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. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Big Taste at the Corinthian - April 21, 2013

I have been a Big Brother twice. The first time was way back in the late 80's. "Little" Justin is now all grown up and doing well in Ohio. My current Little Brother, Larry, is 11 years old and we've been matched now for more than two years. Being a "Big" is a very rewarding thing to do because more than anything, these kids just need your time. So, I'm delighted to be helping in another way as Big Brother/Big Sisters of Houston hosts their first "Big Taste" at the Corinthian on April 21st. Along with dozens of other wonderful Houston restaurants, we'll be giving out sweets to folks whose ticket purchase goes to fund important programs at BBBS. Join us!

Monday, April 1, 2013


Who makes YOUR food? So often the answer is “How the heck would I know?” Much of our food comes from distant places. Even in restaurants, you rarely see the people making your tasty meal.

We opened our current bakery in 2010 and from the beginning, we wanted transparency in how and where your cookies are made. Our open kitchen design is a rarity in bakeries. Everyday our customers marvel at the team of people they see mixing, rolling, baking and decorating their cookies. Many times our customers are so transfixed by what our crew is making they order something related to whatever is in production at the moment!

An open kitchen is a first step in knowing how your cookie came to be, but who are those people and what are their stories? Today we begin a multi-part series of profiles on the talented and dedicated people who make magic everyday at our bakery.

Name: Katherine “Katie” Rangel
Where did you grow up? Sugarland, TX
Position/Title at MCJ: General Manager
How did you get into cooking? My first job was at a candy store when I was 14 years old. I have a major sweet tooth. I used to dine out with my firend’s parents at fancy restaurants so I was exposed to many different cuisines and it caught my interest. After high school I enrolled in Houston Community College’s baking and pastry program and studied under a Belgian chef name Eddy Van Damme (he was fantastic). I also did an internship at Mark’s American Cuisine and worked in a handful of other places to gain experience. I was then hired as the first employee at Michael’s Cookie Jar and have been happily working there ever since.
Favorite Cookie: Chocolate Chip - hot, gooey, and fresh out of the oven.
Favorite food: Almond Croissants and the Chile Rellenos at Hugo’s Mexican Restaurant. 
Guilty pleasure: Watching a movie, sitting alone on my couch with a glass of wine.
Best way to spend a Sunday afternoon: Playing with my family in the park.
Hobbies: I like to read, draw, and paint.
An interesting or secret fact about yourself: I can speak Spanish, I have an armful of tattoos, and matching moles on my feet.
If you never had to work what would you do? I would make croissants all day and take care of my son.
What is the last book you read? Mad Cowboy: Plain Truth from the Cattle Rancher Who Won’t Eat Meat by Howard Lyman.
What is on your bucket list? Travel the world and drag race on a professional speedway.
Favorite Quote: “When I am in trouble eating is the only thing that consoles the present I am eating muffins because I am unhappy. Besides, I am particularly fond of muffins.” - Oscar Wilde
Favorite Hangout Spot: Lounging in the grass at the Menil Collection in Montrose
What do you think everyone should know about Michael’s Cookie Jar? Going to MCJ is like buying a luxury item - you get great service and a great product - it is the Nieman Marcus of bakeries!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Girl Scout Cookies

We were delighted to be part of the annual "Just Desserts" event sponsored by the Girl Scouts. Our dessert was made using the "Thanks-A-Lot" cookie.
It's that time of year again - when young girls wearing green and khaki vests camp outside the entrances and exits of stores and co-workers hang up order forms by their desks beconing you with the temptation of gluttonous bliss which we gleefully flock to and pay money for because they are only available once a year causing demand to soar - that's right, it is officially girl scout cookie season!

Members of the GSUSA have been selling cookies since 1917 to raise funds on an individual basis. It wasn't until 1933 when Girl Scouts in Philadelphia organized the first official sale, selling homemade cookies at the windows of local utility companies. The first Girl Scout cookie recipe was a sugar cookie and  in 1936 the national organization began licensing commercial bakers to produce their cookies.

The main licensed companies are Little Brownie Bakers (LBB), a subsidiary of Keebler, which is owned by Kellogg's; and ABC Bakers, a subsidiary of Interbake Foods, which is owned by George Weston Limited. ABC Bakers has been licensed to produce Girl Scout cookies since 1936. Up to 28 varieties of Girl Scout cookies are offered and the same cookies may be sold under different names by different bakeries, with the choice of bakery determining the name.

For example:
Caramel Delights / Samoas
Peanut Butter Patties / Tagalongs
Peanut Butter Sandwiches / Do-si-dos
Shortbreads / Trefoils

There are even some new flavors available this year. Don't resist the temptation, go ahead and buy a box of your favorites - I know I will!

Also, at Michael's Cookie Jar we like to hear from our customers. Tell us what your favorite flavors are and we might make it in our bakery one day or maybe even all year round.

Monday, March 4, 2013

The History of Cookies


I love the smell of cookies baking. It brings back such comforting and happy memories of childhood. I’m sure every family has a long and interesting history of their own cookie making experiences and traditions.

In fact, cookies go back a long way in world history! Nobody is actually sure who created the very first cookie, but as the story goes, it was a mistake. Many cooking experts believe that centuries ago - before thermometers and electricity - cooks who wanted to test the temperature of their ovens would bake a small amount of cake batter to find out if the oven was hot enough to bake an entire cake. Not wanting to waste precious food, these early bakers ate their samples and later decided they were worthy of a spot in the “pastry case!”

The earliest cookie-style cakes are thought to date back to 7th century Persia (now Iran), one of the first countries to cultivate sugar (luxurious cakes and pastries were well known in the Persian Empire). Sugar originated in the lowlands of Southeast Asia, spread to Persia, and then to the Eastern Mediterranean. With the Muslim invasion of Spain, then the Crusades and the developing spice trade, the cooking techniques and ingredients of Arabia spread into Northern Europe where baked goods became mainstream items.

By the end of the 14th century, one could buy little filled wafers on the streets of Paris and as people started to explore the globe, biscuits (hard cookies) became the ideal traveling food, because they were portable and stayed fresh for long periods of time.

Today there are thousands of different cookie recipes around the globe and at Michael’s Cookie Jar we celebrate a few of the most popular ones such as the French palmier, the Mexican ojarasca, the Italian biscotti, the Austrian linzer, and the Jewish rugelach in addition to our American classics - Yum.