Cesar Zapata and the Federal's biscuits.
Cesar Zapata and the Federal's biscuits.
Photo courtesy of the Federal

Hedy Goldsmith's Cookies, the Federal's Biscuits Available for Holiday Shipping

When I was a kid growing up in New York, my aunt lived in Miami Beach. Each holiday season, my well-meaning relative would send me a gift of "Florida Sunshine." The box always held the same thing: a few oranges, grapefruits, and a jar of some kind of tropical jelly, usually guava or coconut. Back in the day, these were semi-exotic presents. But with the world getting smaller through the internet, your relatives up north can purchase all the citrus they want in the wintertime.

So forgo sending the usual basket of oranges and give some unique baked goods for the holidays.

Two of Miami's most beloved baked treats are now available to ship anywhere in the United States.

The Federal Food, Drink & Provisions' biscuits have always been a Miami favorite, but the baked treats achieved national recognition after Best New Restaurant host and judge Tom Colicchio raved about them during Bravo's competition show. After that, customers would head to the restaurant simply to try the "biskits." Then the phone rang. Restaurant partner Aniece Meinhold explains, "After the show aired, I got a call from a lady in Fort Lauderdale. She said that she sells cakes through Williams-Sonoma and that she would love to put us in touch with their buyers." That lady was Lori Karmel from We Take the Cake. Her Bundt, by the way, was listed as one of Oprah's Favorite Things

After the initial introduction, Meinhold said there was a lot of collaboration with Williams-Sonoma before the biscuits would make it to the store's website. Although the core recipe remains unchanged, the high-end kitchen retailer needed some tweaks to make the product cost-efficient and shipping-friendly. "The biscuits we do at the Federal were too large for them, and they wanted some variety," Meinhold explains. "We started developing flavors. It took a solid six months, and lo and behold!" She assures us, however, that the quality and taste are exactly the same as at the restaurant. Would your cousin in Michigan get the same exact experience if you sent her a dozen? "Yes, absolutely," Meinhold says.

The biscuits are now available at Williams-Sonoma.com in three flavors — original buttermilk with a cider vinegar glaze, cheddar-chive with a spicy garlic glaze, and jalapeño and Monterrey Jack with a spicy garlic glaze. A dozen fully baked, frozen biscuits costs $49.95 and arrives via two-day shipping. 

Everything is baked in-house. "Every single batch is hand-mixed, hand-weighed, and hand-cut," Meinhold says. "We're prepping somewhere in the realm of between 2,000 and 2,400 biscuits a week." That's in addition to the usual 1,000 biscuits a week the Federal bakes for the restaurant's use. Although the biscuit production is hectic, Meinhold says this is an opportunity as golden as the biscuits that come out of the oven. "It's crazy to have the opportunity to sell our little namesake bread on a platform like Williams-Sonoma."

Junk in Da Trunk cookies
Junk in Da Trunk cookies
Photo from SweetHedy.com

When South Florida's reigning baking queen, Hedy Goldsmith, moved to Los Angeles, Miami let out a collective sob. Where, oh where, would we get our fix of homemade pop-tarts, panna cotta that mixed sweet and savory flavors, and those signature Junk in da Trunk cookies?  Sure, Goldsmith shared her recipe for the cookie in her book Baking Out Loud, but her special magic just wasn't found in the renditions I tried at home. Secretly, I wished the chef could mail me a batch or two — surely she had one spare cookie around the house that could be transported back to the Sunshine State?

Finally, Goldsmith has launched SweetHedy.com, selling her treats online. A dozen Junk in da Trunk cookies — filled with bittersweet chocolate chunks, crushed kettle chips, pretzels, smashed candy bars, and whatever else the chef deems delicious — costs $22.50. A batch of 100 minis sells for $125 (perfect for your holiday party), and a reusable holiday box filled with a dozen cookies is $50. 

Whether you go with savory biscuits or sweet cookies, it's a safe bet these gifts will be more welcome than a box of grapefruit.

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