Food & Dining
who love sweets will be delighted with the fall collection of cookie
purses that recently debuted in a Miami Beach kitchen. The clever,
eight-sided, cardboard carrying cases -- like the ones glamour purses
in the '30s might have toted -- are packed with the real collection:
Smadar Katzman came up with the concept in collaboration with her husband,
Gil. A year ago they launched Cookiepursonality from their Surfside
home, and a few months ago moved into a professional kitchen in the
Carriage House on Collins Avenue.
The Israeli natives met in New York in 1982 and bonded on a cross-country
trip with a mutual friend that ended in Houston, where Gil earned a
degree in hospitality management and Smadar catered and baked. After
stints in Dallas and New York, they settled here in 1996. She was the
pastry chef at Barton G catering for three years before striking out
on her own.
Smadar's cookie-purse idea began as a pencil sketch that's now framed
on her office wall. Her sister-in-law, a graphic designer in Israel,
suggested the brown cardboard box and came up with the labels. (Commercial
clients can add their own logos.) The charming boxes get recycled as
handbags, and would make fun trick-or-treat catch-alls.
Each basic purse holds about 2 1⁄2 pounds of freshly baked cookies
and bars wrapped in tissue and cellophane. Smadar prides herself on
using high-quality butter, chocolate, nuts and other ingredients.
Choices include the Classic Fancy Holiday Collection with luscious almond
Florentine bars, marzipan shells dipped in chocolate, snickerdoodles,
Russian tea cookies dusted in confectioners' sugar, toffee and pecan
The Espresso Collection is packed with nut-studded biscotti, lemon hearts
filled with marmalade, coconut chocolate macaroons, thin pepper-chocolate
squares with white chocolate centers, and ginger cookies.
The upbeat Florida Sunshine Collection with its flower-splashed label
holds tropical islands (see recipe), Coconut Grove patties, mojito cookies
(available only in local orders), pungent Key lime balls and butter
cookies sandwiched with guava paste. The Favorite All-American purse
is packed with white chocolate, macadamia, peanut butter, oatmeal and
double chocolate chip cookies.
Besides the cookie purses, which can be shipped anywhere in the mainland
U.S., the couple sells desserts and pastries to upscale hotels, country
clubs and catering companies. Smadar's specialties include apricot mascarpone
torta, Key lime and white chocolate Bavarian mousse, and cafe con leche
cake, a nutty espresso sponge cake soaked in coffee syrup and topped
with a layer of brandy white chocolate mousse and whipped cream with
Many of her creations are pictured on the couple's website, cookiepursonal
ity.com. Or, with at least 72 hours' notice, she's happy to work up
a customer's original idea. Just bring in a sketch. After all, that's
how Cookiepursonality began.
Company: Cookiepursonality and Dessert Sensations.
Address: 5401 Collins Ave., Miami Beach.
Contact: 305-861-9040, email@example.com
Prices: Cookie purse collections $39.99 plus shipping and tax; dessert