Hills & Gardens: Cookies for Brain and Belly

January 11, 2012 By Trudy Whitman Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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Books and cookies. We like to read ’em as we eat ’em, as we learned when book shops branched out to offer lattes and sweets along with the literary stuff. On January 10, a bakery — One Girl Cookies — and a book shop — BookCourt — joined forces to launch a special book — One Girl Cookies: Recipes for Cakes, Cupcakes, Whoopie Pies, and Cookies from Brooklyn’s Beloved Bakery. Family-run and with customers who would rather kill than switch, the two Boerum Hill businesses have much in common. What better place to announce a cook book featuring favorite neighborhood goodies than our favorite neighborhood book store?

Six years ago, I sat down with Dawn Casale, founder and one-half of the couple who had just opened One Girl Cookies at 68 Dean Street. Of course, my first question was about the derivation of the shop’s unusual name. Before the Brooklyn storefront, Casale explained, she ran the business end of her operation from her Manhattan apartment, while doing the baking in a space she rented from a caterer. When it was time to come up with a name for her business, she sat down with a friend. Together they made a list of all the elements involved in cookie design, production, packaging, promotion, sales, and delivery. “Who does all this stuff?” Casale’s friend asked. “I do,” the new entrepreneur responded. And One Girl Cookies was born.

But the popularity of Casale’s sweet treats — Dean and Deluca sold her cookies — proved too much to handle on her own, and she began searching for a pastry chef to help out. She found the chef of her dreams in David Crofton, who eventually became the man of her dreams as well. Casale and her new husband and partner moved to Boerum Hill where they had found a location large enough to bake and package their goods as well as maintain a retail shop.

In Brooklyn, One Girl Cookies took off like a shot. And in September of 2011, crainesnew york.com reported that Casale and Crofton had signed a lease for their second Brooklyn retail shop — this one at One Main Street in DUMBO.

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In an email exchange, I asked Dawn Casale when the new confection shop is scheduled to open, and why she and Crofton were willing to share their secrets in a book that features recipes from One Girl Cookies’ collections in addition to seasonal treats.

The DUMBO location will open at the end of January or beginning of February, Casale responded. And as far as sharing, they were happy to do it. At the same time, they believe that customers will still come to their retail locations “for the overall experience” of One Girl Cookies’ charm.

One Girl Cookies, the book, Dawn Casale is quoted as saying on brooklynbased.net, was written not as a special-occasion reference but as an all-the-time standard: “We want it to be that really worn-in, grease-stained, dog-eared, used book.”

With such a devoted following, it is sure to be just that.

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Cobble Hillers have received the message, there is no need to abandon Christmas trees on sidewalks for useless futures in city dumps. Rather, they can be turned into useful mulch to nurture private gardens, tree pits, and city parks. On the weekend of January 7 and 8, over a thousand Christmas trees — 1,131 to be exact — were mulched in Cobble Hill Park as part of the Mulchfest 2012 Department of Parks and Recreation’s annual mulching program. The successful event was sponsored by the Cobble Hill Tree Fund, Friends of Cobble Hill Park, and Boy Scout Troops 213 and 815.

Mulchfest has gained a reputation as a must-see, post-holiday family event. Youngsters are brought to gawk as the powerful equipment chews the sturdy trees to smithereens. Older children learn lessons about recycling and the cooperation of city agencies, private citizens, and community organizations like the Tree Fund and the Boy Scouts. Yes, going green can sometimes be a chore, but it can also be awesome fun.

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