A city girl gives up the biz of creating perfumes to take on the scent of cookie dough instead
Anutha Shetty Umrigar, whose delicious soft-centred cookies are finding fans among the city’s sweet-toothed, confesses she actually stumbled into baking by accident. “I’d never been a baker before,” she tells me, “But when I was based in London, I’d indulge in Ben’s Cookies—the famous American style soft-centred cookies—and just loved them.” The memory of her forays to Ben’s, where she would wait a few minutes extra just to get her hands on a hot, straight-from-the oven gooey cookie stayed with her even as she qualified as a cosmetic scientist, studying the manufacture of perfumes, makeup and shampoos. Back in India, she realised her heart wasn’t in cosmetic science. Still, she says, baking as an optional career was far from her mind. It was by chance that she decided to experiment to see if she could recreate her joyful Ben’s Cookies’ memories. “It took time to get the soft bake cookies right,” she recalls, “Then I started by handing them out to my parents’ friends and soon I was getting calls and orders.” Soon, Umrigar was baking away – for baby showers, Diwali and Christmas giveaways. “I was hesitant at first— what if I messed up?”
Her fears were unfounded. Today, Umrigar’s Love & Crumble Co cookies are being couriered overnight to Mumbai and Delhi, even travelling on special order to Australia. But her biggest fans are right in Bengaluru, where she takes orders directly (minimum 10 cookies) or via a premium food delivery app, Entrée, which allows customers to order even a single cookie to add to their meal orders.
Her best seller is the milk chocolate chip, but she’s added options – dark or white chocolate, or butterscotch with a crunchy zing. There’s also the peanut butter-stuffed cookie (“indulgent but delicious!”) and the Nutella cookies with sea salt—a balance of sweet and savoury. Yearn for the indulgence of dark Belgian chocolate? Umrigar’s recent add-ons ooze chocolate when you bite into them. “I’m thinking of adding an orange, and maybe milk chocolate with bacon. I’m working on how to keep the bacon crumbly.”
By now, the urge to drool into my espresso is overtaking me, so I ask her about her signature giant cookies, the ‘brookies’, which combine the texture of a brownie with a cookie’s shape. She does an ultra-indulgent 1-kg brookie filled with Nutella and topped with marshmallow—crumbly yet gooey and sliceable like a cake. The big ones cost `1,200-`1,400, while single cookies range from `80-`100.
Umrigar’s dream is to open her little café where she’ll dish straight-from-the-oven cookies just like Ben’s and other cookie mavens in London and New York. That this is her passion is clear—she bakes each cookie, tests every batch and packages them herself. “I’m working on alternate and gluten-free flours and organic ingredients as well. But my original cookies, simply made with good ingredients, will be my mainstay. For me, it’s all about the taste.”