It can be difficult for college students to imagine what career they might love to do for the rest of their lives. Sometimes it takes years before students figure out what their passion is and how to pursue it. We sat down with the owner of La La's Gourmet Cookies, Laura Oprandy, to see just how she turned her childhood love for baking into her full-time career. Our conversation with Laura demonstrates just how serendipitous it is that she's doing what she loves.
Why did you start La La's Gourmet Cookies?
I've had a love for baking since childhood. My grandfather worked at a bakery and his mother was a pastry chef from Bavaria. We would spend hours in the kitchen together forging all types of goodies, but cookies were our favorite! So many of my recipes have been handed down for generations. Baking cookies is in my blood, I guess. I started LaLa's Gourmet Cookies in January of 2013 because there were no "cookie shops" around. I thought it would be great to provide something fresh and new.
Where did you come up with the name, La La's Gourmet Cookies?
My first name is, Laura. When my nieces and nephews were little they could never pronounce "Laura", and instead called me, "Aunt La La". The name stuck!
I say, 'Why not?!' There are so many creative ways to make a cookie. They are so easy to serve and eat too. In fact, I've never met a cookie I didn't like.
What does a typical day at La La's Gourmet Cookie Shop look like?
I have the best job ever! I get to the shop early to make the cookies for that day. The entire shop smells like heaven. There are 3 bakers (including myself) and we plan for upcoming events as well as talk about new flavors. And, then there are the kids and families that come in every day to get their favorite cookies . . . everyone feels like family to me. As Confucius once said,
"Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life."
That is so true.
What is your favorite La La Cookie flavor?
That's like asking who your favorite kid is! But, if I had to choose, it would be Pumpkin Cheesecake . . . no, Kit Kat . . . oh wait, it's Reece's Peanut Butter Cup!
What has been your most memorable cookie project yet?
I would have to say it was sending cookies to our troops at Thanksgiving! The letters of gratitude that I received made me feel so darn good. I loved being able to give them a little taste of home.
What's on the horizon for La La's Gourmet Cookies?
WORLD COOKIE DOMINATION! Okay . . . now that I got that out of my system . . . I plan to make a "Cookie Of The Month Club", expand our Cookie Cake line and we are working on a line of vegan cookies.
Two Home Baking Tips From Laura
Use the freshest ingredients possible. For instance, instead of adding lemon flavoring, squeeze juice from a fresh lemon.
Get the Silpat, a silicone non-stick baking mat. It is life changing.