Kitchen Millie Combats Cookie Fatigue With Two-Bite Treats
UPDATE, May 17: Kitchen Millie founder Michelle Wax has launched a Kickstarter to help fund a new kitchen and storefront. She has a month to raise $9,000, which she says will help her more than triple her current production capacity.
You’re on the way to your neighborhood farmers’ market to pick root vegetables and hardy greens for the week ahead when your stomach starts growling. Breakfast was hours ago, and there’s a few hours of roasting ahead before you sit down for a Sunday afternoon feast. You detour to the closest coffeeshop, envisioning a soft round speckled with chocolate chips. It’s a cookie you’re craving. When you peer into the bakery case, there are certainly options, but the Frisbee-sized discs are almost a challenge. Eat a whole one, and just try not to crash a half hour later.
Michelle Wax accepted such a challenge last summer. Then a 24-year-old tech startup account manager, she bought a cookie during a lunch break—it was nearly the size of her face—and took a few, delicious bites. But then she started to slow down. “Halfway through, you’re feeling just not great,” she says.
The sluggish afternoon that followed was the impetus for her to start her own two-bite cookie company, Kitchen Millie. “I’ve always been baking on the side, teaching myself throughout high school, college, and after. I’ve always wanted to start a business. I had actually been looking at what permits and licenses I would need for a long time; I just didn’t do it. I don’t know what my hesitation was, but that day I just decided to take a step forward and started getting the licensing and all that in motion.”
Wax’s line of treats, freshly baked in Somerville, is made with natural, local ingredients, including Wilson Farm (Lexington) eggs, Atlantic Saltworks (Salem) sea salt, King Arthur Flour, and Taza Chocolate from Somerville. No Kitchen Millie cookie clocks in at more than 75 calories, Wax says; the chocolate chunk cookies Starbucks sells, for comparison, are 370 calories.
The homemade recipes are inspired by Wax’s first entrepreneurial endeavor: A seasonal lemonade and cookie stand that she and her brothers operated as kids in their hometown of Dover. “It was back when Razor scooters just came out. My older brother would ride down on his Razor scooter, balancing cookies,” Wax says. The business is also inspired by her maternal grandmother, who Wax recalls as a great home baker and for whom Kitchen Millie is named.
Since last January, Kitchen Millie cookies have been among the options at SoWa in the South End, the Union Square and Assembly Row warm-weather farmers’ markets, and other pop-up events. She collaborated on a make-your-own cookiewich event with Gracie’s Ice Cream in Union Square, and also shared Bailey’s Irish Cream-infused, white chocolate cookies with Drizly customers on St. Patrick’s Day last year.
In August, Wax quit her day job to focus on Kitchen Millie full-time. This winter, she is setting up at Cambridge and Somerville’s farmers’ markets, and she’s ramping up her spring market calendar, too. Retail and restaurant distribution is also a goal. So far, Kitchen Millie is in eight stores around Massachusetts, as well as the newly-opened Tahaza Hummus Kitchen in East Cambridge. It offers catering and online ordering, too.
Each resealable bag of five cookies is 2.5 ounces. “Two cookies is a serving size,” Wax says. “Someone could, of course, eat the whole bag, but we try to make it easy for them to pack it up and save it for later.”
Find Kitchen Millie at the Cambridge Winter Farmers’ Market this Saturday, January 9, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Cambridge Community Center, 5 Callender St., Cambridge, and at kitchenmillie.com.