Thursday, December 10, 2009

National Brownie Day is a Real Holiday?

I like to eat brownies. I also like to support local businesses and when those local businesses make brownies, I get an extra happy in my tummy.

Cheryl & Co. is a based in Columbus and they make brownies. Their cookies are the stuff of legend. They invited me their Headquarters December 8th to celebrate National Brownie Day and also to learn about their other companies, The Popcorn Factory and 1-800 Flowers. Which are companies I patronize already and had no idea were part of Cheryl & Co. I accepted their invite much to Husband’s delight.

Tip: I keep and reuse Cheryl & Co. and The Popcorn Factory’s sturdy and brightly printed cookie boxes, popcorn and cookie tins for wrapping small gifts. Experience gifts like tickets or membership paperwork look more significant when they come in a decorated tin. All you need to do is slap on a bow or ribbon and you’re done! Quick, pretty, reusable gift wrap. I like.
I saw how Cheryl & Co. make their famous cookies and brownies. The process is kind of like how you’d do it at home with real butter, eggs, and sugar but on a much bigger scale. I was impressed that Cheryl & Co. doesn’t add extra preservatives to their cookies and that they can still be frozen for up to six months.

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Cookies cooling and waiting for butter cream frosting



Unfortunately to do that means Cheryl & Co. seals each cookie in its own plastic wrapper. I asked if customers could buy them and not have them individually wrapped to reduce waste. The short answer is no. Other than for freshness the wrappers also list the cookie’s ingredients and keeps the flavors and ingredients from cross contaminating which is very important to those with food allergies.

They also told me Cheryl & Co. experimented with corn based plastic wrappers but the supplier went out of business. They can’t find a new supplier who can deliver the quantity and quality they need right now. I’m confident that if enough customers politely ask Cheryl & Co. to consider offering a less wasteful packaging option or organic or Fair Trade ingredients that good things will happen. After all that’s why Cheryl & Co. has sugar free and certified kosher cookies – because their customers asked for it.



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I still think they are heaven on a plate even with the extra wrapping.

We went into the Cheryl & Co. test kitchen where they showed us an example of a mood board they put together of this season’s color trends for the holiday (jewel tones, white and light blue, snowflakes, and snowmen.) Yes friends, mood boards aren’t just for decorating they also apply to baked goods.

They gave us recipes for amazing butter cream frosting, ganache, and chocolate dough cutouts. These aren’t Cheryl’s Top Secret recipes but ones they created just for us bloggers (feeling a little bit like a fancy pants now!) Then they let us have at it with pastry bags, cookie cutters, and the like.

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We rocked those hairnets! Oh yes we did.

Everyone created some very pretty chocolate bark cutouts and iced brownies.

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White chocolate bark with hand colored sugar sprinkles

Then there’s mine.

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I don’t get out much

But I do follow directions. I ate that brownie and it was delicious.

Even with the extra plastic packaging I think that Cheryl’s cookies and brownies make great gifts and a nice occasional treat (I’ve found a few more lower waste options when I’ve gone to an actual Cheryl & Co. store BTW.) I'm not just saying this because they gave me some free cookies either. It takes more than a free cookie to impress me. What really impressed me was that they listen to their customers and try to accommodate them as best they can (they have a whole separate bakery for the kosher items! Don't tell me it didn't a lot of extra effort.) Like I mentioned before, Husband and I were patrons of these companies long before I visited Cheryl's. In fact, Husband still sends me flowers via 1-800 Flowers when I have an office gig just because.

If you still need a Hanukkah, Christmas, or Solstice gift or just want to treat yourself,  Cheryl and Co is offering Condo Blues readers $10 off any purchase through January 31, 2010 if you use the code BRN10.


Cheryl & Co. Brownie Day Giveaway! *Closed*


Cheryl & Co. offered to sponsor a giveaway! The winner will receive The Cheryl & Co. Ultimate Brownie Assortment. That’s $50 worth of brownie love - yum!

To enter: leave a comment on Condo Blues telling me your favorite flavor brownie.You must leave your email address so I can contact you if you win or your entry will be disqualified. If your email address is available via your Blogger profile that counts.

You can earn extra chances to win by doing any of the following after you’ve made your initial comment on my blog:

1. Blog about my contest with a link back to Condo Blues. Please leave the URL of your blog post so I can verify it.

2. Subscribe to Condo Blues by Email.

3. Subscribe to the Condo Blues RSS feed.

4. Follow Condo Blues on Twitter AND tweet about the contest. Please leave your username and the URL of your tweet in your comment so I can verify it.

5. Put my Condo Blues button on the sidebar of your blog.

You must leave a separate comment for each method you used to enter the contest. If you choose to use every method of entry, you have up to six chances to win!

I will use a random generator to select the winner. The Cheryl & Co Brownie Day Give Away runs from December 10, 2009 – January 3, 1010 12 midnight EST. Good Luck!

Legal mumbo jumbo: This contest is open to US residents only. I will not share you email information any third parties. Cheryl & Co. did supply me with free sample products (how else can I tell you what they taste like?) but did not pay me to run this giveaway or say nice things about their products. All opinions are 100% my own and longtime readers know I can be very opinionated.

Update 1/2010: Congratulations to Deb who won the Ultimate Brownie Assortment!

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