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  • Taryn Varricchio: We are recording.

  • Do I wave?

  • Hey, everyone.

  • So, those cookies you just saw are from

  • Maman bakery in New York City,

  • before all of this happened.

  • As you can see, I'm at home social distancing,

  • like a lot of you are.

  • But despite everything going on,

  • we still wanted to profile

  • some of our favorite restaurants

  • and give you the kind of stories

  • that you're used to from us,

  • and check in on the restaurant community

  • and what they're going through

  • during this really strange time.

  • Which brings us back to Maman,

  • the first place that we caught up with.

  • Their cookies are a big deal.

  • They've been ranked high above

  • other cookie spots in the city,

  • not only by Oprah and other sources, including us,

  • but also by their loyal customers.

  • Karen Weber: I'm not always crossing the path of Maman,

  • but when I am, you know I'm getting a cookie.

  • Ashley Summers: I brought them across country with me

  • to California to give to our family as a gift.

  • So, big fan.

  • Taryn: It's really four things

  • that make them stand out.

  • For one, the chocolate.

  • They're famous for using chocolate wafers

  • instead of chips.

  • So I asked Maman's co-owner, Elisa Marshall,

  • over Skype about it.

  • Why do you use wafers?

  • Elisa Marshall: I find that it gives

  • bigger chunks of chocolate,

  • and it helps to avoid, during the baking process

  • and during the mixing process,

  • kind of melting throughout the dough.

  • It really helps to retain the shape

  • and create that chunk of chocolate in the cookie,

  • as opposed to chips, which can sometimes

  • go a little unnoticed.

  • Taryn: Then come the whole, salted almonds,

  • walnuts, and macadamia nuts.

  • Why do you use these three as opposed to other nuts,

  • and how come you use them whole

  • rather than, like, shavings, or crushed, or...?

  • Elisa: The macadamia nut is a whole round nut

  • that we use, which has a really nice crunch

  • and doesn't tend to lose its texture

  • as much when baked down,

  • whereas the walnuts tend to soften

  • among the dough and butter and sugar

  • and kind of get that nicer softer crunch and texture.

  • And then our almonds as well

  • also kind of add to that texture

  • and don't lose their shape when baked.

  • Taryn: You can see them when you break the cookie open.

  • The big chunks of nuts

  • and really melted spots of chocolate.

  • And when you taste them, they're just as salty

  • as they are sweet.

  • Elisa: We do put quite a high quantity of salt in it.

  • It's a little bit different than typical sea salt.

  • It is less sodium, more of a mineral-based salt

  • and tends to just complement the dark chocolate

  • that we use very nicely.

  • Taryn: Beyond flavor, Maman's cookies

  • are big enough to fill a small plate,

  • with a soft center and a crisp outer edge.

  • How do you know when the cookie is ready

  • and at that perfect texture?

  • And how do you achieve that crunchy outer edge?

  • Is that something in the way you roll it?

  • Is it the refrigeration?

  • Elisa: I think it's a combination.

  • I think definitely starting the cookies

  • in ball shapes as opposed to flattening them

  • helps to retain the shape and allow it to

  • melt down naturally with the heat on the pan.

  • Of course, coming from a colder temperature,

  • it doesn't melt as quickly in the oven,

  • so it really kinda keeps its shape in the ball form,

  • which helps to retain the gooeyness on the inside

  • and the underbaked once you get to the middle.

  • And then it allows the outside to melt down

  • and crisp up a little more.

  • Karen: It's a really good balance of

  • the crispy edges and the soft in the middle.

  • And, you know, it has these giant chunks

  • of chocolate and nuts,

  • so it's kind of like a landscape.

  • There's all these big pieces you can break off.

  • Taryn: When they're busy, Maman can sell

  • 2,000 cookies a week across its 10 locations.

  • But with restaurants shutting down across the country

  • in response to the coronavirus pandemic,

  • Maman has been no exception.

  • At first the café closed nine of its shops,

  • leaving just its Brooklyn location open

  • for pickup and delivery orders only.

  • Elisa: The situation's been really hard for us,

  • as it has for everybody.

  • I think it hit us hard primarily due to our staff,

  • and we had to have the unfortunate situation

  • of temporarily laying off

  • almost 100 employees of ours.

  • So we put together a Maman staff family fund,

  • and we are doing what we can to try and

  • support them as best as possible

  • and raise as much funds as possible

  • that we're gonna be distributing out to all of our team.

  • We had one employee contact us wanting to

  • contribute a week's worth of their salary

  • to the employee fund to help out

  • her other fellow employees.

  • Taryn: Along with donations, part of the sales

  • from Maman's new cookie dough to-go kits

  • were going into that fund too.

  • Elisa: We, you know, wanted to do what we could

  • to help everybody out and liquidate everything

  • before it went bad.

  • And we started packaging and selling our cookie dough.

  • So, we are selling our cookie dough

  • in rolls that make 12 cookies.

  • And the price for that is $30.

  • And for every sale of that,

  • $5 is going towards our staff fund.

  • Karen: I currently have

  • Trader Joe's chocolate chip cookies

  • frozen in my freezer, and I'm, like,

  • slowly breaking off pieces,

  • but, you know, let's get real,

  • it's nowhere near Maman's nutty chocolate chip cookie.

  • So I have thought, like, should I buy

  • this dough and bring it back?

  • Like, go every two weeks or so.

  • Taryn: But even with pickup and delivery sales,

  • the future of Maman's last open shop is unknown.

  • Elisa: And we're just gonna really play it day by day,

  • to be totally transparent.

  • We are not making any long-term plans right now.

  • And, you know, we're open today,

  • hopefully be open tomorrow.

  • And we'll go from there.

  • You know, it's affecting so many,

  • and it's just spreading so quickly,

  • so, you know,

  • our cookie dough is not worth a life.

  • Taryn: As of March 30, while in the process

  • of making this video, Maman made the sad decision

  • to close their last location and end delivery.

  • Elisa: So, right now we have decided to

  • close down our last open location,

  • which was our Greenpoint location, unfortunately.

  • For two reasons. I think our staff were obviously

  • getting a little bit frightened,

  • in terms of being in such social environments

  • and being with people.

  • And we had it open on a voluntary basis.

  • And I think for the rest of the community,

  • and for our staff as well, I think it's just

  • better for everyone to stay at home.

  • There's a lot of great companies out there doing delivery.

  • And I think, you know,

  • as much as we are an essential business,

  • I really wanna limit it and get everyone

  • to stay home as much as possible.

  • Taryn: I did wanna ask, are you planning on

  • reopening, or are you just gonna wait

  • till this kinda all blows over?

  • Elisa: Yeah, I mean, we are planning on reopening,