Growing up in a farmhouse in Pennsylvania, Gretchen Fontier got in touch with her culinary side at an early age. "I was always in the kitchen," says the baking expert behind Nunbelievable's delicious cookie recipes. "My dad would often put me up on the counter and he would make bread from scratch. And one of my very first memories is sitting on the counter and you can just smell the yeast and you feel it. And he would let me knead the dough. It's very much ingrained in my mind."
Gretchen has taken that inspiration and run with it, studying at the National Gourmet Institute and building a resume of work that focused on healthy, mindful ways of cooking and baking. Indeed, her education focused on working with nutritious, whole ingredients. "I have a whole background in cooking for people with illnesses and more organic cooking," she says.
A Nunbelievable Opportunity
She jumped at the chance to work with Nunbelievable to develop recipes for a variety of cookie flavors. "At the time I was on maternity leave and this idea was really exciting, because on the side I've always been known as the Cookie Lady," Fontier says. "I've made cookies for friends' weddings and various events and occasions. So it just kind of fell into place."
Nunbelievable's commitment to fighting the hunger crisis in America made this an offer Fontier couldn't refuse: "When they came to me and said it's not just a company that makes cookies and we're not just looking to make a profit, we're also looking to do good, I was like this is right up my alley."
The Secret Ingredient is Love
Using premium ingredients and after careful testing and tweaking, Fontier came up with four delectable recipes: chocolate chip, peanut butter, oatmeal raisin, and gluten-free double chocolate. "Being known as the Cookie Lady, my pride was at stake," she admits. "I was raised that cooking is your soul, cooking is how you show somebody who you are and how you love them. You put time and effort and energy. So you're putting yourself out there."
The journey was painstaking, but it wasn't without its perks. "First of all, I ate a lot of cookies," she says with a laugh. "My family and friends ate a lot of cookies. Everybody really enjoyed this whole process and they're really looking forward to the next variety!"
And while we couldn't pry the precise Nunbelievable formulas out of her, Fontier let us in on a few tips from her kitchen. Whenever possible, browning butter will help make your cookies extra tasty. And don't be stingy with the salt. "Most people don't salt their cookies and baked goods enough because they think takes away from the sweetness," she says. "But the salt actually brings out the flavor." Vanilla is another ingredient you can — and should — be extra generous with. "Vanilla is the secret to everything," Fontier reveals.
A Transcendent Taste With a Positive Impact
More than anything, Fontier put her heart into this task. "The mission was ultimately to develop the most delicious, non-GMO cookies," she says. "We wanted to create a very wholesome but still indulgent treat. Ultimately my biggest goal was to make the most delicious cookies that would sell a lot so that we could give a lot back to those people who need more."
Gretchen has been hard at work dreaming up new ways to expand the Nunbelievable offerings. A special keto-flavored cookie—inspired by the popular high-fat, low-carb diet—is in the works. Stay tuned for more details! And you can follow Gretchen’s cooking adventures at her Instagram account @chefgretchie or at her website.
If you haven’t tried Nunbelievable cookies yet, now is the time. Remember that for every box you order we’ll make a contribution to one our partners in the fight against hunger. Click here to order and follow us on Facebook and Instagram to let us know what you think!