From a simple chocolate chip to a French macaroon, homemade cookies can help make members feel special in many delicious ways.
Few things are more enticing than a freshly baked cookie. The smell alone can tempt even the strictest dieters.
“A really good cookie can give a member a sense of home,” says Rocio Varela, Pastry Chef at Bent Tree Country Club, Sunbury, Ohio. At Bent Tree, Varela is known for her Texas Gold cookies that are soft, chewy and chocolaty, almost like a brownie.
Bent Tree CC offers cookies to members daily, with a perfect and well-edited assortment gracing dessert tables for buffets and holiday events, too.
“Larger member functions are an excellent opportunity to try new cookie recipes, while still featuring the classics members have come to love,” says Varela.
Desere Hernandez, Pastry Chef at Westwood Country Club, Austin, Texas, agrees that including fresh-from-the-oven treats wherever possible—on buffets, for bridge games, in the men’s and women’s locker rooms, on dessert menus and as part of special events and banquets—can go a long way toward giving members a special sense of place.
“They love freshly baked cookies,” says Hernandez, who runs a 40% food cost. “I send them out just warm enough to pick up and enjoy. It’s almost like spoiling them in a way. It makes them happy.”
Like Bent Tree CC, cookies are a hot commodity at Westwood CC during the holidays. Ditto for wedding season.
“Tea cookies are popular for brunches and bridal showers,” says Hernandez, who has helped the club increase catering sales by offering specialty desserts as well as signature cakes for weddings and other occasions.
To reinvent classic cookies, Hernandez will start with a traditional recipe—chocolate chip, oatmeal, sugar, shortbread—then change the flavor by adding a spice or nuts. “A slight ingredient change can go a long way with a cookie’s flavor profile,” she says.
“Sometimes the easiest way to modify a classic cookie is by simply adding a little fresh zest or a spice,” she says. Incorporating seasonality into cookie concepts—such as pumpkin in the fall or fruits in the summer—can also produce popular creations, she adds.
“The ultimate goal,” Varella says, “is to achieve a good balance of kid-friendly, spicy, soft, crunchy, and savory cookies.”