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.
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.”
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.
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.”