I received a fabulous gift on Friday. I am eternally grateful to the generous person who sent me a savory cookie sampler from Alchemy by Carla Hall.
Okay, I confess: I did it. I bought the sampler and had it sent to our house. But come on, it’s Carla Hall we’re talking about here! Carla Hall, from Top Chef, and Top Chef All-Stars. My favorite Top Chef contestant ever. Her food is elegant and sophisticated, yet always without pretension, like the chef herself.
Carla brought her years of catering experience to bear when creating Alchemy, a mail-order business currently specializing in sweet and savory mini cookies, which she calls “petite bites of love made for sharing.” She’s planning to open a café in Washington, DC soon. We lived in DC for a decade; sounds like it’ll be time for a visit.
The savory cookie collection consists of Cheddar-Pecan, Parmesan Shortbread, Goat Cheese with Dried Cranberries, Smoky Blue Cheese-Walnut, and Spiced Nuts (not cookies but pecans, walnuts and almonds seasoned with brown sugar and harissa). They’re all packed in a silver cookie tin. Inside, the cookies are wrapped in clever paper boxes, nestled in more shredded paper. (We couldn’t wait and dove right in; hence the photo above shows the partially empty boxes minus the pretty packing material.)
The cookies are all delicious, of course; did you expect less? But wait, there’s more: the flavors are layered. When you bite into, for example, a Parmesan Shortbread, you first taste the butter with a touch of salt, then in comes the parm, and at the end is the clean, green hint of thyme. You taste every ingredient (organic only, by the way), and they meld beautifully, but there’s a complex progression involved. How, you ask? (Well, I ask, anyway.) How can such a tiny morsel pack such an array of consecutive flavors? I wish I knew, but certainly the attention to details and impeccable ingredients don’t hurt. Ultimately, cooking with love wins out.
P.S.: I want to give a shout-out to King Berry, the nursery/farmers’ market where I bought the flawless asparagus for my Asparagus-Prosciutto Pizza. Their produce and plants are always lovely. Can’t wait for strawberry season!