Words, photos and video by Olivia Bauso
Of all the cookies she's eaten in her life, Emily Nunn admits that none is better than good ole milk chocolate chip. So when she started her very own cookie company, it only seemed right that milk chocolate chip would be one of the first desserts on her table.
Emily launched Nunn’s Better Cookies last summer in Old Forge, NY at a local farmers market. Nunn’s Better Cookies offers classic cookies with a twist: the traditional chocolate chip is now salted, your grandmother’s molasses sports a lemon buttercream and the peanut butter sandwich cookie is fudge-filled-- a Reese’s lover’s dream. Emily's table has something for every taste.
“I like to eat baked goods, and you can’t eat them until you have them to eat,” Emily laughs. She continues, “Seriously, I’ve always, always, always loved cookies-- baking and eating them.” She found her way to the kitchen after her youngest child left the nest for college; Emily took a job in a Wegmans Bakery, but wanted to dive deeper into her culinary education, so she enrolled in the Culinary Arts Certificate program at MCC (which she completed in December!). Emily also has an MBA in Finance, and has relocated a number of times before finding her home in Rochester.
The journey to the perfect product was paved with tons of test driving. “When I started with the chocolate chip cookies, I made them probably ten different ways,” Emily says. She used family and friends as focus groups, asking them to compare the different cookies side-by-side and report on their favorites. Emily typically works recipes over and over before deciding on “the one,” using a combination of cookbooks and her experimental experience.
Emily’s uber-supportive family has also aided in sales, especially during their time in Old Forge: “I had my best sales when my kids were behind the table yelling, ‘We see you looking at these cookies!’” As a beginner in the farmers market/vendor circuit, it is comforting having the support of her husband and children. Emily adds, “It’s exciting having return customers who come back each week for their cookie fix. Really seeing the look on other peoples’ faces when they bite into the cookie is probably my very favorite part.”
When it comes to baking itself, Emily is drawn to it's exactness. "It's more of a science than a creative process," she proclaims while lining up cookies to be filled with ganache. While she can add her own spin on a recipe, the methods remain consistent-- something that can be perfected.
Emily is building Nunn’s Better Cookies slowly, and aims to have her cookies in storefronts around Rochester. She says, “I would definitely like this business to grow, and will be also working on growing my social media presence--” follow her on Instagram at @nunnsbettercookies. This summer, her cookies will be sold in a local bookstore in the Adirondacks in addition to her spot at the farmers market. Emily is also taking steps to move into a licensed kitchen like The Commissary where she can sell directly to customers.
Hear from Emily herself and watch her craftsmanship in action as we tour her home kitchen in the video below.
Nunn’s Better Cookies will be joining us at our upcoming April Brainery Bazaar along with other talented vendors. As always, the first 25 visitors will get a FREE tote bag with goodies from our vendors. Tickets are also still available for Courtney Craig's Tiny Weaver Workshop which will be happening during the Bazaar!