A freshly baked cookie that has just emerged from the oven is at its peak of perfection and has an allure that’s incomparable to those that are even a few hours removed.
For Novato resident Jessica Entzel Nolan, a pastry chef who has spent 15 years working in the kitchens of fine-dining restaurants and was an evaluator for the Michelin Guide, a cookie at its warm and melty best should be at the ready any time.
Nolan has just launched the solution with Doughpamine, her gourmet, frozen, oven-ready cookie dough rounds that are packaged by the dozen and available now at 30 Bay Area grocery stores.
“It’s a whole new category, and the best way to have a cookie,” Nolan says about her fresh-to-frozen-to-oven-to-table preparation that mimics the way cookies are made in the restaurant kitchens where she’s worked. “The result is crispy on the outside and gooey in center.”
Miso Peanut Butter and Rhapsody Road (marshmallow-studded dark cocoa and almond cookies with crispy milk chocolate sprinkles) can be found in freezer cases now, and Salty Chocolate Chunk and Blueberry Corn are rolling out in mid-November with the launch of direct-to-consumer sales.
The cookies are made with premier ingredients used in two- and three-Michelin star establishments including Valrhona chocolate, Cacao Noel Black Cocoa Powder, Maldon sea salt and “crispy pearls,” which she likens to a “Kit Kat bar if it was a sprinkle.” She notes that each cookie engages and balances three flavor receptors on the tongue. When you eat it, “(your) mouth is amused by the cookie, not just cloying with sweetness,” she says.
Nolan grew up in North Dakota, where her mother belied the state’s reputation for poor marks on food.
“My mom was a fantastic cook, and wanted to go to culinary school,” says Nolan, adding that she is vicariously living her dream through her daughter’s experiences.
Nolan went to Le Cordon Bleu in Minneapolis, did an internship under a master chef in Tours, France, and held pastry chef positions with notable chefs such as Masaharu Morimoto, Wolfgang Puck, Gordon Ramsay and Jean-Georges Vongerichten that brought her to New York, Napa and San Francisco.
Rhapsody Road is one of the flavors of Doughpamine. Photo by Monica Lo
She was nominated for Food and Wine magazine’s best new pastry chef and Zagat’s 30 under 30 list and is a winner of Food Network’s “Cutthroat Kitchen.” She also worked in culinary research and development at food tech startups Eatsa and Sprig.
But the best job she ever had in her life, she says, was eating at the finest restaurants in the world as a senior inspector for the Michelin Guide.
“I feel like (Doughpamine) is the culmination of all of my experiences,” says Nolan about her current venture that fits with motherhood and effectively relies on the proficiencies gleaned in restaurant kitchens and in business.
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The cookies are made by Nolan at an existing cookie dough factory in Santa Clara, and she’s working with a distributor in Penngrove. The packaged dough be found in the freezer cases at Mollie Stone’s Markets and Woodlands Market in Marin as well as throughout the Bay Area. For more information and a store finder (coming soon), go to doughpamine.com.
A hot cup of Mad Dandy
Marty Friedman, co-founder of Sausalito-based coffee alternative Mad Dandy, found that the caffeine buzz he was accustomed to pre-pandemic needed some serious adjustment when he found himself restricted to home confinement during lockdown.
How could he maintain the warmth and comfort of a tasty ritual and get a little energy boost while losing the caffeine jitters and subsequent crash?
Eric Toizer, left, and Marty Friedman, of Mad Dandy’s team, at the Marin Country Mart farmers market in Larkspur. Courtesy of Mad Dandy
Friedman started tinkering with alternatives and zeroed in on dandelion root, which is known as an effective, nutrient-rich caffeine substitute. He added chicory root for its roasted, coffee-like taste and mixed in immune system supportive and anti-inflammatory mushrooms (chaga, reishi and lion’s mane) and cordyceps. He then enhanced the flavor with chai, peanut butter powder, turmeric and Turkish coffee.
The result is described as a nutty, rich and creamy latte-like drink with a little bit cocoa and chicory flavor that’s both slightly sweet and bitter and froths up nicely on its own or more with touch of milk. It has a quarter of the caffeine of regular brewed coffee (or there’s a decaffeinated variety), and there’s no brewing involved. Just put two heaping scoops in a cup and add boiling water.
When Friedman’s tasters gave the blend a thumb up, he joined up with friends and fellow Marin residents Josh Denberg, who is handling the marketing, Eric Toizer, who does the finance piece, and Seth Steinberg, who manages the legal side, to create the Mad Dandy brand.
You can find it at Driver’s Market in Sausalito, every other Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Marin Country Mart farmers market in Larkspur and online at maddandy.com, where you can purchase seven- or 30-day supply bags or a monthly subscription and read detailed information about the health benefits of Mad Dandy’s ingredients.
Leanne Battelle is a freelance food writer and restaurant columnist. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org with news and recommendations and follow on Instagram @therealdealmarin for more on local food and updates on the launch of The Real Deal Marin restaurant search guide.