By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
Many people fondly remember, adore, and revere the old-school packaged cookies that were cravings before and after the lunch bell rang. The taste of chocolate chip or even butter crunch cookies was something most couldn’t resist.
And while some still long for the authentic taste that’s so hard to find, Kelly Simmons has baked up the perfect recipe.
After owning a beauty salon for 13 years and then working as an educator in Jessup, Maryland, Simmons founded and opened Aunt Kelly’s Cookies, a bakery where customers brag that “you can taste the homemade goodness in every bite.”
“I only use the freshest, highest quality ingredients, and we bake on site every day to ensure that the cookies taste as fresh as they look,” Simmons remarked on the National Newspaper Publishers Association’s Live Morning Breaking News Program, “Let It Be Known.”
Located at 857 N. Howard Street in Baltimore, Aunt Kelly’s Cookies has earned acclaim for its butter crunch, chocolate chip, and butter pecan cookies. One of the more popular is the butter crunch and chocolate chip combination.
“That’s my favorite,” Simmons exclaimed. “I thought, ‘why hasn’t anyone put those two together?’ I wondered why they were never married.”
The combination proved so popular, Simmons included it in her “Cookie of the Month” selections. That wasn’t the only flavor customers – both in Baltimore and those ordering online – craved.
“I did another one called butter pecan, and I brought it out as a Cookie of the Month,” Simmons recalled. “When I took it away, my customers hounded me for almost eight months to bring them back.”
Simmons’ journey into the bakery business began in the 1980s as a young girl living in Baltimore, she said.
“I was in grade school, and like many of my peers, I would make sure I had change for buying butter crunch cookies. As the years passed, I searched for but could never find that same butter crunch taste I remembered,” she explained.
“That is until I started baking my own cookies in 1999. I had finally discovered the key ingredients that make this memorable cookie. I couldn’t wait to share my discovery with my family, and now I want to share that experience with everyone.”
While working as an educator, she noted that she’d sometimes bake cookies for her students, and they fell in love with the taste.
“I have had people from Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia tasting the cookies,” Simmons stated. “Where I am, the cookies follow me, and I share them with everyone. People say they remind me of the cookies they used to get in elementary school.”
So, what’s the secret?
“First of all, I hate tasting chemicals,” Simmons reflected.
“I’m trying to taste the same cookies that we tasted going back to my grandmother’s days. So, I stick to the basics like my grandmother showed me, and that’s why I make the cookies fresh every day. We mix and bake onsite each day so that our customers are getting the freshest and purest cookies.”
Simmons opened Aunt Kelly’s Cookies in 2018, and she said she “mixes every batch with love” using locally sourced ingredients, including Domino Sugar. Cookies are made daily from scratch to ensure they taste as fresh as they look. “We bake our last daily batch two hours before closing,” Simmons continued.
“Because of this, our customers say they taste like their grandmother’s kitchen and bring back feelings of nostalgia and happiness.”
Simmons has quickly established herself as a successful Black woman-owned business in the Baltimore area, and she said she could not wait to make Aunt Kelly’s Cookies a household name.
Aunt Kelly’s Cookies have already been voted a 5-star bakery in over 100 local reviews. She has expanded upon her famous butter crunch cookies and offers a variety of options.
While folks can order online, she still hopes to expand to other areas.
“I’d love to open up in D.C.,” Simmons said. “I sold some cookies there before, and people loved it. So, it’s my goal to open Aunt Kelly’s Cookies in D.C.”
To learn more about Aunt Kelly’s Cookies or to place an order, visit https://www.auntkellyscookies.com/.