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Cookie Casa Bakery: Homemade Cookies Served With Comfort

Kelli Shiroma |
November 15, 2013 | 10:19 a.m. PST

Food Editor

These chocolate chip with walnut cookies came out fresh from the oven at Cookie Casa Bakery (Kelli Shiroma / Neon Tommy).
These chocolate chip with walnut cookies came out fresh from the oven at Cookie Casa Bakery (Kelli Shiroma / Neon Tommy).
Mi casa es tu casa—“my home is your home”—is a phrase signifying comfort and familiarity in the Spanish language. It’s this same feeling of comfort and friendliness that owner Erin Zabel aims to achieve in Cookie Casa Bakery, whose first storefront location opened in L.A. in February. 

“Part of my family’s from Spain and I majored in Spanish when I went to college,” Zabel says. “I was trying to find a way to incorporate my love for the Spanish language and my family’s heritage along with what I wanted to do. That’s how I came up with using ‘casa’ as part of the company name.”

Though Zabel readily admits that she had no culinary training—“I just love to bake,” she says—her staff members are professionally trained from different culinary schools. All of the bakery’s recipes were created either by Zabel herself or are collaborations between her and her staff members.

“I started the company because I love to bake and I love gifting things, and I wanted that to be part of every day of my life,” Zabel says. 

Cookie Casa Bakery, Zabel explains, has actually been in existence since 2002, working out of various commercial kitchens. However, the business’ first store has been successful so far this year.

“We were primarily a delivery-based company,” Zabel says. “We had a few wholesale clients but our customers would come to us to pick up [their products] or we would deliver to them.”

“It’s [our storefront] been great for both old and new customers,” she adds. “Old customers love the fact that they can just pop in and get a cupcake or cookie and not have to have a large order for delivery … but we still try to keep that nice, homey, familiar feel for our customers [through our store].”

While the bakery’s trademark is its wide-ranging variety of cookies, Zabel says she recently started including other sweets like cupcakes, cakes, pies and bars, on the menu.

“This is the first or second year I started dabbling in other things,” she says. “When I first started out, I thought the company would solely be cookies. But I wanted to keep it interesting for myself and, as the company grew, I wanted to make sure I kept things interesting for my staff. [Regardless] it’s all still very Americana, very traditional sweets for the States.”

The "Molasses Sandwiches" made with sweet vanilla buttercream are a popular treat (Kelli Shiroma / Neon Tommy).
The "Molasses Sandwiches" made with sweet vanilla buttercream are a popular treat (Kelli Shiroma / Neon Tommy).
With cookies as its original trademark, the bakery indeed sports an eclectic ensemble. Among the bakery’s signature items are the “Molasses Sandwiches”—using Zabel’s grandma’s recipe for molasses cookies paired with sweet vanilla buttercream—and the classic, chewy “Chocolate Chip.” The Spanish-inspired “Rosco” cookie, a seasonal cookie only available from now until New Year’s, is also popular. These “Rosco” cookies are tender, flaky cookies featuring sherry and anise then rolled in cinnamon and sugar. Zabel learned how to make these cookies from her grandfather and they are anticipated every holiday season. 

“It’s a European-style cookie that my family makes every holiday,” Zabel confirms. 

Other best sellers include the bakery’s trademarked “Original Crack” Bar, which features a chocolate cookie crusted bar with fudge filling and is topped with chocolate chips, according to Zabel. There is also a popular “Peanut Butter Crack” version, featuring the “Original” studded with peanut butter chips and salty peanuts. In terms of cakes, Zabel cites the “Chocolate, Chocolate Chip Cake”—moist layers of chocolate cake that are often requested with the bakery’s famous vanilla frosting—as the most popular. 

When it comes to her personal favorites, Zabel admits that the cookie flavors change. Currently, her go-tos include the “Oatmeal Butterscotch” and “Mexican Hot Chocolate.” 

“The ‘Oatmeal Butterscotch’ is a very thin, chewy oatmeal cookie with butterscotch chips,” she explains. “It’s got a nice salty-sweet combo to it. The ‘Mexican Hot Chocolate’ cookie is a dark chocolate cookie with cinnamon and a secret spice that gives it a good, subtle heat; it’s not overwhelming.”

“Even people who say they don’t like spice in their chocolate seem to like it,” she states reassuringly.

While the regular items on Cookie Casa’s menu are always featured, the bakery often includes seasonal treats. For example, “Candy Corn Rice Krispies” were available for Halloween, and a variety of pumpkin-infused snacks—like “Pumpkin Pie Crumb Bars,” “Little Pumpkin Cakes” and “Pumpkin Cupcakes”—are featured from October. This is also the bakery’s third year including pies; available flavors include “Apple,” “Pumpkin,” “Cherry” and “Pecan.” 

The “Rosco” cookie and seasonal “Candy Cane Crack,” however, are two of the most popular holiday treats, according to Zabel. 

“During the holidays, we have a “Candy Cane Crack” version [of the original], and we also have holiday gift packages that we name after reindeer,” she says. “We have ‘Rudolph’ and ‘Prancer’ and ‘Blitzen’ … they’re combinations of our best sellers, along with mini cupcakes. The person receiving it gets a good variety.”

The majority of the bakery’s products can be viewed online on its website. However, seasonal items are usually omitted, Zabel says, because of their limited availability.

“As we develop new recipes and products, we’re not necessarily able to get them up on the website right away,” she says. “We use our storefront as a testing ground to see if they [new products] are worthy to be online.” 

While her bakery line has expanded since her company’s conception, maintaining a stellar level of customer service and quality of product remains important to Zabel, who wants every customer’s Cookie Casa experience to be a memorable one. 

“We take tremendous pride in what we put out for our customers,” she says. “We make sure everything is just right, from the moment we speak to a customer on the phone to when we’re baking and packaging to when it’s [the product] delivered. We take a lot of time and effort to make sure everything is just perfect.”

Check out some of the other delicious desserts featured at Cookie Casa below:

Reach Kelli Shiroma here or follow her on Twitter



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