Vegan Cookies Take the Cake
by brett graff
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: Om Nom Nom Cookies’ chocolate chip; Ginny Bakes’s Double Chocolate Happiness; Elsylee Galetes Artesánals’ New York, Sevilla, and New Delhi; Ginny Bakes’s Coconut Oatmeal Bliss; and Elsylee’s Habana.
Move over, milk. Your crunchy sidekicks—yes, cookies—are getting a “bakeover,” Miami style. Whether vegan, organic and artisanal, gluten-free, or even kosher, they’re all delicious.
“I felt there wasn’t anything on the market that used only clean ingredients,” says Ginny Simon, the 48-year-old founder of Ginny Bakes. She was working as a holistic nutritionist when her clientele began clamoring for her homemade cookies. Today, her company bakes gluten-free creations like Double Chocolate Happiness and Naked Love butter crisps from an industrial kitchen here in Miami, and distributes them to The Fresh Market and Whole Foods Market.
“I wanted to create a mindful indulgence,” says Simon, whose husband quit his law practice to join the company (one son is soon to follow). “I want to leave the world a better place.”
Anthea Ponsetti, the 34-year-old founder of Om Nom Nom Cookies, couldn’t agree more. After the vegetarian turned vegan, she found the dessert options paltry. So the culinary veteran took to the oven, with flavors like orange-zested chocolate chip, spicy Mexican snickerdoodle, and cranberry-walnut-oatmeal.
The company, whose nine employees are also artists or musicians, sells online to more than 30 clients and is partnering with Human Healthy Vending, a certified environmentally responsible healthy-foods vending machine company, to provide cookies for all of its South Florida locations. “It’s not just about selling cookies,” Ponsetti says. “It’s about leaving a good imprint.”
And a tastier one, if you ask Elsylee Colon, who owns Elsylee Galetes Artesánals. After working for a Manhattan catering company, Colon decided the cupcake market was tapped, but not cookies. She revamped family recipes into sophisticated organic treats named after cities reflecting their ingredients and origins—the St. Martin is made with a Cordon Rose guava and raspberry conserve, while the Sicily blends anise, citrus, dark chocolate, and Chianti.
“We’ve had offers from the bigger chains,” says Colon. “But I like having a boutique operation. I like being hands-on.” Ginny Bakes, 3535 NW 60th St., Miami, 305-638-5103; Om Nom Nom Cookies, Miami, 786-351-2284; Elsylee Galetes Artesánals, Miami, 305-213-6523
photography by william brinson
Cover shoot: Behind the scenes with Pitbull for the October 2014 issue of Ocean Drive magazine.