During my first year of snowboarding in Big Bear, I kept hearing about Mimi’s Cookie Bar. I finally went online to see what it was all about. Mimi’s Cookie Bar is an organic bakery. At the time, she was only running an online bakery, but I thought it was so cool that you could design your own cookie flavors. In September of 2011, Mimi opened the first retail location in Mammoth Lakes, CA. We are huge fans of her cookies and try to stop by whenever we are in town.
Since opening her bakery, Mimi has expanded her product offering to include: “French Macaroons, Cupcakes, Cakes, Pies, Frozen Yogurt, Vegan Ice Cream, Brownies, Fudge, Nut Butters, Biscotti, Truffles, Cheesecake, French Baguettes, Breads, Bagels.” Best of all, Mimi only advertises on her Facebook page, and most of her customers are via word of mouth; it’s that good! Mimi also distributes to several wholesale outlets including restaurants and stores in town.
Mimi has a background in the action sports industry, and has several signature cookies for her sponsored riders. I also came to find out that she went to school in Southern Vermont, which is where I am from!
Last time I visited, I asked Mimi if I could interview her for my blog, and to my delight, she agreed! I purchased one of her newer products, the organic Cookie Butter, and made a frosting recipe with it as well. Scroll down after the interview for the recipe.
Now that we are a little familiar with Mimi, how did Mimi’s idea for Mimi’s Cookie Bar transpire?
It kinda started as a pipe dream to be honest, I have always loved stopping into any little bakery I found and baking anything. I always brought what is now the Dad’s Coconut Chocolate Chip cookies to dinner parties, work, etc. And while working for Roxy in Huntington Beach, we started to have some layoffs, after the first large round we knew another one was coming since they announced it (kinda). So on that Friday no one was working and everyone was sitting around waiting to get laid off or not. I had made cookies to lighten the mood. Everyone was asking each other what they would do if they got laid off, and I had no idea what I would do so I kinda just said I’d open a bakery. Some of my friends said I should do it anyways, so I began to think about it the next few weeks (since I didn’t get laid off), and Mimi’s Cookie Bar started. It started online only at first because I was still working full time at Roxy.
I dream of living in a mountain town again some day! How did you select a location to open your bakery?
The location just kinda found me really. With sponsoring snowboarders, we wanted the first location to be in a mountain town. We thought that Big Bear might be the spot to open a bakery, but after living there we realized there were already three bakeries, and I ended up working at the largest one. I loved the owner and didn’t want to be competing with her. She was kind enough to let me work there and also do my baking there for Mimi’s Cookie Bar online business. After our first winter in Big Bear we took a spring trip to Mammoth, and on the drive back Delaney mentioned how much he loved Mammoth and jokingly said, why didn’t we just move there. Upon our return to Big Bear, he got offered a job in Marketing for Mammoth Mountain, so we moved the next month. I didn’t know what I was going to do for work and knowing Mammoth from living here before, and knowing there wasn’t really a sweets bakery in town, it just happened to be the perfect place and time to open up Mimi’s Cookie Bar. Its funny, we really moved here for Delaney’s job, but now he works for Mimi’s Cookie Bar instead.
I am sure we all want to know, what’s your favorite flavor cookie?
My all time favorite cookie is the Yia-Yia cookie, this one is only offered in the bakery and not online because its too fragile to ship. Yia-Yia means grandma in Greek, and this is the only cookie we serve in the bakery that is not my recipe it is my Yia-Yia’s recipe. She made these growing up and we called them Yia-Yia Cookies because none of us kids could pronounce the real Greek name. But, they are amazing!
Creating cookies must be a fun job! How often do you experiment with new flavors?
Haha, all the time, sometimes maybe too much. Delaney always jokes around with me that I always have a “project going”. Sometimes he opens the fridge or freezer and he’ll be like, what is this?! Oh yeah that was my cake pops…or that was my buttercream candies…I constantly want to make new stuff. And I don’t always have time because its usually just me in here, so when its busy I am just constantly baking and helping customers. But I do enjoy the free time I seldom have to come up with new items and flavors for the menu.
Beside being an organic bakery, Mimi’s Cookie Bar offers numerous choices for vegan and gluten-free options. Most bakeries only offer a few select items, but Mimi offers cookies, cupcakes and other delicious products. Are their any challenges to offering vegan and gluten-free options?
Yes, there are many challenges. Sometimes its hard to make something vegan, gluten free or both. It takes a lot of testing to have great vegan/gluten free options. We want our vegan/gluten free options to taste exactly or as close to the real thing as possible, and we have achieved this for our items that we do offer vegan and gluten free like our Cookies, Cupcakes, Cakes, Pies, Ice Cream, and Bagels. If it doesn’t taste good vegan/gluten free, we won’t offer it just to offer it. It has to taste great, that’s our first requirement.
Shortly after opening the bakery, you started offering cupcakes. What do you enjoy most about making cupcakes? Which flavor has been the most popular?
We didn’t have them at first and I honestly didn’t intend to. But, after opening the bakery I got asked by customers daily and weekly when and if I was going to offer cupcakes. After about 4 or 5 months, I realized the demand was there so I created our cupcake recipes and we have been selling them ever since. Cupcakes have a certain allure to them that other baked goods don’t. And I enjoy making cupcakes look pretty, you can’t always do that with a cookie. Our most popular cupcake flavor is our Carrot, and its my favorite flavor too.
Well I want know, do you have a favorite cupcake? Do you have a favorite frosting?
Believe it or not, I don’t love cupcakes as much as everyone else does haha. I do love making them and making other people happy with cupcakes, but it has never been my first choice for dessert. And when I was a little kid, I didn’t even eat frosting! I used to trade my brother for the cake and I’d give him the frosting, haha. But, I’ve grown up now and if I’m eating cupcakes my favorite flavor is our Carrot Cupcake and we serve it with our Vanilla Bean Buttercream. If I had to choose a favorite frosting flavor alone, it would be our Peanut Butter Buttercream without a doubt, I could eat that one plain!
Last question is about the Cookie Butter! Cookie Butter has been all the new rage in the past few months, and I know why! That stuff is straight up addicting. How did you decide to make a cookie butter? Is there a specific type of cookie you tried to base this on?
I made cookie butter on a whim actually. We just started making our Nut Butter Spreads, Banana Peanut Butter with Caramel Swirl, Espresso Vanilla Bean Almond Butter, Coconut Almond Butter, Butterscotch Peanut Butter to name a few so I was on a butter high. One of my regular customers stopped in and purchased a few jars of butter and mentioned, have you had the cookie butter before? This was the first I’d heard of it and she actually hadn’t ever had it either, but one of her co-workers was obsessed. With the name being “Cookie Butter” I wanted it on our shelves no matter what it was haha. So I googled it and did some research on what it actually was and then created a recipe for us. Cookie Butter was actually invented only in 2007 using a Dutch cookie named Speculoos Cookies. I have actually eaten cookies like this before so I knew the type of cookie they used to make the butter and the flavor profile. So I then created a similar cookie and a ratio to turn the cookies into butter.
Mimi’s cookie butter is not Vegan or Gluten-free but she said she plans on making some for next holiday season! I bought home a jar of her cookie butter and whipped up a recipe for cookie butter frosting! The cookie butter is smooth with a hint of cinnamon and nutmeg, it sort of reminds me of a snickerdoodle cookie!
Cookie Butter Frosting
Recipe makes 2 cups
¼ C Unsalted butter at room temperature
¼ C Salted butter at room temperature
1/3 C + 2 tsp Mimi’s Cookie Butter
1 ½ tsp Vanilla Extract
2 C Powdered sugar
1 tbsp Milk
- Combine butter and cookie butter and beat until smooth and creamy. Add vanilla extract.
- Slowly add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, adding the milk in between. If you desire a more creamy frosting, add additional milk 1 tsp at a time. Continue to beat until desired consistency.
- If you prefer a stronger taste of Cookie Butter, I suggest to add and additional tbsp of cookie butter, one at a time or even try a teaspoon of cinnamon.
If you aren’t in Mammoth anytime soon, you can find other variations of Cookie butter at your local grocery store or Trader Joes. Thanks for sharing your awesome baked goods Mimi! I highly suggest if you find yourself in Mammoth to stop by her bakery and at least pick up a few cookies.
Cookie’s make great Valentine’s day gifts! Mimi will be offering specials for your Sweetie!
Everyone local to Mammoth should know that we do deliver cookie grams and sweets for Valentine’s Day. We will also be doing a sale with Fab.com starting on Feb 3rd with tons of great Valentine’s Day items, like Red Velvet Fudge, Red Velvet cookies, Heart shaped cookies and more. Or people can always call the bakery and create a cookie for the special someone in their lives.