Little Chocolate Miracles
Little Chocolate Miracles
These gluten free, dairy free and preservative free chocolate chewies are melt-in-your-mouth delicious and are yours free next week with your coupon!
By Carmelo Sigona
Google “chocolate chewies” and you’ll find a plethora of recipes, recommendations and testimonials for the cookies. What you won’t find the recipe for Baba Joon’s Chocolate Chewies, the all natural, melt in your mouth, little chocolate miracles that are free of gluten, dairy and preservatives.
You can find them at Sigona’s! These delicate little morsels are made by A. Agah, one of our new local vendors from San Jose and the creator of Baba Joon’s Chocolate Chewies. We carry several different varieties and as our free gift to you next week (Dec. 21 – 27, 2011) you can get a free 14-count package with your coupon and a purchase of $30 or more.
“I really should write the recipe down; it’s all in my head,” chuckles Agah. “My secret is in the way the ingredients are processed. If they don’t come together a certain way, they’ll be too hard or too soft. I also don’t overcompensate with sugar for the lack of flour, and the chewies are packed with real fruit and nuts.”
Agah perfected the recipe for his Chocolate Chewies as owner & operator of Our Daily Bread, formerly one of San Jose’s most popular French-style bakeries. If you lived in San Jose from 1984 – 1997, you likely sat in one of the themed rooms, nibbling on a freshly baked croissant, scone or even a chocolate chewie. Our Daily Bread even franchised, opening in four South Bay locations at one point.
Agah has worked many jobs and owned many businesses, he’s on his sixteenth, to be exact. He has printed maps, sold office supplies, drove taxis, roasted coffee, opened a juice bar and even owned an organic produce shop, but it seems that pastries always had a stronghold on his heart.
“I lived on the East Coast for a few years where I discovered the America pastries were nothing like Persian pastries from,” said Agah. “A friend and I had the idea to open a French or Persian bakery, but we didn’t get a chance before I moved back to the West Coast.”
Back on the West Coast, Agah found inspiration again to open a bakery after speaking with a manager at a local bakery. “I was selling office supplies at the time, but my wife and I walked out of that bakery that day and decided to open our own.”
After a few years with Our Daily Bread, Agah decided to develop something that was wheat free. I, for one, being gluten-intolerant, am thankful he did. The holidays can be hard on someone like me, with all the baked goods being exchanged; I’ve loved having Agah’s cookies for a sweet treat.
“My wife is gluten intolerant, but that’s not necessarily the reason I made them,” said Agah. “These chewies are good for those who have celiac disease, children with autism or even for those who have specific dietary needs. We would sell out daily at the bakery, and only the good Lord knows how many times in my life I’ve said ‘no flour, no preservatives.’ They really are little chocolate miracles.”
The chewies are low in calories, too. In fact, the apricot, a best-seller made with dried, California-grown, heirloom Blenheim apricots, only packs 36 calories a cookie!
Our Daily Bread closed in 1997, but Agah carried on with the cookies. In December 2006, Agah secured some investors, started corporation and began making two flavors of the cookies available to individuals nationwide. He branded them Baba Joon’s because that’s what he’s called by his family. In Farsi, the Persian language, ‘Baba’ is used for father or grandfather, and ‘Joon’ is a term of endearment for a friend or loved one.
Between 2006 and now, Agah moved to Eugene, Ore., but is now back in the Bay Area to be closer to family. Along the way, developed 21 flavors, including orange almond, coconut almond, Mexicali and ginger almond, to name a few, and is now selling to retail outlets, such as Sigona’s.
“We started with the walnut and the apricot, but one of the better sellers now is the orange almond,” said Agah. “I bake them myself in the kitchen at C’est Si Bon Bakery on Blossom Hill Road in San Jose, and I’m very thankful for the use of their space.”
Sigona’s was the first Bay Area store to carry the cookies once Agah resettled in the Bay Area. It was a former employee who introduced him to John Nava, our specialty foods buyer.
“I had secretly sworn not to bring in any more cookie vendors this year,” said Nava. “The market is flooded with cookies, but with one bite of Agah’s cookies I knew we had to bring him in. I’ve never tasted anything gluten free that’s so flavorful, delicate and unique; you can taste the freshness of the ingredients in every bite, and they really do melt in your mouth.”
We’re excited to offer you your very own taste of Baba Joon’s Chocolate Chewies for free the week of Dec. 21 – 27, 2011, with your coupon. It’s just in time for the holidays, too! They make perfect stocking stuffers, treats for Santa, gifts for neighbors, or even a late night snack for yourself as you finish wrapping gifts or addressing cards.