Middletown baker whips up gluten-free treats

Middletown baker whips up gluten-free treats Carmen Petruzelli named her business Glenda’s Kitchen after her mother, who gave her the recipe that started it all. Best food places in los angeles Check out this story on app.com: http://on.app.com/2m45E8k

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Carmen Petruzzelli, owner of Glenda’s Kitchen, a three-year-old operation which specializes in a tasty line of gluten-free, organic, and non-GMO cookies, prepares and displays cookies at her business in Middletown. Best indian food in chicago (Photo: Tanya Breen) Buy Photo

MIDDLETOWN – Ever since she can remember, Carmen Petruzzelli’s mother Glenda was always baking cakes and cookies for friends, family members and neighbors.


Best lunch places in new orleans In high school, Petruzzelli herself dreamed of being a baker someday. And though the Atlantic Highlands native ultimately went to school for fashion design and even opened her own boutique in Keyport for a short time, the lure of owning her own baked goods business never subsided.

“My sister Sofia needed to be on a gluten-free diet, but back then there were fewer gluten-free options and some of them tasted awful, so my mother decided to make her own cookies for my sister,” said Petruzzelli, 28, of the organic, non-GMO dark chocolate chip cookies that resulted. “They tasted great and all of my siblings loved them and couldn’t even tell that they were gluten-free,” she said.

“I realized that we had something unique there and on my 25th birthday in 2014, my mom gave me the recipe and I took a leap of faith and started Glenda’s Kitchen.”

Carmen Petruzzelli, owner of Glenda’s Kitchen, a three-year-old Leonardo-based operation which specializes in a tasty line of gluten-free, organic, and non-GMO cookies, prepares and displays cookies at her business in Leonardo, NJ Monday March 13, 2017.

Carmen Petruzzelli, owner of Glenda’s Kitchen, a three-year-old operation which specializes in a tasty line of gluten-free, organic, and non-GMO cookies, prepares and displays cookies at her business in Middletown.

Carmen Petruzzelli, owner of Glenda’s Kitchen, a three-year-old Leonardo-based operation which specializes in a tasty line of gluten-free, organic, and non-GMO cookies, prepares and displays cookies at her business in Leonardo, NJ Monday March 13, 2017.

Carmen Petruzzelli, owner of Glenda’s Kitchen, a three-year-old Leonardo-based operation which specializes in a tasty line of gluten-free, organic, and non-GMO cookies, prepares and displays cookies at her business in Leonardo, NJ Monday March 13, 2017.

Carmen Petruzzelli, owner of Glenda’s Kitchen, a three-year-old operation which specializes in a tasty line of gluten-free, organic, and non-GMO cookies, prepares and displays cookies at her business in Middletown.

Carmen Petruzzelli, owner of Glenda’s Kitchen, a three-year-old Leonardo-based operation which specializes in a tasty line of gluten-free, organic, and non-GMO cookies, prepares and displays cookies at her business in Leonardo, NJ Monday March 13, 2017.

Carmen Petruzzelli, owner of Glenda’s Kitchen, a three-year-old Leonardo-based operation which specializes in a tasty line of gluten-free, organic, and non-GMO cookies, prepares and displays cookies at her business in Leonardo, NJ Monday March 13, 2017.

Carmen Petruzzelli, owner of Glenda’s Kitchen, a three-year-old Leonardo-based operation which specializes in a tasty line of gluten-free, organic, and non-GMO cookies, prepares and displays cookies at her business in Leonardo, NJ Monday March 13, 2017.

Carmen Petruzzelli, owner of Glenda’s Kitchen, a three-year-old Leonardo-based operation which specializes in a tasty line of gluten-free, organic, and non-GMO cookies, prepares and displays cookies at her business in Leonardo, NJ Monday March 13, 2017.

“They were so helpful and told me everything I needed to know about regulations, certified kitchens, etc.,” said Petruzzelli, who began her cookie-making venture by leasing certified kitchen space at the elementary school she’d attended as a child.

Doing all her own baking (mixing dough in a simple six-quart Kitchen Aid), customer prospecting and delivery-making around the school’s kitchen hours, she successfully secured her cookies in an initial 11 stores, a number which has since ballooned to 80 stores, including Dean’s Natural Food Markets, Foodtown, Whole Foods, and ShopRite.

The rapid growth required her expansion to larger, dedicated space for her primarily wholesale business, “and in Fall 2015, I moved to my current kitchen in Leonardo (in Middletown), which is about 1,000 square feet and perfect for baking,” she said.

Today, a normal week for Petruzzelli involves baking thousands of cookies in several different varieties, all named after family members.

“I named our original cookie, ‘Sofia’s Dark Chocolate Chip,’ after my sister because there wouldn’t be a cookie without her,” Petruzzelli said. Best food places near me “One time, a cookie in the batch accidentally ended up with no chocolate chips in it, which I didn’t want to sell, so I ate it instead and found it so delicious that I branded that variety ‘Carmen’s Chipless Cookie.’ We also have ‘Dad’s Double Chocolate Chip,’ a line of mini dark chocolate chip cookies called ‘Baby Deanie’s’ that are named after my younger brother, and a new oatmeal-raisin variety called ‘Billy’s Oats’ that are named after my husband,” she said.

Priced at $6.99 to $7.99 for a package of 10 standard-sized cookies (or 20 minis), “our cookies taste amazing and are the only gluten-free, organic, non-GMO ones out there,” she said of her certified gluten-free confections, which are currently undergoing the strict process of getting certified organic as well.

“I discovered the Glenda’s Kitchen brand at a local health food store about a year and a half ago,” said loyal customer and lifelong “cookie connoisseur” E.J. Good fast food places near me McCarthy, a stock broker who lives in Monmouth Beach. Soul food restaurants in miami “Because I have celiac disease, I’m always experimenting with baked goods and Carmen’s cookies blew me away. I’d eat them even if I didn’t have celiac disease and always make sure that I have a supply on hand,” he said.

“The ingredients are very healthy, the calories per cookie are lower than others out there, and I feel great supporting a local business, especially because Carmen is so nice,” McCarthy said. Soul food restaurants in atlanta ga “Her cookies are the best I’ve ever had and my family enjoys them too and they don’t even need to eat gluten-free.”

Carmen Petruzzelli, owner of Glenda’s Kitchen, a three-year-old operation which specializes in a tasty line of gluten-free, organic, and non-GMO cookies, prepares and displays cookies at her business in Middletown. Soul food restaurants in atlanta georgia (Photo: Tanya Breen)

Petruzzelli admits it can be challenging to run all aspects of her operation, from baking and sales to accounting and deliveries, single-handedly – “except for a friend who occasionally helps me with large orders or tight deadlines, it’s just me,” she said.

In addition, “ingredient costs are always rising, especially the price of butter, and it can also be hard getting the word out there about my products, although when people try them, they always come back for more,” she said of her dedication to offering samples.

On the plus side, “a lot of supermarkets and specialty food outlets are increasingly supporting local, small-batch brands like mine, so I feel like I got into the industry at a perfect time.” Besides that, she said, “it’s such a happy business. Good chinese food that delivers near me Who doesn’t love cookies?”

Looking ahead, Petruzzelli is excited to build her base of customers, including such restaurants as Teak and The Bistro in Red Bank, which make ice cream sandwich desserts with her cookies, as well as Tommy’s Tavern & Tap in Sea Bright, which uses them to create their cannoli cream sandwiches, and to offer a new line of gluten-free doughnuts and ice cream cakes.

“I’d also love to hire a right-hand person to grow the company with me and help make Glenda’s Kitchen a household name,” she said, adding that, while the door to her kitchen space is always open to walk-in customers while she’s there baking daily from Monday through Saturday, she’d also love to have a dedicated retail store someday.

Among other emotions she feels about her successful business, Petruzzelli is grateful to her mom, after whom her company is named. “I wouldn’t have this company without her recipe and I’m excited to give something back to my mom,” said Petruzzelli of Glenda’s Kitchen. “People are excited to find gluten-free cookies that are both healthy and delicious, and my heart goes out to them. Soul food restaurants in nj I have so much fun here and love that people love my products and that I’m able to help them. Best lobster in atlanta I love making them happy and giving back.”

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