Jennifer Lovy Contributing Writer
A brand-new local business offers from-scratch cookies for everyone — including on the go.
Rebecca Abel had an urge to start a cookie company.
Her vision was to create the perfect gourmet cookie — something crispy on the outside, doughy on the inside and made from only premium ingredients.
“I couldn’t find the cookie that blew me away so I thought, ‘I’m going to try to create it,’” said Abel, a 40-year-old self-described dessert lover who has always been a creative entrepreneur, but never a baker.
Feeling determined and equally inspired by the popularity of some cookie shops in New York and Los Angeles, where customers wait in ridiculously long lines to buy cookies, this Huntington Woods resident sought to duplicate their popularity.
“I went to the grocery store and filled my cart with every ingredient I thought could go into a cookie,” Abel recalled. “I must have made about 100 different kinds of chocolate-chip cookies until I finally got it the way I imagined it.”
Abel scoured the internet, dissected a number of recipes and carefully studied the online comments on each one. Over the next six weeks she spent all her free time in the kitchen and estimated making 100 different kinds of chocolate-chip cookies.
“It all came down to specific ingredient brands. I probably tried 20 different brands of flour and 20 different brands of vanilla before I got it right,” said Abel, a single mom to, Ari, 9, and Elliot, 12, who volunteered their services as taste testers.
Once she created the right recipe, Abel, who works as a financial planner/money manager at Ameriprise Financial Services in Pleasant Ridge, moved with lightning speed in launching her company D’vine Cookies. The idea came to her last September, and by Thanksgiving she was already selling her products online at dvinecookies.com.
“I make very quick decisions and I go with them. I’ve got a good set of business skills. The business side has always been easy, but the baking part was a little more challenging at first,” she said. “But, this is by far the most fun thing I’ve ever done. It fits my creative, artsy side.”
So far, customers can buy cookies in flavors such as Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Salted Caramel, Cinnamon Sugar and Cookies and Cream, and more. Also popular and incredibly tasty is Abel’s Chocolate-Chip Cookie Spread and her D’vine Cookie Dough, a raw cookie dough (made without eggs) served like ice cream. She also offers vegan and gluten-free chocolate-chip cookies.
In addition to her company’s online and social-media presence, Abel’s cookies are sold locally in at least a dozen retail locations, including Westborn Market, Western Fruit & Meat Market, Atomic Coffee, Detroit Bubble Tea, plus a weekend stand at the Rust Belt Market in Ferndale.
Abel just took her business a step further — after acquiring and restoring a used ice cream truck, she converted it into the D’vine Cookies & Dough Dessert Truck. She recently hired a food truck manager and has booked events including bar mitzvahs, weddings and graduation parties. She also plans to have the truck sell cookies, cookie dough, ice cream and frozen hot chocolate at area parks, college campuses and farmers’ markets.
Elena Gross of Huntington Woods began working for D’vine Cookies in the very beginning when the business was running out of Abel’s living room. Gross, who works mainly as a baker, follows a gluten-free diet and loves not only her job but the gluten-free cookies she gets to bake.
“You might think I’m biased because I work for the company, but, quite honestly, the gluten-free cookies are the best ones that I’ve ever tried,” she said.
Gross is one of eight employees of D’vine Cookies. The company has expanded so rapidly over the last seven months that Abel went from doing almost everything herself, including baking and marketing, to hiring a team of staff she found through local advertising.
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Abel, who said her business is already profitable, is hoping to open multiple cookie boutiques, with plans almost finalized for a retail/production space in downtown Berkley. Currently, her products are made at a commercial kitchen she rents in Ferndale.
“I’m really having the time of my life with this,” she said. “I’m excited about all the possibilities.”