Loren Brill, owner of the all-natural baking company called Sweet Loren's, dropped a walnut-sized ball of chocolate chip cookie dough onto a metal sheet. She promptly popped it into her mouth. (It seems even professional cookie dough-makers have a hard time resisting.)
On January 12, Brill beat four other finalists to win Rooster Design Group's second annual The Next Big Small Brand contest. She also won the People's Choice Award. Rooster will help launch her brand of frozen dough made from unprocessed and unrefined ingredients.
"My goal is to reach as many cookie monsters as possible," Brill said when I caught up with her recently at her home baking cookies.
It's easy to forget when eating Brill's gooey chocolate chip cookies that they don't have butter. I also tried the Chewy Oatmeal Cranberry and Bold Espresso Chocolate Chip cookies, as well as the Dark Double Fudge Brownies. Her frozen dough can be found at Whole Foods Columbus Circle store in New York and all three Union Markets in Brooklyn. By mid-February, cookie lovers will be able to buy her dough on her website.
Tell us about Sweet Loren's. The focus of Sweet Loren's is to be the most delicious all-natural baking company. Right now, we specialize in frozen cookie and brownie dough. We started focusing on frozen dough so people could eat baked goods the way we think they should be eaten, which is warm and fresh out of the oven with no preservatives.
Could you talk about the ingredients in your cookie dough? Sweet Loren's is based on all-natural, whole-food ingredients. We're not trying to be a diet cookie. We're not trying to be low-calorie. That's not the goal. The goal is to use whole foods that are unrefined and unprocessed. Instead of butter, I use coconut oil, which is one of my favorite ingredients.
Do you ever eat butter anymore? I actually do love butter. I love the taste of butter. In Sweet Loren's, I just want to use the healthiest ingredients and I think coconut oil has more health benefits than butter.
On your website, you talk about your recovery from cancer (Brill recovered from Hodgkin's lymphona in 2006). Your mother had cancer and that influenced the way you baked. Could you expand on that? She (my mother) had been battling a type of leukemia for 12 years. When I look back on my life—the last 12 years, my mother was always juggling Eastern and Western medicine and always trying to take care of herself through food. It made me really aware of hospitals, what hospitals served. I read books on nutrition.
I became a yoga instructor before I went to college when I was 18. I just became more connected to my body, so I really felt how I digested certain foods. Then I was diagnosed with Hodgkin's when I graduated from college at 22. It turned my world upside down.
I took a year off and had to go through treatment. When I did that, I was like, 'What am I going to do with this time? All right. I'll do what I love to do.' I took cooking classes. I just read about nutrition as much as possible and natural foods.
When did you start Sweet Loren's? 2006 was when I started playing around with recipes. I just became obsessed with tweaking them.
What's next for your company? What's next is to work with Rooster and create a strategic marketing plan to bring Sweet Loren's to the next level. I don't want to be a small brand. I want to reach as many people as possible and keep the quality of my product incredibly high.
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