Interview with Kelly Simmons of Aunt Kelly’s Cookies

Kelly Simmons, Owner of Aunt Kelly’s Cookies holding a plate of her famous Butter Crunch Cookies.

Hey Baltimore foodies! I am launching a series where I interview local restaurant/ food business owners. Patreon subscribers will get a first look at these ,and eventually, some exclusive content.

Last week, I sat down with Kelly Simmons, owner and operator of Aunt Kelly’s Cookies for a quick Q&A! THANK YOU KELLY! 🙂

Q: Tell us how you got started?

Kelly: I was inspired by my grandmother who would bake and I started baking for my nieces and nephews in the 90s. My nieces and nephews are grown now and have children of their own but that is where the concept of “Aunt Kelly’s Cookies” came from. 

Before I started Aunt Kelly’s Cookies, I was working as a salon owner and celebrity stylist in Pennsylvania and eventually moved back to Maryland to teach styling in Jessup. I would bake cookies for my guests and students and they loved them and would say things like, “you need to sell these!” After a while, I began selling them online first and eventually opened the storefront location.

Q: Are you originally from Baltimore?

Kelly: Yes, I grew up in Edmondson Village!

Q: Butter Crunch is one of my favorites, and I know one of your most popular cookies. What inspired you to make your own version?

Kelly: Well, my baking is always inspired by my grandmother. Butter crunch cookies were a popular cookie when I was in school. There were few places to find them outside of schools but otherwise hard to find if you didn’t know where to go; especially out of state. I perfected my recipe baking in the 90s and wanted to recreate the good, nostalgic taste. I let people try them and got a lot of positive feedback and eventually began to sell them!

Q: What do you think separates you from other bakeries/cookie companies? You sell out pretty often. What is your “special sauce?”

Kelly: We only use quality ingredients and all of our cookies are made in house; no preservatives or anything like that. We stop baking 2 hours before the shop closes to make sure every time someone buys our cookies, they are freshly baked.

Q: Any advice for aspiring bakers/business owners?

Kelly: Be open to giving away some of your product upfront. It is a great way to hear what people think. Reach out to groups beyond your friends and get opinions from different audiences. Also, consider doing pop-ups and selling online before rushing to do a storefront. This is another great way to prove your business’ concept and build a following.

Q: Favorite restaurants/food businesses?

Kelly: I love Homemaid for brunch. Fresh, farm to table concepts. STEM is another favorite.

Aunt Kelly’s Cookies is located at 857 N. Howard Street. The company also ships from their website.

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