Making Cookies a Functional Food
Sue Kakuk, right, and her sales person, Tore Swenson, at the Denver Broncos Training Center in Englewood, Colorado. Jason Domsch, executive chef for the football team gave them a tour of the facility while the two were attending a college food show in Denver.
Viking fans beware, when the Denver Broncos come to US Bank Stadium this year they’ll be extra healthy thanks to snacking on functional-food cookies produced in the Twin Cities.
Sue Kakuk, owner and recipe-developer of Kakookies, received an order from the Broncos’ executive chef, Justin Domsch, for 50 dozen cookies for training camp, after he connected with her at the National Restaurant Show in Chicago earlier this year. Those were for training camp, his latest order is to take the cookies on the road as game-day snacks. “I love how clean the product is and the use of minimal ingredients while not compromising the taste,” he said. When asked what the players’ favorite flavor was, he told Kakuk, “I love them all, but the favorite flavor is the peanut butter chocolate chip for sure with the players.”
The favorite flavor of the Denver Broncos players.
Kakuk originally developed the snack with “good, purposeful calories,” plant protein and natural ingredients like oats, nuts and dried fruit for her daughter’s collegiate cycling team. The cookies caught on—because in a world of dry snack bars, hers are soft and cookie-like with “artisan flavors”—so she decided to turn it into a business by outsourcing the baking and packaging. “I’m not doing this as a hobby,” she says. “If I start a business I need it to grow and hand-scooping is not a model.” Plus it’s easier to contract out. “I don’t like to do dishes,” she says.
Kakookies—how lucky is it to have a name that fits your brand—are also a “pantry item” for tech companies wanting their employees to both eat healthier and work longer hours. Tech clients include Twitter and Intuit. In addition to being on Amazon, her individually wrapped cookies can be found in grocery stores, such as Whole Foods and Kowalski, plus Peace Coffee and Good Earth and college campuses.
Coming up with the recipes wasn’t a challenge, Kakuk has a home economics background and started entering baking competitions for fun, becoming the two-time Pillsbury Bake-Off Champion.
And speaking of champions: If anyone has the number for the Vikings’ executive chef, please pass it along to Kakuk. She’d like to turn them into Purple Cookie Eaters.