WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. --Three White Plains fireman have another "hot" item on their hands: a gluten-free cookie company called Cookie Republic , which has grown beyond their wildest dreams.
That's because White Plains residents Sunny Seward, Mark Bucaj, and Tonin Bucaj were't looking to start a business when they began baking for fun in the firehouse back in 2011. The three fitness buffs were looking for a healthy snack that worked with their busy schedules and so made a cookie to reflect that.
Seward said he and his team began to fine tune their recipe, using the best natural ingredients. Eventually they came up with a Chocolate Cake cookie that was so good, they kept getting requests from friends and family. And so, in 2013, they went from making good cookies that they shared among themselves and their circles of friends to selling them at area stores and through other local firehouses.
What started as something originally designed for firefighters who often deal with interrupted meals soon became something bigger. "We realized our cookie was perfect for anyone who often misses meals or has food allergies, or needs something pre- and post- workout, or is looking for a healthy late night snack," explained Seward.
There are now three varieties: Peanut Butter Cup, Blueberry Muffin, and the cookie that put them on the map, Chocolate Cake.
Cookies are made with organic ingredients starting with nut flours, grounded chia and flax seeds, raw cacao (depending on the flavor), coconut oil, all natural peanut butter, dried blueberries and pure maple syrup.
They are sold at stores throughout Westchester and Rockland County as well as online. The goal, said Seward, is to increase their distribution, add new flavors, and participate in more charitable events.
Ten percent of all proceeds go torwards the National Fallen Firefighter's Organization. So far, since their affiliation with the organization over a year ago, they have raised more than a thousand dollars in charitable donations.
The three, who have no professional baking experience -- Seward said the culture in the firehouse is either "know how to cook/bake or learn" -- currently bake at a facility once a month, baking large orders and filling stores and online orders the next day. Their firefighter schedule permits their team to bake together if coordinated correctly. And yes, that means always having cookies on hand around the firehouse where they typically sell a large number of their stock.