Local Vendor Spotlight: Celeste’s Best
Q&A with Celeste Caswell, Owner and President
1. How long have you been making your cookie dough and why did you decide to make a vegan cookie dough?
I started baking vegan cookies for local coffee shops in 2001, and pretty soon after that I had the idea to sell the dough unbaked so people could make freshly-baked vegan cookies at home whenever they wanted! It took a while to perfect the recipe, but our Ready-to-Bake Cookie Dough was on the shelves at Wheatsville in 2011.
2. What have been the hardest challenges that you have come across being a small business?
The biggest challenge has been production. Demand increased and when we had to scale the recipe for larger orders, it took a lot of trial and error to maintain the quality we wanted. We don’t have a research and development department as some bigger companies might so we had to put in long hours and lots of elbow grease to make it work. Running a small business has made me understand the expression “building the airplane while you’re in the air.”
3. What are your favorite things to buy at Wheatsville?
My favorite things to buy at Wheatsville are the cashew tamari dressing, Sweet Ritual ice cream, and the vegan donuts with an iced coffee on the side. I always buy as much of the local produce as I can. I was also excited to see Miyoko’s vegan cheese appear in the refrigerated case recently.
4. Do you have anything new in the works, possibly a different dough other than chocolate chip?
We have so many things we’re working on, starting with two new flavors of dough that we’re hoping to roll out within the next year. We did a taste-test voter poll at Texas Veg Fest, and the winners were peanut butter and oatmeal cranberry, so that’s what’s coming next. The people have spoken.
5. Do you have a favorite recipe that you would like to share with us?
Since Celeste’s Best dough is vegan and doesn’t have any eggs, there are some tasty ways to eat it raw. Here’s a recipe for Celeste’s Best Cookie Dough Pops:
What you need:
- 1 Tub Celeste’s Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
- 14-16 Popsicle sticks
- 1 Cup non-dairy chocolate chips
- 2 Tbsp. soy, almond, or coconut milk
- ½ Tbsp. shortening
- Colored sprinkles (for variations you can also use crushed Oreos or Chik-o-Stiks—they’re both vegan).
- Take Celeste's Best cookie dough out of the fridge and let it soften at room temperature. This will make for easier scooping.
- In a microwave-safe bowl microwave the chocolate chips, soy, almond or coconut milk, and shortening for 1 minute. Remove and stir briskly until smooth.
- Roll the dough into little balls. The size is up to you. We made ours around 1½ tablespoon each.
- Dip a Popsicle stick into the melted chocolate and then stick it firmly into the ball of dough. The chocolate will help your pops to stay on the stick better.
- Dip the dough into melted chocolate and then coat with sprinkles, Oreos, or Chik-o-Stiks. We did one side, then let the chocolate harden in the fridge before doing the other side.
- Refrigerate for 1 hour until it’s time to eat. The cookie dough pops should also be store in the fridge.
- You can make peanut butter cookie dough Balls by replacing the shortening in the chocolate mixture with 1 tablespoon of creamy peanut butter. Replace the candy coating with crushed peanuts.
- Make coconut cookie dough balls by replacing the shortening in the chocolate mixture with coconut oil, and replacing the candy coating with toasted coconut.
- For S'Mores Cookie Dough Balls, form your cookie dough ball around a vegan marshmallow (we like the Dandies brand). Replace the sprinkles with crushed graham crackers.
We have some big plans coming down the pike, so if anyone would like to be a part of it, please follow Celeste’s Best for the latest info: