You know that parent, the one who bakes cookies and sends them in care packages? Well, Sue Kakuk is that mom.
She sent cookies when her daughter or a teammate won a cycling race while competing for the University of Vermont. She sent cookies when one of them crashed. And, when she found out these athletes were fueling up before races at places like Dunkin’ Donuts, she created a healthier cookie for them to eat for breakfast.
These healthier cookies would become Kakookies, the business Sue launched in 2010.
“I was just being good ole’ mom and created what I called the breakfast cookie,” Sue said. “I wanted to send them more or less a hand held breakfast. And I was a popular mom.”
The breakfast cookie Sue created had more oats, less sugar and some chia seeds. Sue doesn’t have a background in nutrition, but instead used common sense, reducing unhealthy ingredients, adding protein.
The cookies still have sugar. They also have fat from coconut oil. She didn’t want to create something that lost the sweet taste of a dessert.
“I just wanted a healthier cookie,” she said. “There needed to be something in between a healthy snack and a chocolate chip cookie, a choice you could make and say ‘I feel better about this,’ than eating a regular cookie.”
After Sue’s daughter graduated college, Sue stayed connected with the cycling community and hosted teams that came to her hometown Minneapolis for what is now called the North Star Bike Festival each year.
She always baked the cyclists cookies, creating recipes to meet dietary restrictions for those who were gluten-free or vegan. Those cookies became so popular – even with people who didn’t have diet restrictions – she eventually made all her cookies gluten-free and vegan.
It wasn’t only cyclists who benefited from Sue’s love for baking. Sue sent friends, family and neighbors her cookies for every occasion.
“What was feeling good to me was sending cookies and making somebody feel better because I sent them cookies,” she said.
When Sue’s husband saw how many cookies she was mailing out each week, he suggested selling them and that’s how Kakookies was born.
They hired a company to replicate Sue’s recipes, create packaging and set up an e-commerce site. Suddenly, retailers were calling asking to carry the cookies in stores.
You can now find Kakookies in four flavors: Almond Cranberry, Cashew Blondie, Pecan Apricot and Boundary Waters Blueberry.
Sue has a design degree, which she used to create kitchens, before she had children and committed to full-time work in the home.
She always loved to cook and even entered and placed in national recipe contests that companies like Pillsbury host to promote their products. One year she created a stuffed pepper recipe, using the excess peppers in her gardens. Another time she created a layered quesadilla.
Sue no longer enters those contests because she avoids processed foods and products. Creating Kakookies provided the perfect outlet for her to get creative with ingredients and recipes, while making food she felt good about eating.
Sue knows people who eat a Kakookie for breakfast each morning, replacing donuts, or enticing them to eat the meal they often skip. Sue reminds people that it’s still a cookie, so be sure to eat it in moderation.
“But if you eat one cookie,” she said, “it’s one you can feel good about yourself for eating.”
Kakookies mini review:
I have an incredible sweet tooth and I hate when people try to replace my treats with healthy versions, so I was a bit skeptical of Kakookies.
But I loved them, maybe a little too much.
I can see how people would use these healthier cookies as a meal replacement for breakfast, they are easy to grab on the go and surprisingly hearty because of the nuts and oats.
They also make a great afternoon or pre-workout snack. I didn’t feel the same lethargy I might after eating a typical treat and they are easy on the stomach, while still being sweet enough to satisfy my sweet tooth as a dessert.
The only downside is, as Sue said, they are still a cookie. At 220 to 230 calories each and with 12 to 15 grams of sugar, eating these in moderation is key to keeping them healthy; but they are so delicious it’s really hard to limit yourself to just one.