Alice’s Stick Cookies and A Food Gal Giveaway

Alice's Stick Cookies are buttery and irresistible.

Whenever you think you’re too old to do something, just remember that the Bay Area’s Alice Larse started her sweet cookie company — at age 69.

She’d been baking these buttery stick cookies for years to the delight of friends and family before finally taking the leap to start her own business.

Alice’s Stick Cookies look like biscotti but taste like buttery shortbread. They won raves from the start, winning the top prize for “Best Cookie” in both 2004 and 2006 at New York’s Fancy Food Show.

Larse just retired from the business (and deservedly so), but new owners are carrying on her tradition with the cookies, which are now sold in 48 states and at such stores as Whole Foods, Andronico’s, and Dean & DeLuca.

The cookies — made with sugar, butter, malted barley flour and no eggs — come in four flavors: Lemon, Cinnamon-Ginger, Orange-Chocolate, and my personal favorite, Vanilla, which tastes delightfully like salted caramel-toffee.

One and a half stick cookies has 130 calories. An eight-ounce box of cookies is $9.95.

Award-winning cookies.

Contest: One lucky Food Gal reader will win four boxes of Alice’s Stick Cookies (one of each flavor). Entries, limited to those in the continental United States, will be taken through midnight PST Dec. 24. Winner will be announced Dec. 26.

How to win?

Just tell me your favorite memory that involves cookies. Best answer wins.

Here’s my own response:

“When I was a kid, my older brother, who is seven years my senior, was often left to babysit me at home. To entertain me, he would bake cookies, and he often let me choose what kind we would make together. A lot of times, they were just your usual Toll House chocolate-chip cookies. But sometimes, we’d rifle through a cookbook to find something new and different. I remember being intrigued by a recipe for cookies flavored with orange juice. So, one day, we made those. The dough was tinged with the lightest of orange colors from the juice. As the cookies baked, we could smell the buttery, citrus aroma, too. When the moment came to pull the pans from the oven, we couldn’t have been more excited. But the results weren’t quite what we expected. The cookies were flat. And I mean very flat. But they tasted good — crisp, sweet and with a subtle orange flavor. For months to come, we would joke about those deflated cookies. But in the years to come, what I think it most cemented in me was the love for the mystery and surprise involved in baking and cooking. To this day, I think there is no more wonderful moment than that initial bite when you fully experience for the first time something you created. It may not always be perfect. But it always enchants.”

Six Wagyu petit sirloins plus espresso salt for your dining pleasure.

Winner of the Previous Contest: In last week’s contest, I asked you to tell me your most memorable time eating steak. Winner will receive a “Steak and Espresso Brava Salt” holiday package from Snake River Farms.

Congrats to:

Cookiecrumb, who wrote, “When I was 12, I had a tonsillectomy. It made swallowing food very painful, so I survived on melted ice cream, warm Jell-O, and the like. On about day six of my recovery, my mother caught me in the kitchen sipping from the Worcestershire bottle. ‘Oh you poor dear, you must be hungry for meat! When you’re all well, I’ll make you a steak!’ That sounded good, and I recovered as quickly as I could. One day I announced to my mom that I was ready for my steak. ‘What steak? I never promised you a steak.’
I need the steak.”

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  • My siblings and I would come home after the late Christmas Eve mass and make a fresh warm batch of Chocolate Chip Cookies for Santa. As we got older and some of us married we still do this either together or talk and bake cookies with a conference call.

  • Growing up my mom always made us Chocolate No-bake Cookies, you know the super yummy ones made with oatmeal. I can see a photo of them today and be back home in the kitchen with my mom! I will be honest though there were so many times they never made it to cookie stage, becuase they are just so delicious out of the pan~ Always makes me think of home…..

  • I was a “latchkey” kid from a fairly young age, and my older brother Eric (my partner in all manner of cooking crimes) came up with a wide variety of fun cooking experiments for our after-school hours. Eric always had a taste for science, so combined with my love of cooking we developed a number of fascinating cookie recipes–many edible, many not suitable for consumption by man or beast. Those afternoons baking with my brother are some of my best memories.

  • Wow, 69?! She is truly an inspiration. Her products look very tasty…I’m a sucker for shortbread in any form. 😉

  • What an awesome comp! I wish I was eligible 🙁 Oh well. I love your cookie story – my brother would steal my food when we were younger, not make me any, lol.

  • Growing up, my kids were lucky enough to have a grandmother who baked cookies. Her ethnic roots were steeped in Norwegian, so she’d make rosettes, sandbakkels, sirupsnitterm, fatigmann and krumkaker. My favorites were the sugar-sprinkled spritz, in the shapes of Christmas wreaths and trees.
    No cookie was too butter-infused, rich and delicious for my mother. She spent her days baking, and not just those leading up to Christmas.
    But my kids were of a different generation. When they were old enough to go to their friends’ homes, they ate Oreos, boxed ginger snaps and Thin Mints. They’d never ask me for Fig Newtons, but they definitely wanted “normal” cookies. Forget the ethnic.
    Now that my children are young adults, the packaged cookies have grown stale. Their Norwegian grandma is gone, her backed goods a distant memory. But when my children have children of their own, I’m going to surprise them. I have all those old recipes, and I haven’t forgotten those flavors of old.

  • I didn’t have grandmothers growing up, until I was unofficially ‘adopted’ by an elderly babysitter/family friend. I would spend every Christmas with her. She would sew me a new, very special, Christmas dress and tie a pretty ribbon in my hair. She would sit me on a stool outside the kitchen door and put on her Julio Iglesias Christmas album. She would proceed to make what seemed like hundreds of rosette cookies. She’d dust them in powdered sugar as they came out of the fryer and let me eat and eat and eat until I was covered in sugar and had greasy little hands. Then she’d sit in the doorway with me and we’d sip cocoa and sing along to her record.

  • When I was little I would spend time all by myself at my grandma’s house. No siblings and no parents. I got spoiled rotten. I remember baking lots of cookies with my grandma, but my favorite recipe was always her cut-out sugar cookies. I would get to pick the cut out shapes and decorate while my grandma did all the hard work like rolling out and baking them. Now that my grandma can no longer make cookies I carry on the tradition for her.

  • What a wonderful story. I’ve never seen her. Ponies here in the Midwest but they sound delicious and she is truely an inspiration.

    I have so many fond memories of baking cookies that it would be hard to pick just one.

    I loved cooking cookies with my grandmother and without a doubt my passion for cooking comes from her. She’s been gone since 1977.

    I knew I absolutely loved to cook when my dad ate one of my cookies, commented on how good they were and proceeded to eat almost the entire batch. Just seeing him smile and so happy eating them made me realize cooking was a great thing. he’s been gone since 1989.

    Last are my memories cooking with my kids now 22 and 25. They could be arguing like siblings do but the second we started baking cookies everyone got along, smiling and laughing. Baking cookies is the best medicine you can give anyone. Cookies make everyone feel happy – the greatest gift and memory that stays with me.

  • Oh the cookies look so delicious! I have not heard of them before so I will have to check them out next time we are at Whole Foods!

  • Scrumptious looking stick cookies! I actually couldn’t bake cookies until very recently, they just never came out right for me, no matter what I did. But with 5 Star Foodie Junior’s help, we figured things out, by starting to actually follow recipes, at least for the first few times. Now we are so comfortable with baking cookies, we are back to our regular habit of not following recipes. Our recent fabulous “mistake-turned-new successful recipe” is spiced molasses biscuits. These were supposed to be gingersnaps. But we had no recipe and were a bit in a hurry. Instead of softening the butter, we put the butter on a warm stove and it melted. Then, we didn’t add enough ginger, the dough consistency was slightly different due to melted butter, and we cut the rounds quite a bit too thick. The cookies turned out amazing – buttery and crumbly and really very balanced with the flavors of spices and molasses. We intend on making those again and writing down a recipe next time!

  • When I was a kid, the only person who made cookies in my house was me. I did not grow up with a mom who would make cookies if I begged her. On the contrary, my parents requested my services in the kitchen. They would buy all of the ingredients, and I would pretend to be too bothered to mix, roll and bake dough. Deep down, I looked forward to making these cookies. My experimental spirit was lost on them though. They did not want to try anything other than oatmeal raisin with walnuts or chocolate chip with pecans. I stuck with the tried and true flavors, and they appreciated each batch. I haven’t made those cookies for my parents in a long time, especially after moving out of the house. I should do it on my next trip home. 🙂

  • I am the youngest of six sisters growing up i the 1970’s – as you can imagine we did a fair amount of baking.

    One day when I was about ten years old (and for some reason none of my sisters were around to help). I really wanted to make some cookies, so I diligently followed a recipe from our family favorites. As I was pretty far into the recipe my mother came into the kitchen and asked what I was doing. .. “making cookies” she said “no, WHAT are you doing with the dough” I replied “It said mix by hand” I was elbow deep in dough (I wasn’t using a spoon-mixing with my BARE HANDS…Gross when I think about it now, but still pretty funny.

  • I don’t know if this is my FAVORITE memory but in high school I set about making peanut butter cookies for my boyfriend. They called for shortening, which I didn’t think we had at home. So I just left it out. Didn’t substitute in butter, didn’t try to add any extra fat in…needless to say the cookies had the texture of SAND. They were awful. My boyfriend at the time ate them anyway. (That was true love lol).

  • Every year, my parents’ best friend invited me and my sister over for a full day of baking, focused around making a gingerbread house. We would have planning sessions beforehand to design the house and decide on any special decorative items we might need. “Cookie Day” was full of baking, assembling and decorating. I would be very protective of the house and wouldn’t let anyone break off a nibble until long after it had gone stale. The houses could be fairly creative. One year there was a farm complete with silo and landscaping. Another year was a panorama living room with holiday decorations and gifts under a tree, all made out of confections.

  • I remember one time my friend and I had to bake over 200 cookies for an activity. Unfortunately, the heat in the oven was not the best and it took longer for the cookies to bake. We also only had one small cookie sheet so could only bake one dozen at a time. In addition, we had other errands that we had to run in that same day. In between errands, we returned home and baked more cookies every chance we had. We were still baking them at the activity that night, but we made it! All 200+ of them.

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