FREE Gourmet Cookies! Believe it…


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The rapidly expanding world of kosher food


Kosher retail market represents upwards of $13 billion in annual sales

By David Sax
Business Week

The throng inside the Meadowlands Exposition Center — Israeli women in long skirts, Hasidim in floor-length coats, Wal-Mart buyers in Dockers — might have struck some as the casting call for a Mel Brooks movie. However, the crowd had come to Secaucus, N.J., in late October for the annual extravaganza known as Kosherfest, a two-day trade show connecting kosher food buyers and sellers from across the globe. Though the event is still dominated by marquee brands of High Holidays past — Empire Kosher chicken, Streit’s matzos, Gold’s horseradish — a swarm of rabbis mobbed booths featuring the latest converts to the rapidly expanding world of kosher food: frozen spring rolls, Canadian hemp oil, Glenmorangie Scotch, and Ed Hardy tequila in an ornately decorated bottle with a skull stopper.

Kosher was once a set of rules that Jews observed primarily in the home. Meat was ritually slaughtered by local rabbis, bread was bought from kosher bakeries, and everything was cooked according to the Biblical laws of kashrut. As processed and packaged foods replaced homemade matzo balls, though, kosher consumers began to demand more variety. Starting in the 1930s, brands such as Coca-Cola have increasingly obliged by pursuing kosher certification agencies to bestow their products with a hechsher, or stamp of approval. Now the kosher retail market, which represents upwards of $13 billion in annual sales, according to Brooklyn (N.Y.) marketing firm Lubicom, even includes certain foods — such as chocolate Easter bunnies—that many Jews might never eat. Says Sue Fishkoff, author of Kosher Nation: “Today, one-third to one-half of the food in a typical American supermarket is kosher.”

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The business of becoming kosher remains tightly regulated by certification agencies. Such groups are built around the work of a mashgiach — a hybrid of a Talmudic scholar and a Food and Drug Administration inspector who supervises food production to ensure everything is kosher. That means overseeing the slaughter and cooking processes of meat and fish, ascertaining that each ingredient entering a plant is inscribed with the hechsher, and keeping kosher food production separate from that of non-kosher food.

As the desire for kosher products has grown, so has the mashgiach business. “The number of certification agencies has exploded,” says Rabbi Yosef Wikler, editor of Brooklyn-based Kashrus Magazine, which tracks the kosher certification industry. “Thirty years ago there were 18, but now there are 1,063 kosher certification organizations around the world. In America alone there are 600.” Wikler estimates the U.S. kosher certification business is now a $200 million-a-year industry.

At the top of the kosher food chain is Manhattan-based OU Kosher, a division of the Orthodox Union, a kashrut powerhouse that supervises and certifies production in more than 6,000 plants in 77 countries. It employs 75 full-time mashgichim and a small army of advising rabbis. While the OU’s stamp appears on everything from AriZona Iced Tea drinks to Nabisco cookies and Tootsie Roll candies, its real growth comes from the phenomenon of trickle-down koshernomics. An ingredient supplier hoping for a contract with a kosher-certified Big Food outfit must first submit to the strictures of kashrut. “It’s a domino effect,” says Rabbi Moshe Elefant, OU’s executive rabbinic coordinator and chief operating officer. “When you have Pillsbury or General Mills going kosher, you’re talking about thousands of ingredients made by hundreds of companies in thousands of plants, each of which needs to be certified.”

The process doesn’t come cheap. Companies that make a single product with an approved list of kosher-certified ingredients require only a few inspections per year. Factories that make both kosher and nonkosher products in the same plant — or those that develop new products from numerous ingredients — require extra supervision. This can involve weekly or even daily inspections that drive annual costs into the hundreds of thousands. Brooklyn’s OK Kosher, OU’s fiercest competitor, certifies 20 new companies each week, many of which are ingredient producers. Rabbi Chaim Fogelman, a spokesman for OK Kosher, estimates the agency is growing at around 15 percent annually.

As a result, supermarket shelves now groan under the weight of kosher offerings. A recent addition, James Tea, a maker of tea concentrates in Painesville, Ohio, converted this fall after being courted by a kosher-certified whiskey brand to make an alcoholic tea. Faced with the choice to certify his own product or risk losing the business, James Tea owner James Kekelis paid Cleveland Kosher just over $2,000 for a hechsher and rushed to open a booth at Kosherfest.

As the food industry’s supply lines have spread globally, the business of kosher certification has followed the diaspora. Kosher agencies currently compete to certify artificial flavors in Thailand, canned tuna in the Philippines, packaged olives in Egypt, and a staggering number of additives in China. “Picture the sight of one of our rabbis riding up a Tibetan mountainside on a donkey,” says Rabbi Menachem Genack, OU’s chief executive officer. “Why’s he there? Because there was a shortage of casein — a milk-derived protein used in processed foods. Someone was extracting the protein from yak milk in Tibet, and we had to be there to certify it!”

Those in charge of kosher certification point out that, despite the industry’s growth, most organizations remain nonprofit. While 90 percent of OU’s funding comes from kosher certification fees, profits are funneled back into community organizations. “Kosher agencies aren’t making billions,” says Rabbi Elefant, holding up the lapels of his rumpled suit. “If we were making billions, I wouldn’t look the way I look.
Order some fresh baked certified Kosher dairy cookies now at http://www.gjcookies.com
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Cook’s Corner Recipe: Italian Chocolate Spice Cookies


From Linda Cicero’s Cook’s Corner

COOKIES

ITALIAN CHOCOLATE SPICE COOKIES

• 4 ½ cups flour

• ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably dark)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons ground cloves

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1 cup (2 sticks) butter

1 ½ cups granulated sugar

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

3 eggs

About 3/4 cup milk

1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

½ cup raisins (optional)

½ cup chocolate chips (optional)

GLAZE

3 cups confectioners’ sugar

3 tablespoons milk

2 teaspoons vanilla or ½ teaspoon almond extract

In a large bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa, baking powder, soda, salt and spices to blend. In another bowl, beat the butter and both sugars with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs. Gradually add the flour mixture alternately with the milk, using just enough milk to make a dough that can be formed into balls but is not sticky. Stir in nuts, raisins and chocolate chips.

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Form dough into 1-inch balls and place an inch apart on greased or parchment-lined cookie sheets. Do not flatten. Bake 8 to 10 minutes. Cool on wire racks.

To make glaze, measure confectioners’ sugar into a bowl. Add the milk a tablespoon at a time, mixing with a fork. Mix in the extract. Dip tops of cookies in glaze and allow to harden before storing. Makes about 8 dozen cookies.

Per cookie: 74 calories (32 percent from fat), 2.7 g fat (1.4 g saturated, 0.7 g monounsaturated), 10.8 mg cholesterol, 1.2 g protein, 11.6 g carbohydrates, 0.4 g fiber, 50 mg sodium.

Order some fresh baked gourmet cookies right now at http://www.gjcookies.com

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Recipes: Basic sugar cookies, plus sprinkles, dipped shortbread and marshmallows


Very Vanilla Sprinkle Cookies, Chocolate-Toffee Shortbread Fingers, Marshmallow Treat Black and Whites

Sugar cookies hold up well to holiday decorations, said local baker Cheryl Bowman, who co-owns Pat-A-Cakes & Cookies Too with Tricia Perkinson. Flat, completely baked cookies are the best to decorate.

Under-baked cookies will likely fall apart, said Bowman, and decorations might not adhere well to bumpy chocolate chip or raisin-studded cookies.

“If your cookie isn’t flat,” she said, “then buttercream icing is probably the way to go.”

Basic Sugar Cookies

Makes 2 to 3 dozen

3/4 cup shortening (or use part butter)

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1/2 teaspoon lemon flavoring

21/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1. Combine the first 4 ingredients in mixer bowl and beat until creamy. Add the next 3 ingredients and stir well. Chill dough for at least 1 hour.

2. On a floured surface, roll dough to 1/8-inch thick. Cut out cookies using desired cookie cutters and place on ungreased cookie sheet.

3. Bake for approximately 6 to 8 minutes at 400 degrees. When cooled, decorate as desired.

From Cheryl Bowman

Very Vanilla Sprinkle Cookies

 

Makes 48

4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

13/4 cups sugar

2 large eggs

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup sour cream

For the decoration:

2/3 cup colored sprinkles or nonpareils

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

1/3 cup heavy cream, plus more if necessary

11/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line several baking sheets with parchment paper or spray with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.

3. Place the butter and sugar in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer on medium until well combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice as necessary, 2 to 3 minutes.

4. Add the eggs and 1 tablespoon vanilla and beat on medium until combined. Beat in half of the flour mixture on low until just incorporated. Beat in the sour cream. Beat in the remaining flour mixture until just combined.

5. Use a small ice-cream scoop or heaping tablespoonful to drop mounds of dough 3 inches apart onto the baking sheets. (The dough can be frozen at this point.) With moistened palms, flatten the mounds into 11/2-inch disks.

6. Bake the cookies until the centers are firm and the edges are just lightly golden, 11 to 14 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheets and then carefully slide the parchment paper with the cookies to a wire rack and let them cool completely.

7. Make the decoration: Place the sprinkles in a shallow bowl. To make the icing, put the confectioners’ sugar, the 1/3 cup of cream and the 11/2 teaspoons vanilla in a small bowl and whisk together until smooth. (The icing should be loose enough to spread with a spatula but not so loose that it runs off of the cookies; add more cream if necessary until the proper consistency is reached.)

8. With a small metal offset spatula, spread the icing over each cookie. Working over the bowl, scatter the sprinkles heavily over half of each cookie, letting extra sprinkles fall back into the bowl. Let the cookies stand until the icing is set, about 30 minutes.

Cook’s note: Very Vanilla Sprinkle Cookies will keep, layered between parchment paper in an airtight container at room temperature, for up to three days.

From “Cookie Swap” by Lauren Chattman (Workman, $14.95)

Chocolate-Toffee Shortbread Fingers

Makes 48

1/2 cup toasted and cooled pecans, coarsely chopped

3/4 cup Heath Bits ‘O Brickle Toffee bits or Skor or Heath bars, coarsely chopped

1 bag (12 ounces) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

4 packages (8.8 ounces each) Walkers Pure Butter Shortbread Fingers (48 cookies total)

1. Line a few baking sheets with parchment paper. Combine the nuts and toffee bits in a shallow bowl.

2. Combine the chocolate and oil in a small microwave-safe bowl. Heat the chocolate in the microwave on high until melted, 30 seconds to 1 minute, depending on the strength of your microwave. Stir until smooth.

3. Hold a cookie by one end and dip it into the chocolate, turning, to coat three quarters of the cookie; let the excess drip back into the bowl. Hold the cookie over the bowl of nuts and toffee bits and sprinkle some of the mixture onto the chocolate-coated top and sides of the cookie. Place the cookie on a prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining cookies. Let the cookies rest until the chocolate is set, about 30 minutes.

Cook’s note: Chocolate-Toffee Shortbread Fingers will keep at room temperature in an airtight container for up to three days.

From “Cookie Swap” by Lauren Chattman (Workman, $14.95)

Marshmallow Treat Black-and-Whites

 

Makes 36

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 package (10.5 ounces) mini marshmallows

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, divided

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 cups puffed rice cereal

11/3 cups confectioners’ sugar

1/2 cup heavy cream, divided, plus more as needed

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

1/4 cup heavy cream

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon light corn syrup

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. To make the marshmallow treats, line a baking sheet with heavy-duty aluminum foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Spray a large offset spatula as well. Line a few baking sheets with wax paper and set aside.

2. Melt butter in a large saucepan over low heat. Add the marshmallows, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and salt and stir with a rubber spatula until smooth. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the rice cereal to coat it.

3. Turn the mixture out onto the foil-lined baking sheet and use the prepared offset spatula to spread it into a thin 12-inch square. Let cool completely.

4. When the large marshmallow treat is cooled, lift it, still on the foil, from the baking sheet and transfer it to a cutting board. Use a 2-inch round cutter to cut it into 36 circles. Transfer the circles to the wax paper-lined baking sheets.

5. Make the “vanilla” icing by whisking together the confectioners’ sugar, 1/4 cup heavy cream and lemon juice in a small bowl until smooth, whisking in additional cream, 1 teaspoon at a time, if necessary to make a spreadable but not runny icing. With a small metal spatula, spread the icing on 1/2 of each treat. Let stand 15 minutes to set.

6. To make the chocolate icing, combine the chocolate, 1/4 cup heavy cream and corn syrup in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high until the chocolate is just melted, 30 seconds to 1 minute, depending on the strength of your microwave. Whisk until smooth. Whisk in 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. If necessary, let the icing stand for a few minutes until it is thick enough to spread. You should be able to smooth it easily over the cookies, but it shouldn’t be so loose that it runs down the sides.

7. Spread the chocolate icing on the other half of each treat. Let stand until both icings are fully set, at least 1 hour.

Cook’s note: Marshmallow Treat Black-and-Whites will keep, layered between wax paper, at room temperature for up to five days.

Order some fresh baked gourmet cookies today http://www.gjcookies.com

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New London area volunteers make 14,000 cookies for U.S. troops in Afghanistan


By Carolyn Lange
West Central Tribune
Updated: 10/19/2010 07:04:15 AM CDT

The word “unbelievable” was uttered repeatedly as volunteers showed up Monday morning at Peace Lutheran Church in New London and saw tables overflowing with chocolate chip cookies.

Bags, boxes, tins and ice cream buckets full of chocolate chip cookies were stacked three and four deep on tables and on the floor.

The aroma in the room was amazing.

It took the 40 volunteers about two hours to pack 14,000 cookies into 120 large boxes that will be flown to Afghanistan and given to U.S. troops serving there.

“I just think this is wonderful, this turnout of people and cookies,” said Ardis Lais as she transferred cookies into travel-sturdy containers that were then packed into cardboard boxes.

The cookies will travel from New London to Minneapolis today and be loaded on a Delta Airlines charter plane that is also carrying Minnesota military members who are heading to a new deployment in Afghanistan.

A separate box with 800 chocolate chip cookies was packed just for those troops to eat while on the plane to Afghanistan.

In each box of cookies there is a written message of support and a prayer for the troops’ safe return.

Attached to the exterior of each box is a bright orange note that says “cookies for troops in support of Ryane Clark.”

Clark, a 22-year old U.S. Army private first class, was killed earlier this month.

Sunday following the funeral in New London.When it became obvious that more than enough cookies would be donated, the decision was made to up the ante and ship as many cookies as possible.

At least 2,000 cookies were served Sunday. Another 14,000 are being sent to troops in Ryane Clark’s memory, including local members of the military — and some of Clark’s classmates — who are currently deployed.

“Operation chocolate chip cookies has far exceeded our expectation of everything,” said Becky West, president of the American Legion Auxiliary for Unit 537 in New London, which organized the effort. “And what a wonderful tribute to Ryane, and also to this community.”

Besides New London and Spicer, cookies came from places like Willmar, Belgrade, Olivia, Pennock and Paynesville.

“It is just amazing and what a great way to bring together the community,” West said.

Volunteers from the Knights of Columbus and Lions got together Sunday night at West Central Industries. Using ingredients the volunteers purchased, the group of 11 made 3,000 cookies that they brought to the church Monday, already boxed up and ready to be sent.

Members of Tripolis Lutheran Church in Kandiyohi gathered at there to bake cookies and donated 39 dozen.

The mother of Army Sgt. Joshua Schmit, a Willmar man who was killed while on duty in 2007, also brought cookies to send to the troops, said Sue Anderson, another auxiliary member who fought back tears.

“All of the cookies are going with a message of support and thanks, and we just want all of those soldiers that eat these cookies to know that we love them and that our prayer is that they return to their families soon,” West said.

The Delta flight will take the military members and the cookies to a military base where the cookies will be loaded onto a military plane. They are expected to arrive Wednesday in Afghanistan.

And then, said West, “operation cookie eating frenzy will begin.”

Want to send some fresh baked cookies to our troops?  Visit http://www.gjcookies.com

The call for donated cookies was initially made to fill the request of Clark’s family that chocolate chip cookies be served

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How To Get More Referrals From Your Clients


Cookie Assortment

Cookie Assortment

Referral marketing is a process for promoting your product or service to prospective customers via recommendations from your existing customers or associates.  Most people get advice before making a purchase. The goal of your referral marketing program is to increase the likelihood that decision makers will receive advice to select your product and/or service to address their needs and concerns.

Most people get advice before making any kind of purchase. The goal of your referral marketing program is to increase the likelihood that decision makers will receive advice to consider and select you and your product or service to address their needs.

There are five key elements to launching any good referral marketing program. The first is gaining deep insights into how the decision maker prefers to buy. The next is developing a referral marketing strategy for reaching the right people at the right time in a way that induces them to act. The third is nurturing the relationships and developing the tactics you will require to execute the referral marketing strategy. The fourth step is sending FRESH baked gift of gourmet COOKIES from Gimmee Jimmy’s Cookies and Bakery. The fifth step is monitoring and measuring success of your program.

The process of getting quality introductions begins the moment you meet people. You must be like a detective and look for clues as to small groups of people that they know. The right to ask for the introductions can be set up in the very beginning.

“John and Mary, you haven’t seen a tremendous amount of television advertising about our company, have you? The reason we don’t spend millions of dollars in advertising is we have chosen to build our business on word-of-mouth introductions. When we have satisfied your needs with our product, done the job and you are totally thrilled with what our company has done for you, would you have challenges with what our company has done for you, would you have challenges with me asking for an introduction to a few other people I might serve?”

Now asking John and Mary for an introduction to a few people, that you might serve is always going to be a lot easier if you have done something to make yourself stand out. Of course it goes without saying that you will have to have acted in a professional manner and provided the very best service to John and Mary, as referenced in the example above.

So what you can do to make yourself stand out with your clients? You can send them a gift of your appreciation after you make the sale. An example of a unique gift is to use an assortment of cookies. Of course you want to us only the best gourmet cookies as you want your clients to be very impressed with the cookies you send them. So imagine this, you just provided the most excellent service to a client, the client reacted to you by making a purchase. A couple of days have gone by since your client made that investment with you in your product or service, then the doorbell rings at their home, they are standing at the front door is a man dressed in brown, it is the UPS driver. He hands them a box which your client signs for. Sitting at their kitchen table they open the box and what do they find inside? You guessed it, a gorgeous array of delicious fresh-baked cookies.

Along with the cookies is a personalized gift note that says “thank you for the opportunity to serve your needs I really enjoyed working with you. I look forward to working with you in the future. Who do you know that could benefit from my services?” As they are reading the note you receive an e-mail in your email inbox, letting you know that John and Mary have just received their box of cookies. So you quickly dial them up on your phone and get John On the line. Hello John this is Steve how are you? John is having a little trouble responding to your question, why? Because he’s enjoying a fresh-baked cookie.

So without further adieu you go straight into your referral presentation whereby you ask the question of who does he know that could benefit your services? at that point, of course, it’s very difficult for John to do anything other than provide you with a name or several names and numbers for you to contact about making a presentation.

As you know, calling someone on the phone and being able to give them the reference of a person whom they now is in almost all cases much more productive than calling or contacting someone without an introduction. Growing your business through referrals is always one of the best ways to grow your business. People by their very nature will almost feel completely at ease with you if their friend has referred to.

When choosing a company to work with that will properly deliver the gift portion of your referral program is a very import part of how you will proceed. You want to choose a company with a long history of success serving many clients and serving them well. You want a product that when delivered to your client, makes a great impression.

A company I have found that does an excellent job at delivering a fantastic high quality product two your customers or a referral program like the one I just described is Gimmee Jimmy’s and Bakery in Hawthorne, New Jersey. they have a website which is <a target=”_new” rel=”nofollow” href=”http://www.gjcookies.com”>http://www.gjcookies.com</a&gt; and they can be reached toll-free at 1-800-454-6697.

Your clients and business associates are grateful for the presents they receive and will think of you rather than the competition for a proven Return-On-Investment.

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Daily Dish


The inside scoop on food in Los Angeles

Your recipe for the day: Walnut praline shortbread cookies

Walnut praline shortbread cookies

Walnut praline shortbread cookies

Praline

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup heavy cream

In a small, heavy-bottom saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the brown sugar, sugar, butter and honey. Stir until the mixture comes to a boil, then whisk constantly for 3 minutes. Remove from heat, cool for 1 minute, then slowly whisk in the cream. This makes about one-half cup praline base.

Shortbread and assembly

2 cups (8.5 ounces) flour

2 cups (7.3 ounces) walnuts

1/2 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup (1.2 ounces) cornstarch

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened, plus extra for buttering the pans

1 cup plus 2 teaspoons (7.7 ounces) sugar

Praline base

1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts

1. In the bowl of a food processor, blend together the flour, walnuts, salt and cornstarch until finely ground and fully combined.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large bowl using a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until combined and just fluffy.

3. Fold the dry ingredients into the butter mixture until completely combined.

4. Halve the mixture and roll each half into a log about 1 3/4 inches thick (the diameter of the log should match the diameter of the base of the mini-muffin molds). Roll the logs tightly in plastic wrap or parchment paper and refrigerate until chilled and solid, at least 1 hour.

5. Heat the oven to 375 degrees and grease the mini-muffin pans. Unwrap 1 log at a time and cut crosswise into about one-third inch coins. Place each coin in a greased mini-muffin mold, and repeat until all of the molds are filled. If you haven’t yet used all of the dough, chill the remaining dough until ready to cut.

6. Using a half-teaspoon spoon measure, make an indentation in each shortbread coin. Fill each shortbread coin with one-half teaspoon of the praline base, then sprinkle over some of the chopped walnuts.

7. Bake each tray until the shortbread is set and golden brown, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove and cool slightly before unmolding. Repeat with the remaining dough.

Each of 36 cookies: 152 calories; 2 grams protein; 16 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 9 grams fat; 4 grams saturated fat; 14 mg. cholesterol; 9 grams sugar; 42 mg. sodium.

Order some fresh baked gourmet cookies today at http://www.gjcookies.com

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