Above: Toasted almond with raspberry preserves dusted with powdered sugar is just one several scratch-made shortbread creations by Carlsbad Cookie Company. Courtesy photo
CARLSBAD — The yum factor. The love factor. Combine the two and you’re munching on a scrumptious shortbread cookie from the Carlsbad Cookie Company.
Spearheaded by Hollie Chamberlain, this artisan shortbread, online bakery showcases desserts made from scratch “like mom and grandma made” with 100% all-natural ingredients purchased from Carlsbad’s local farmers.
An eclectic assortment of savory and sweet treats containing only the “finest local, sustainable and organic ingredients,” sport Chamberlain’s trademarked concept of farm-to-bakery processing.
Devoted to working directly with local farmers — “even to pick our own strawberries” — yearlong, seasonal, and limited-edition cookies are made to order and individually wrapped “to seal in that freshly baked goodness,” Chamberlain said.
Vegan and gluten-free cookies are also offered within its sundry collectibles. An artistic flair crowns colorful packaging along with personalized, handwritten greeting cards.
Triggered by a sense to offer Carlsbad tourists an edible gift emblematic of the “quaint seaside community,” Chamberlain said she trusted her instincts and deviated from the corporate world to fuse her business acumen with her love of baking and all things Carlsbad.
“I’ve been in love with Carlsbad since the day we met, she said. “I’m committed to supporting its rich agricultural history, its artisan crafts and its hometown hospitality. And I truly love to bake. Combining the two with my business experience just made sense.”
The baker learned how to incorporate seasonal berries, fruits and nuts from local farmers into her recipes. Ingredients that can be purchased locally are, and cookies are shaped like ranunculus flowers, Chamberlain’s “nod” to The Flower Fields of Carlsbad.
Nothing artificial is added, she said.
“Every morsel is made from all-things natural,” she said. “Red icing comes from beet juice and lemon extract is the zest and juice of organic lemons. There are no additives or preservatives. These cookies are not meant for a shelf-life.”
In addition to modernizing “Mom’s” shortbread recipe, Chamberlain created a myriad of flavored fillings. Savory handiworks include lemon/blueberry filled with lemon curd and a “hint” of thyme; blue cheese crammed with fig reserves and a shake of ground black pepper; and cheese brimming with olives.
Topping the bestseller list is a dark chocolate shortbread cookie swollen with caramel and sprinkled with sea salt.
The dessert chef began perfecting her “clever creations” as a child with an Easy-Bake Oven. Edible gift-giving, a cherished family tradition, earmarked the idea of pursing an adventure she said she’s studied her entire life for.
Chamberlain worked alongside famous chefs during her 18-year tenure in the wine and spirits industry. “Captured by their talent and commitment to their craft,” Chamberlain said she learned how to pair still and sparkling wines, champagnes and whiskeys with food. She described the endeavor as more of an art than a science, noting that shortbreads pair “beautifully” with each.
The longtime Carlsbad resident also reads cookbooks like they’re novels. More than 1,000 new and rare editions — void of measurements — grace her shelves. She said learning is a never ending and truly rewarding journey.
Donning a multi, “do everything,” business hat daily, baker whites are also worn every day, “sometimes into the wee hours of the morning.”
“I run a million miles a minute,” she said. “But I wouldn’t do it any other way. I’ve worked every facet of my business from the ground up to understand its every level. The Carlsbad Cookie Company is a reinvention that brought me full circle to doing what I love. I’m a pastry chef at heart.”
Plunging into a world of success, the artisan chef beams with pride.
“We’re a small village doing a big job,” she said. “And I’m proud of how far the we’ve come.”
The company’s community fundraising is also considered a cornerstone.
“Giving back to Carlsbad is a core business value,” she said.
Chamberlain plans on “being an integral part of Carlsbad” for a long time. Dreams include a future brick and mortar shop on a “cute little farm,” serving customers wine and spirits with shortbread treats.
“The Carlsbad Cookie Company is a memorable gift that shows you care,” she concluded. “Our best compliment — people love the taste of our cookies!”
The Carlsbad Cookie Company can also be found every Wednesday at the Carlsbad State Street Farmers Market.
Lucia Viti is a seasoned journalist, photojournalist and published author who covers all regions in feature and news reporting. Sporting a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from the University of West Virginia, she spent 20 years in New York in the fields of Public Relations, Advertising and Medical Communications. Her love for outdoor sports landed her in Carlsbad in 1999 where she segued into news and feature reporting. Her photographs are sold locally in artisan shops throughout the County.