Cookies in the Election

If only Romney would insult our cookies too, we would be millionaires!  Obama would love them, obviously.


Conversion Confusion

Milliliters to teaspoons, ounces and cups to grams, Fahrenheit to Celsius, Colombian pesos to US dollars, multiplied by 300 cookies per week, 1200 per month — dios mio!!  The recipe makes a batch of 32, which we collapsed  in order to maximize the number of cookies per batch to 65.  So now it became 65 cookies per batch, 3 batches per week, 4 weeks of dough at a time to freeze, 12 batches every 4 Sundays.  What?!?!

The Search for Chips

After going to the massive Home Center (the equivalent of Home Depot + Bed, Bath and Beyond), the even more massive Éxito (basic supermarket + Target) and a specialized baking equipment store, we were still missing cookie pans, spatulas and real chocolate chips (sabor de chocolate is not the same as chocolate chips).  While we weren’t expecting Ghirardelli, we thought that every supermarket would at least have real chocolate chips.

So we began our search for the chips.  We asked our friends and were told to go to the “specialty chocolate shop” between Envigado and Aguacatala.  We set off in Jess’ 1978 bright orange Renault 12, with the windows open and doors slightly ajar, along Avenida 80 covering our noses from the bus fumes and swerving between the crazy drivers of Medellin.

Sidenote 1: Medellin is the place that Renaults come to die.

Sidenote 2: at least we weren’t walking/running for our lives.  Being a pedestrian in Medellin is risky business; cars don’t stop, motorcycles run through red lights, and cyclists come out of nowhere.

A few stressful wrong turns and requests for directions later, we arrived at the zoo.  We ran across 8 lanes of traffic to find a massive building surrounded by gates with guards registering people to enter.  Thankfully, true to their stereotype once again, a kind Colombian noticed that we were confused and asked if we needed assistance.  We explained our purpose and he directed us to a small shop attached to the end of the factory, which sold all the cheap chocolate that did not meet our standards: Jet, Jumbo, Wafer Jet, Montblanc, Milo, etc. We tried to describe what we were looking for (semi-sweet chocolate), but despite it being a specialty chocolate shop, the vendedor had no idea what we were talking about.  We put Jess’ boyfriend on the phone 3 times to explain in case this was a “lost in translation” moment.  It wasn’t.  We finally left with a bag of acceptable chocolate discs, which we are now chopping by hand with a pizza cutter to turn into chips.  Do you know what a pain in the ass that is??

La Renault

Post Cookie Daze



Munch On This

Here’s a story of how two gringas came to start a cookie business in Medellin, Colombia.  Jess had been living in South America for more than two years and in Medellin for 8 months.  Bethany had been traveling in South America for four months and just recently arrived in Medellin.  They found each other on Couchsurfing when Bethany was looking for an artsy neighborhood to live in.  Jess, who hardly ever used Couchsurfing anymore, saw Bethany’s email and felt the need to respond as a fellow foreigner who had experienced the same feeling of confusion when settling into a new city.  On top of that, they had a ton in common- both are social workers, practice yoga, love to travel and dance salsa.   What they later found out is that they both have a passion for cookies: this is the story of how Las Munchies began.

The Cravings (las munchies):

After two years living abroad, Jess needed the cozy, comfort of home that can only be found in a delicious, gooey, classic chocolate chip cookie.   So she looked everywhere in Medellin, only to be disappointed time and time again by the quality of the few cookies that she could find.  Her Colombian non-sugar eating boyfriend suggested that she just make her own.  That same afternoon, Bethany was visiting and they began discussing that they were a little bit bored and needed something to occupy their time.  As an aside, Jess mentioned her craving and that she was going to start a cookie business.  The problem was that she never baked a thing in her life.  Bethany was listening and the wheels started turning.  She had experience baking and knew this was a perfect opportunity to share conversations and desserts with another culture.  She was immediately on board and the next thing they knew, they were looking at paint samples for colors for their new logo, which was not yet invented.

The Game Plan:

Sell cookies to the drunk and high youth who hang out in their new neighborhood, get them addicted to the cookie, and off we go…

Memorable quotes:

“Oh god, we only ate four cookies and we’re already sick of them.”

“Oh my god, my “boyfriend” said he was going to call, but he’s not.  Wait, he’s not my boyfriend.”

“How did I get chocolate on my arm underneath my shirt?!”

“We’re not even making cookies anymore.  We’re just blogging about it.”