Miami's first artisanal cookie shop is months from opening a storefront in Little River. Cindy Lou's Cookies, which wholesales to eateries across town, is setting up shop at 7320 NE Second Ave.
The brick-and-mortar is the progeny of Cindy Kruse, a local baker with more than 25 years of pastry experience. She's worked as executive pastry chef at the Fontainebleau and spent time at Barton G. and Gigi.
After years of navigating restaurant politics, Kruse decided to buy an oven and build a makeshift kitchen in her garage. Her first client was Panther Coffee, for which she still bakes 15 dozen cookies a day.
"For the last four years, it's just been me baking and doing all the deliveries," she says. "In total, I make between 30 to 40 dozen myself."
You might have tried her cookies at local favorites such as Jimmy'z Kitchen, Vice City Bean, and Panther Coffee. In her new store, she will offer nearly 30 varieties, including salted double chocolate filled with Nutella, as well as cheesecake, lemon cloud, and Oreo crunch. It will give her the ability to experiment, she says.
"Cookies are my life," she says. "When I bite into one, I feel like I'm 10 years old again. I want to be able to focus all of my time on them because there's so much you can do."
Every cookie at Cindy Lou's is molded and decorated by hand. She makes all toppings and fillings in-house too. With the exception of an assistant baker, Kruse makes everything herself. She describes it as a "labor of love."
"When I started baking in my garage, I just wanted to do what I love," she says. "I had no running water in there and no A/C, but it didn't matter. It's come a long way."
Because of construction delays, it has taken Kruse longer to open than she expected, which has resulted in unforeseen expenses. To help, she launched aKickstarter
campaign to raise $30,000 by Thursday, November 24. So far, the campaign has raised more than $13,000.
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Regardless, Kruse hopes to open her doors before the new year.
"There's an artisanal movement going on in Miami," she says. "The energy is so amazing. It really feels like a community, and I'm excited to get involved.
"This little shop is coming to life," she adds. "It's been my dream for so long."