Cookie of the year
Deb Kaneb, 45, has always been a baseball fan - first the Yankees as a girl in upstate New York, now the Red Sox as an entrepreneur/mom in Manchester. She named her cookie-baking company Batter Up Bakery to combine baseball with her love of cookies. Kaneb, who once practiced law, offers old-fashioned treats, made with real ingredients, such as butter cookies, chocolate chip cookies, and chocolate-mint cookies; the company is online only (www.batterupbakery.com). Kaneb bakes in her home kitchen, where it's hands-off for her four children, ages 10 to 16, except for a cookie jar exclusively for them.
Q. Do you come from a long line of cooks?
A. My mother was born in Austria. She was always making desserts. We went through a stage when we had dessert every night. My Polish grandmother made pierogi and golumbki - they're cabbage rolls with meat. She was the biggest cooking influence. My grandfather made sauerkraut in the basement. Most of my baking experience was in consumption.
Q. How did you make the switch from lawyer to baker?
A. My husband taught history at Manchester Essex Regional Middle School. I would make 200 cookies for all the kids in his class. That was the extent of my bulk baking. I just loved doing it. I was always volunteering to bake. I was running along one day - my daughter was in kindergarten - wondering, what do I love to do? What am I good at doing? Baking! At that time, we were starting plans to renovate our home kitchen. I researched all the laws to get my home kitchen qualified and get my permit. I decided to make a website.
Q. Were you ever in retail stores?
A. When I first started, I tried a couple times and I didn't pursue it seriously. It didn't work out. If I go to a retail store, they'll get part of the profits and I won't be able to control quality as much. [The cookies] may sit on the shelves.
Q. What's your best seller?
A. The shaped butter cookies with frosting on them. I make all different shapes. Sometimes people ask for custom shapes, like for a birthday party. They're seasonal. Right now I'm doing clovers, then for spring, flowers and Easter eggs.
Q. How do you do your production with four kids around?
A. I can stagger when I make my doughs - do the work while they're in school and then start right up again late at night.
Q. Your kids are lucky. There must be cookies galore in your house.
A. My kids think I don't bake enough for them - it's all relative - because the cookie jar is half full, not completely full.
Correction: Because of a reporting error, the name of the owner of www.batterupbakery.com was misspelled in a story in yesterday's "g" section. Her name is Deb Kaneb.