We started using Lindley Mills flour when we bought in small quantities from the local Whole Foods Market. As we grew larger and larger, we started buying direct from the mill. While you won’t find them on any lists, I believe that Lindley Mill’s is among the oldest family owned businesses in America. Founded by Thomas Lindley in 1755, they were a business before we were a country. And while it was not in the family the entire time, Joe Lindley, Thomas’ decedent now runs the mill with his wife and daughter Caroline ready to carry on for another generation.
I could buy from a distributor, but there is something soulful about driving out to the country and picking up a load of flour from a mill located on a creek where the Revolutionary War Battle of Lindley’s Mill was fought in 1781. I included the background in a post I wrote, you’ll find the story here. Their flour is the basis for everything we make at Anna’s Gourmet Goodies and I’m confident they’ll be grinding wheat long after my earthly labors have ended.
We don’t use ‘cookie drops’, they are not chocolate. We’ve changed chocolate a few times over the years, but we’ve been using Ghirardelli chocolate chips in our cookies for a long time. We chose them some years ago because they were Feingold Certified, meaning that they did not use anything artificial or petroleum based in the product or the manufacturing process. We’ve tried others, but our taste-test panel consistently agrees that for our chocolate chip cookies, these are the best.
For our brownies, we use dark chocolate callets and rich cocoa powder from Barry Callebaut. We settled on these products several years ago after an exhausting blind taste test from several leading companies. Our brownies are rich, dark, with just enough moisture to make them the kind where you take a bite, close your eyes and savor the moment.
We use pure cane sugar in our regular cookies and brownies. We settled on Domino’s brand for consistent quality and the fact that they are non-GMO. Some granulated sugars come from beets, which are often genetically modified. While we don’t certify all our ingredients as non-GMO, we do try and stay away from these foods whenever we can.
We crack our own eggs. It is possible to buy eggs in a carton, but we still prefer the old-fashioned way of cracking and measuring by weight. Egg sizes vary with the season, so we make sure that every batch of cookies and brownies gets the exact same amount of real eggs.
We use real grade AA butter with no other ingredients, other than cream and salt. While some baker’s prefer unsalted butter, we started that way and have adjusted our recipe to reflect the salt in the butter. For us, the flavor comes out just right, so we’ll not be changing that any time soon.
We’ve always used pure vanilla extract in our cookies and brownies. Early on, we started buying gallons from a large, established, well-respected manufacturer when the cost was around $79. Over the years, the global vanilla bean shortage and natural disasters pushed the price of the pure vanilla to over $500 a gallon (no – that is not a misprint). Still, we refused to substitute an artificial product which could be had for under $10 a gallon.
As the vanilla bean supply stabilized and the global price began to fall, our long-time supplier chose not only to keep their price high but also make it harder for us to order the quantities we needed. After an exhaustive search of other manufacturers of pure vanilla, we were lucky enough to find Cook’s. Not only do they make a superior product, their values and passion for excellence align perfectly with Anna’s Gourmet Goodies. They treat their employees, their customers and their growers with a level of respect and kindness that is rarely found today.
Salt, baking soda and baking powder
We use non-iodized salt in our cookies and brownies. While there is no clear answer as to which is better, non-iodized salt means one less ingredient in our cookies. To make those cookies and brownies rise, we use baking soda and baking powder – probably the same thing your grandmother used from her cupboard.
Well, there you have it. The food ingredients that go into making cookies and brownies at Anna’s Gourmet Goodies. It is possible that some things may change slightly over time, but you can rest assured we are not going to compromise on what we put in our cookies and brownies.
“Okay” you say, “but what about sharing details behind the cookie or brownie recipe”? We’re going to have to hold back on that one for now. After all, that is a part of the magic.