricot/walnut and chocolate.  We're also offering decorated apple-shaped cookies.  I'm really proud of our rugelach because many recipe trials were conducted to obtain a flavor and shape that was something truly special. 

Rugelach is special for many culinary reasons.  It has a truly unique shape and flavor.  Rolled up like a small croissant, it stands out from the more traditional flat or round cookies.  Also, the dough is a flaky cream cheese based dough which has very little sugar.  The sweetness comes from the filling and sugar sprinkled on top.  Even with this added sugar, rugelach is not an overly sweet pastry. 

Lastly, rugelach takes a bit of practice and craftsmanship to make.  The dough is very delicate and must be handled gingerly to obtain a flaky cookie.  And since there is little sugar in rugelach, baking times tend to be longer. 

A dear friend of mine (who happens to be orthodox Jew) brought me some authentic rugelach from Israel last year.  One of the desired qualities was a slightly raw center.  This is not difficult to achieve because rugelach is a dense pastry that does not rise very much.  I was not really in favor of undercooked dough (that wasn't even very sweet), so we tend to bake ours a little longer to achieve a more fully cooked center. 

I encourage you to try this yummy pastry for the Jewish New Year (or any time of the year!).

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Cookie Pies

Due to popular request, we now offer the "Cookie Pie."  It takes 1-1/2 lbs of our all-butter chocolate chip cookie dough to make one 12" pie.  We can also make it in any of our classic Americana flavors, like snickerdoodle, toffee pecan, peanut butter, white chocolate macadamia, oatmeal raisin, ginger molasses or fudge walnut. Serves 12-15 people.  $25.00.  Check it out!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Summer Survival Kit

In Houston, we all know how important it is to be prepared for hurricane season.  The City has published a comprehensive preparedness guide at this link

But we like our survival kit better! 
Visit our bakery at 5330 Weslayan Street to purchase one for $15.  It includes 11 cookies and a bottle of water!  You can also order online for pick up at a later date.

My Table Culinary Awards

"My Table" is Houston's premier "foodie" magazine.  I've been a subscriber for years.  I love knowing the "inside track" on food trends in Houston.  Every year they sponser culinary awards to highlight the best food and service that Houston has to offer.  And Michael's Cookie Jar was nominated for a new category called "Favorite Sweets/Ice Cream."  We love to have your vote!  It's easy.  Simply go to and it takes about three minutes to vote for us and all the categories. 

Monday, July 19, 2010

Mocha Moon Cookie

One of the most popular cookies we've sold at the bakery has actually been a "cakey cookie" called the Black & White cookie.  Ours is made with vanilla cake and iced with vanilla buttercream and chocolate ganache.  They really melt in your mouth and satisfy your sweet tooth.

The Black & White originally comes from New York City, so we thought Houston should have it's own version.  Hence, we came up with the Mocha Moon Cookies.  It's made with chocolate cake and iced with coffee buttercream and chocolate ganache.  We also soak the cookie with a little coffee simple syrup.  It's definitely a grown up taste!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Independence Day Cookies

Decorated cookies have been very popular since we opened, so we're glad another colorful holiday is upon us!  We'll have 4" decorated flag cookies ans 3" decorated stars at the bakery all this week.  Please visit us!  Michael's cookie Jar is located at 5330 Weslayan Street (corner of Weslayan & Bissonnet, behind Petco).

Opening Day Photos

Opening day went very well!  Thanks to all who came out to see (and taste) the new bakery.  I have a few photos here, but more are coming.  It seems the most popular items were the decorated cookies and our Americana cookies.  The chocolate chunk, toffee pecan and snickerdoodle were especially popular.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Michael's Cookie Jar bakery opens today!

It's been almost a year since I first saw this new location that we are set to open today.  I am very excited to open the doors and welcome cookie lovers from all over Houston. The magic of cookies is that everyone has a favorite and everyone has a story.  I hope that those stories and many delicious cookies are shared at Michael's Cookie Jar!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Love the Palmier

One of the items we'll offer at Michael's Cookie Jar (remember, our bakery opens June 22) is the Palmier.  This French delicacy is one of the reasons I love pastry! Almost all pastry is some combination of butter, sugar, eggs and flour.  The Palmier has no eggs, but it has those other three ingredients, plus water and a little salt.  And such simple ingredients are transformed into one of the most satisfying pastries I know: light, crunchy and sweet!  When you visit our bakery, I encourage you to ask for a sample!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Cabinet Installation Begins

Cabinets arrived on Thursday!  They look great.  Granite counter tops arrive on Tuesday.  It's coming along!
  This photo show the front of the display cases and the coffee station at the far end.


This photo shows the backside of cabinets, with lots of space for bakery boxes!

Two Be Wed Opens New Location

Michael's Cookie Jar is participating in the second grand opening of Two Be Wed's new location!  The big day is Wednesday, May 26 from 6-9PM.  Houston TBW is now located at 2611 Greenbriar.  Also housed here are Casa de Camera, Lovelee Photography, Studio B Images, Spice Paper Designs and Bella Bridesmaid.

As you know, Two Be Wed is one of Houston's premier bridal boutiques.  Their goal is "one stop shopping" for your big day.  Stop by and meet some of Houston's best bridal vendor and of course, cookies from Michael's Cookie Jar.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Cabinets Almost Finished!

The cabinet maker is staining everything today.  Install on Thursday!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Houston Concierge Association

Michael's Cookie Jar is participating in the Houston Concierge Association trade show on Monday, May 17.  It's a great opportunity to network with professional concierge from all over the city.  Hope to see you there!

We Have Color!

As the retail area continues to develop, we've added a "wing wall" on each side of the shop to provided a backdrop to the retail area, however, customers will still be able to see all the production taking place.  The colors we chose are "Rockwood Terracotta" and "Eastlake Gold."  I think the rich hues will create a feeling of warmth in the shop.  Of course, freshly baked Snickerdoodles and Brownies will also create a warm feeling!  Next week we'll have our cabinets! 

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Display Cabinet Construction

The path to freshly baked, home style cookies gets shorter every day!  I visited the cabinet maker this week and progress on the display cabinets (as well as retail shelving and coffee bar) is well under way.  We're going for a "warm residential" feel to the bakery so all the cabinets look more like furniture than commercial display pieces.

The cabinets are made of maple veneers.  Once finished, this one will feature decorative pieces (cookie jars!) and packaged cookies.  We may also put some shadow boxes on this unit with wedding cookie favors.

Cabinet Maker, Clark, reviewing the plans

The main cabinets will display our daily baked cookies like Rugelach, Chocolate Chip, Palmiers, Macarons and Biscotti. The pieces of wood in this photo will be assembled to look like 4" post legs.

And that's all for now!  We have moved to the new bakery (5330 Weslayan) and have been making our wholesale and web cookie orders from the new location.  Check back for more updates!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Bakery Renovations Continue

This week Michael's Cookie Jar bakery renovations continued.  Work tables and shelves were assembled and the oven is in place.  We're waiting for some minor things to be completed and then the city inspects us!  In no time, freshly baked, hot cookies willl be coming out of the ovens!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Bo's Place Girls' Night Out

Bo’s Place is hosting the Fourth Annual Girls’ Night Out: Champagne and Cherry Blossoms on March 25, 2010 from 6-10 pm at Warehouse Live along with Guys’ Night Out: Betting on Bo’s Place in the other half of the venue.

Two Events, One Roof, One Cause! For the Girls, it will be an evening of bubbles, baubles, browsing and bites chaired by Lynn Russell, Kelly Russell McWherter and Whitney Bruegel Russell.

There are 30 wonderful merchants (including Michael's Cookie Jar) who will be displaying the hottest trends for Spring. Our goal for the girls is to raise $156,000 to go towards the ongoing, free grief support services for children and adults, pregnancy loss programs, and general operating expenses.

Monday, March 8, 2010

New Bakery Renovations Continue

We're really excited that the city approved the renovation plans for Michael's Cookie Jar at 5330 Weslayan! Construction is underway with an estimated opening this summer. We'll keep you updated via this blog and Twitter. The bakery is to the left of "Vee's Tailor and Alterations." How convenient! And the Post Office is to the left of the flag pole.

The former "Village Table" had a fir down and built-in counter that was beautiful but it was not configured to our needs.

The removal of the counter led to a dilemma because now there were tiles missing from the wall and floor. Luckily, we found extra tiles and grout above the walk-in cooler. We were still short some floor tile. Since this tile was no longer available, the contractor found one with a similar pattern and cut it to size.

It matches pretty good!

In the back area, there was a large, empty area near the pot washing sink that was perfect for the ovens.

The hood and back splash are now installed and we'll have the oven delivered soon! The next big project is to convert the walk-in cooler to a freezer.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! We had a great holiday season at Michael’s Cookie Jar and hope you did too!

We have chosen to feature weddings in January for several reasons. Firstly, there's a statistic that says more engagements take place over the Christmas holiday than any other time of the year. So, naturally, these young couples start their planning in January, which leads to the second reason.

January and February are flush with bridal events in Houston. This year, Michael's Cookie Jar is participating in the Dream Weddings Bridal Show in the Woodlands. This fantastic event takes place on January 30 & 31 at the Woodlands Waterway Marriott Hotel & Convention Center. Get your tickets on-line and save $5.00 (at the Dream Weddings link above) or get a free ticket from me if you schedule a cookie consultation before January 30! Tickets purchased at the door are $15.00.

But, I think the most important reason for featuring weddings in January is that the New Year is a time of new beginnings and renewed hope. Your engagement is a wonderful begining to a lifetime of sharing and happiness. All the best to you!

Cookie Cake photograph by Adam Nyholt photographer