Tastemaker: Kitchen Millie
I have a serious sweet tooth. Although I love trying intricate and unique desserts, nothing beats a delicious homemade cookie. A few weeks back, I was introduced to Kitchen Millie, a two-bite cookie company created by Michelle Wax. I had the chance to taste the Caramel Renegade, a perfect mix of salty caramel and chewy snickerdoodle cookie.
I caught up with Michelle to learn more about Kitchen Millie, her favorite local restaurants, and what cookie she loves the most.
We love the concept behind Kitchen Millie – cookies! Where did your love of baking (and cookies) come from?
Each spring when I was in elementary school, my brothers and I would have a lemonade stand at the end of our street. Along with lemonade, we’d sell homemade two-bite chocolate chip cookies for 25 cents. We knew we could sell them for more, but our mom wouldn’t allow us to.
We’d spend hours baking these on the morning of the lemonade stand and I haven’t stopped since. I even use the chocolate chip cookie recipe we used all those years ago for our Unrivaled Classics today!
Though I have baked other desserts over the years, cookies were always my favorite and bring me back to those awesome times hustling with my brothers and mom as a kid.
Why did you name your company Kitchen Millie?
Great question! My grandmother’s name was Millie and was the absolute best baker and cook. I grew up helping her make pies and pierogis, rolling out the crust or kneading the pierogi dough for what seemed like hours at the time.
Not only was my grandmother a terrific baker, she was an extremely strong woman who spoke her mind and always did the right thing. Kitchen Millie is a tribute to her not only as a baker, but as a great person and role model.
Do you have an all-time favorite cookie?
Oh my gosh – I love them all! I taste test each batch of cookies, so it’s hard not to.
It really depends on my mood. If I am craving chocolate, our Velvet Rush, in it’s red velvet chocolate chip glory, is my favorite. If I want a mix of salty and sweet, our Caramel Renegade, a snickerdoodle cookie packed with salted caramel, is my favorite. And if I’m in the mood for something a bit more unique, our Poppin’ Colonel, with buttered popcorn and white chocolate chips transitions into my favorite for the moment!
In your free time, what do you love to do? What does a perfect day in the Boston area look like to you?
I absolutely love exploring what the Boston, Cambridge, and Somerville areas have to offer. There’s always something to do whether it be a concert, beer tasting, or farmers market.
My ideal day (when I’m not baking!) would be taking a yoga class in the morning, grabbing a hot Americano from True Grounds in Somerville, riding my bike down to the Charles and kayaking for the afternoon. Dinner or drinks with friends in the evening is the perfect cap to the day.
What are you favorite local restaurants / food companies?
For restaurants, Panza in the North End and Posto in Davis Square – can you tell I love Italian food? They thoroughly impress me each time I visit and can you really beat a $20 bottle of wine in the North End?
I also love Union Square Donuts. They have such a great brand and their donuts are to die for, especially the pure bliss that is their Maple Bacon donut.
Do you have a favorite cafe / bakery?
Star Bakery in Whitesboro, New York. It’s this tiny, old fashioned bakery that is very no-nonsense. You walk in, grab a ticket, and wait for your turn. They package everything in a white paper bag and you’re on your way.
They don’t have all the frills of more modern bakeries and cafes, but their product is damn good. All other rye bread is ruined for me, as it doesn’t taste nearly as good as Star Bakery rye bread.
What inspires you? When you are baking, do you listen to any music / have any rituals that keep you motivated and inspired?
While waking up at 5am may not be most people’s idea of a fun morning, I really do enjoy getting up to bake – as long as I have two things, coffee and Beyonce. With this combination, I’m ready to take on the day.
I’m often inspired by things I see in my day to day or conversations I have with people. Whether it be a suggestion to add a cookie infused with balsamic, incorporate a certain item into our packaging, or a new way of spreading the word about Kitchen Millie – I’m always open to trying new things. The idea to clasp our bags with a clothespin came from just walking down the street and seeing a clothesline with a few clothespins dangling off.
Once I’m an hour or two into the baking process, I generally switch to country music. Jake Owen and Eric Church are my go-to artists. Rolling each cookie is very calming to me, so I get into a rhythm where I can crank out dozens upon dozens of cookies for hours without a sweat.
In three years, where do you see yourself?
I’d love to expand the Kitchen Millie brand to a brick-and-mortar that offers pairings to our two-bite cookies and expands on the two-bite concept beyond cookies. In addition, upping our distribution so that customers across the country can experience Kitchen Millie is something we can’t wait to explore!
Photo credit: Kitchen Millie