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Prayer, health scare lead to tasty enterprise

Prayer, and the desire to thrive after an ulcerative colitis diagnosis in 1997, turned Carla Spilak first toward organic eating and later, toward cookies. Healthy cookies. At least, as healthy as cookies can be. It’s an outcome you’d expect from a West Side native and daughter of Nick “Ferocious” Ferri, who had a food stand at the Buffalo Italian Heritage Festival for years, and Nina Ferri, an accomplished cook and baker in her own right.

Spilak, 54, of Amherst, sold her first cookie nine years ago at the then-new Williamsville Farmers Market. She’s been there since, and also hawks her natural, dairy-, nut-, soy- and corn-free wares at the new Elmwood-Bidwell Winter Market, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays through April in Buckham Hall at SUNY Buffalo State. A helper, Sandy Mazella, offers Spilak’s cookies at the North Tonawanda Farmers Market, as well as the Winter Market at Horsefeathers from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays through May 7 at 346 Connecticut St.

Three years ago, she set up her venture as a business, Carla’s Crumby Creations, and this week launched a website,

Q. We know what’s not in these cookies, so what is in them?

I use all organic ingredients. I use organic spelt flour. For those who are sensitive to wheat, the spelt flour doesn’t usually bother them. I use organic coconut oil and everybody loves it. I use organic turbinado sugar. I use the best farm eggs; she can’t keep them in her store at Farmers & Artisans market on Main Street.

Q. What are your biggest sellers?

My biggest seller, my signature cookie, is my ginger molasses, and right after that is my coconut cream. No matter where I go, I always have to have them with me. My ginger molasses cookies have cinnamon, ginger, cloves and black molasses in them.

I do have a very decadent vanilla coconut macaroon with carob fudge. They sell like crazy. The coconut macaroons are all organic coconut and Madagascar vanilla. I do creamsicles, which are all organic coconut and organic orange peel. I do snickerdoodles that are made with Vietnamese cinnamon and Madagascar vanilla. I do oatmeal dark chocolate with no soy lecithin in it at all. I do dark chocolate, currants and nutmeg.

Q. How much do they cost?

One for $3, three for $6, six for $12 and a dozen is $24. They’re a beautiful size. The prices are high but the people know what’s in them. They love them. I’m blessed.

– Scott Scanlon