My sister has a knack for getting me presents no one else would have thought of. For my high school graduation, she filled a small wooden chest full of everything from smudge sticks to a fountain – in short, a complete kit to make a boring old dorm room into a home. For my twenty-first birthday, she bought me a mini waffle maker. Not a traditional choice, but I lived on whole grain waffles under various toppings for the next two years. For my most recent birthday, she commissioned custom cookies.
‘Custom cookies?’ you might ask (though you know that custom-made creations are indeed near to my heart). Yes, when you know Angelica Howland of Scrumptious Angel. This woman is – as my sister put it – the Vienne Rocher of cookies. (If that reference doesn’t ring a bell, read or watch Chocolat.) I can easily see Angelica setting up shop in a stiff little puritanical town and bringing out everyone’s best and most joyous traits with her deliciously original cookies and brilliantly creative self.
My first taste of Scrumptious Angel cookies came when a box packed full of Elegant Angels, Drunken Angels, Sparrows, and Streaks of Lavender arrived for my birthday. Holy deliciousness, Batman. I’ve had a lot of good chocolate chip cookies, but Angelica’s have the richest and most indulgent texture I’ve come across yet. Plus, they’re not chocolate chip cookies; they’re chocolate chunk cookies, and dang good chocolate too. Plus, they’re not just chocolate chunk cookies, but cookies with the most creative and balanced of flavorings and wonderfulness. Just try these, for example:
Streaks of Lavender: Dark chocolate with toasted almonds and a touch of actual lavender. These were my first favorites, both indulgent and subtle.
Elegant Angels: Dark and milk chocolate in cookies sprinkled with a touch of sea salt. Absolutely addictive, in a way that makes you savor every bite.
Drunken Angels: Amaretto-soaked cherries, cinnamon-roasted almonds, and dark chocolate. Did I say the other two were my favorites? This was definitely a favorite. Scrumptious is exactly the right word.
Sparrows: Dark chocolate, dried blueberries, and roasted sunflower seeds. Frickin’ beautiful. In the end, these are the ones I was saddest to finish.
Luckily, that wasn’t the end. Next came the development of the custom Vaguely Bohemian Angels. Angelica and my sis had brainstormed some ideas, one of which was oats, Earl Gray, and dark chocolate. ‘What about oats, dark chocolate, and chai?’ I asked. Angelica took that, added crushed fennel, and came up with the most delicious…I’ll start at the beginning:
When the cookies arrived from the Scrumptious Angel test kitchen, I’d been drinking some spicy herbal tea. Because of this, upon my first bite, I tasted mostly cookie gorgeousness and dark chocolate. ‘I don’t really taste the spices,’ I though to myself, ‘but damn, I have never tasted a cookie that is so rich yet so packed with oats. This is pretty amazing.’ As I went on, I started to taste, subtly, the fennel – almost like, I imagine, the sensation of breathing out after a sip of absinthe. Then, the taste of chai spices began to grow in my mouth. It was as though the cookie contained the progression of bohemian beverages, from the absinthe of early 20th century Paris to the chai of my favorite bohemian teahouse. In the second cookie, I was able to taste all of these flavors together. Alas – although I knew I’d only get another box of samples if there was something I wanted to change – the cookies were perfect!
If you’d like your own box of Vaguely Bohemian Angels, or to find out more about other scrumptious Scrumptious Angel creations, you can find them on Facebook right here. (Just click on “about” to see the listing of flavors and ordering info.) The business is relatively new, and so far without a fully developed website, but you can keep an eye out at scrumptiousangel.com. Believe me, if you’re ever so lucky as to taste any of Angelica’s creations, you’ll be as devoted as I am!