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Student-Made Avocado Cookie Company Finds Success As Dessert Alternative

Most people are skeptics when it comes to healthy alternatives to their favorite desserts. However, sisters Jen and Steph Martin are here to change that with Avocadough: The Friendly Cookie.

Growing up, Steph and her sister Jen, who is currently a Penn State student, have always shared a love for baking. From cookies to coffee cakes, the two sisters perfected all sorts of desserts to share with their family and friends.

Their treats got such a good response that in 2019 they decided to turn their passion for baking into a shared career by creating Martin’s Bakehouse. For two-and-a-half years the Martin sisters baked out of their licensed home kitchen and sold homemade treats at local markets and craft fairs. Their business was going steady until a specific customer preference became too big to ignore.

“Many customers asked if we baked allergy-friendly goods, such as gluten-free, dairy-free, peanut-free, diabetic-friendly, vegan, or keto,” Jen said. “This made us ask more questions, survey customers, and reassess our bakery’s mission. We wanted to provide our customers with something that would benefit their life and assist them in their challenges.”

It was this kind of innovative thinking that inspired the creation of Avocadough: The Friendly Cookie. Different from traditional desserts, the Avocadough cookie substitutes traditional ingredients like flour, eggs, and butter for avocados, hence why it’s called Avoca-dough.

The avocados mimic traditional ingredients in the recipe, leaving the cookies with the same delicious taste while staying diet and allergy conscious.

Crafting a cookie that is both delicious and healthy is not as easy as many people think. To create the Avocadough cookie, the Martin sisters researched different sugar and egg substitutes, drafted different recipe variations, and interviewed health experts to understand the nutrients and macros necessary for a healthy cookie.

“The baking process involved changing one aspect of the recipe, baking a batch, and then taste-testing to compare a new batch to the control group,” Jen said. “We took notes for each new baking recipe and had our family and friends sample to provide feedback. We repeated this process over and over again for any new ingredients or baking technique we wanted to test.”

When the work and research were done, the Martin sisters had created the perfect healthy chocolate cookie that was gluten and allergy-free, vegan, and keto.

The Avocadough cookie launched in November 2021. It received enough positive feedback that the sisters moved their business into a commercial baking space to handle the increase in orders. The cookie’s success even inspired a rebrand for the bakery, changing the name from Martin’s Bakehouse to Avocadough: The Friendly Cookie.

As a current accounting major at Penn State, Jen said she applied concepts she learned from her accounting classes to start the bakery. To learn a bit more about the industry, she took a few entrepreneurial and hospitality management classes that taught her how to design a business that provides value to customers.

For Jen, the best part about owning a bakery is getting to work alongside her sister every day.

“We always laugh and have fun together and we make each other better,” Jen said. “Plus, we both love to bake, and we both love a good sweet treat, so owning a cookie company lets us share that love and those treats with others.”

For more information about Avocadough: The Friendly Cookie, contact [email protected] or visit avocadough.square.site. You can also connect with the bakery on Facebook and Instagram.

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About the Author

Ava Brendgord

Ava is a senior from Houston, TX majoring in broadcast journalism. She loves coffee and bagels, traveling, and keeping a healthy balance between watching the news and reality television. Follow her at @avabrendgord on Instagram or email her at [email protected]

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