Suzanne Lombardi, a sculptor, has always been interested in an unusual medium: cookie dough. Finally, six years ago, she started talking with potential business partners about founding an all-natural cookie company. It made perfect sense that she look to her late grandmother, Erma Shaw, for a name. An ardent nature lover and an incredible baker, Shaw had owned an antiques shop on the coast of Maine called Dancing Deer. "Some of my best childhood memories are of summer vacations at my grandmother's lakeside cabin," Lombardi says. "My grandmother would greet us with platefuls of chewy molasses cookies and she'd also let me help her make shortcake biscuits to go with the black raspberries we picked every morning."
Those memories helped Lombardi come up with her own cookie ideas. Her grandmother's recipe box was also inspiring. "When my grandmother passed away, I inherited her tattered index cards filled with vague baking instructions," Lombardi says. "I did a lot of experimenting and updated the recipes with my own twists."
The result is Boston's award-winning Dancing Deer Baking Company. The recipes that follow, however, are ones Lombardi developed for personal, not professional, use: They include crisp sugar cookies with a surprising hit of cinnamon, and chocolate peanut-butter sandwich cookies made with three types of chocolate. According to Dancing Deer CEO Trish Karter, the company's success rests on the fact that "all our products taste as if they came out of a grandmother's kitchen." In a sense, they did.