Wednesday, January 5, 2011

wanderlust: brooklyn

I just ate the most amazing little cookie named Lucia. It came from Brooklyn with other little cookies (Lana, Penelope, Susanna, Juliette, and Sadie) in a lovely brown box adorned with a vintage family photo. One Girl Cookies is what the accompanying tag read. I immediately imagined a girl in an apron, covered in flour and feverishly baking cookie upon cookie in a tiny kitchen somewhere. Turns out I wasn't far off...

Back in 2000, Dawn Casale left the world of retail luxury at Barney’s New York to do something different with her life, though she wasn't sure exactly what at the time. She started thinking about her childhood, which was one of warm kitchens and dazzling flavors; the kind of unforgettable aromas that excite us as kids and comfort us as adults. "My grandmother's kitchen," writes Dawn, "is where I learned about the ritual and significance of food, the sense of happiness and comfort it brought, and the essential elements of quality and care that went into its preparation."

Those memories are what led to One Girl Cookies, which began in Dawn's West Village apartment. She did indeed become the girl who baked cookie upon cookie, naming each one according to their personality. And yes, these cookies have absolutely unforgettable personalities. Like for example, the shortbread, caramel, chocolate three-layer bar named Lucia (my favorite), the orange butter cookie topped with shredded coconut named Sadie, or the spiced oat wafer with crystallized ginger named Susanna. Orders came quickly, and Dawn managed each one from start to finish (with help from friends and family). Two holiday seasons later, she'd rented a larger kitchen space, hired a professional baker, and enrolled in pastry school.

Fast forward ten years and a lot has happened since those first days in Dawn's kitchen. One Girl Cookies is now a full-fledged café in Brooklyn where breakfast, coffee, and sweets of all kinds are served daily. They also offer baking classes, party favors, custom cakes and corporate gifts.

Dawn's story is as sweet and special as her cookies. Most of us have at some point reflected on our career choices and wondered about doing something else; something different. Of course, that's not to say we don't learn and grow while on the way to that something different. Dawn credits Barney's with teaching her about the importance of aesthetic, the power of creativity, and the joy of indulgence. Still, her inspiriting journey from clothing to cookies is a striking reminder to reflect on where our passions reside and what memories or experiences might lead us back to them, if of course we're not there already.

That said, you've gotta taste these cookies for yourself. It's worth going to Brooklyn as soon as possible, but if for some reason you can't, simply order your own box. I promise they'll make your life a lot sweeter!

Images courtesy of One Girl Cookies.

1 comment:

Rockrose Development said...

Such a fun story! It's nice to see a bustling successful cafe was spawned from a small memory from the owner's West Village apartment. The story makes the cafe that more more appealing. So charming!