Monday, December 07, 2009

the story behind orenji holiday cookies...

In 1985, at the age of 12, Jacob Palm, the owner of orenji and culinary artist behind our creations, made his first holiday cookies. Nearly twenty-five years later, we are still making cookies in the same manner— by hand, with trusted family recipes.

The history of orenji cookies began in upstate New York, with Jacob watching his mother, Linda—the first major influence on orenji holiday cookies-- bake holiday classic cookies, and gradually (to her delight!) replacing her as the holiday baker. It was in these early days that holiday cookies were mostly for friends and family, although sales began shortly thereafter.

(Jacob @ age 14)

After a few years, Jacob was working as a pastry chef under the skillful guidance, mentorship, and friendship of Cheryl Hanzlian Bevacqua—the second major influence on orenji holiday cookies. Cheryl “introduced” a significant number of now-classic recipes, and for many years the two friends baked cookies together. Sadly, in 2005 Cheryl passed away following a lengthy struggle with cancer. One of the cookies created each year since that time, Kahlua Balls, is decorated with pink sanding sugar—the color of breast cancer awareness-- as a simple tribute to an amazingly kind, loving, and talented woman.

(Cheryl Hanzlian Bevacqua)

Since the start, orenji holiday cookies have moved from upstate New York, to the upper east side of Manhattan, to our current location in southern California. Over the years, cookies have been shipped to a multitude of countries spanning four continents. Each year, the 35 “core” recipes— many variations on those first baked by Linda or Cheryl—are supplemented with new yearly creations. We hope that the love and attention that go into each hand-crafted cookie enhance your holiday season and communicate the long history of culinary artistry that these cookies represent. From all of us at orenji: Happy Holidays!

It's not too late to order your holiday cookies! Don't wait... supplies are limited!

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