When life gave him lemons, Desmond Curran decided to make Beautiful Cookies.
Curran bakes unusual flavor combinations of giant cookies that are currently available at events, online and via pre-order. The cookies, he said, are the perfect combination of what he loves. “I love to bake, but I could never just bake. I need to be around people. I love people. I could sell cookies to people all day,” Curran said.
For those who have never tasted one of Curran’s Beautiful Cookies, we can tell you firsthand they are delicious and big.
“I don’t play around. I like a large cookie,” said Curran.
Using real butter, Ghirardelli chocolates, high-quality cocoa, pure vanilla and his combination of pastry and regular flours, Curran has perfected the art of getting a homemade cookie that is crisp, yet chewy at the same time.
“Pastry flour is key. It has less gluten. But if I used it straight, the cookies would crumble. All-purpose stands up better. Together they are a nice blend,” he said.
Curran’s cookie combinations are fantastic. The Black Sea is a chocolate cookie with dark chocolate chips, sea salt and ROLO candies. The Cowboy Cookie mixes white and dark chocolate chips, butterscotch chips and corn flakes with oatmeal.
The Raining Dalmatians uses white chocolate and semi-sweet chocolate chips with roasted walnuts. Old School is Curran’s modern twist on a chocolate chip cookie with the addition of espresso powder. Sow Your Oats is a classic combination of dried cranberries, raisins and molasses with oatmeal.
Curran’s favorite is peanut butter. The Love M (short for Love Machine) combines double peanut butter with dark chips.
The company grew out of a particularly difficult time in his life with March 2015 as his tipping point. After having his glasses broken three times in six months trying to break up fights in the Buffalo school he was teaching at, Curran walked out. Along with his difficult divorce and overall depression, he decided to go “all in” making something beautiful — giant cookies.
Curran’s colorful life has taken him from Alaska, to Cape Cod, to New York City and finally Buffalo. He stayed here because of the loves of his life — son Gideon, age 10, and daughter Hazel, 9. In a way, the kids helped him start the cookie business long before things went awry.
“Hazel wanted to sell lemonade during the Buffalo Garden Walk, so I made cookies to sell with her. People really loved them, so I started selling them in front of Ashker’s on Elmwood,” he said.
Curran notes his life could have gone in two directions that March. “They say most people lead silent lives of desperation. I didn’t want to go that path, so I decided to do something I love,” he said.
With no professional experience, he cashed in his retirement and dove in. Most thought he was making a bad decision to quit, but he wasn’t deterred.
“I knew nothing, I didn’t even know how to operate the Hobart mixer in this space I rent,” he said.
Gideon designed his logo and Hazel has come up with clever names for the cookies like Raining Dalmatians and Black Sea. Since June, Curran has peddled his cookies at local events and festivals.
Curran’s right-hand woman is Mary Pat McNamara, a full-time employee. During her time working with the homeless, she kept in contact with Dwayne, a fella who has been in and out of jail for about 40 years. Curran hires Dwayne to help out from time to time.
He’s still helping kids too, or at least one boy, Lamal from the neighborhood.
“He was in here all the time. He comes from a tough home. He loves to help me out. I had him work the Ellicottville Fall Festival. He made some money for himself,” said Curran.
If you want to try a Beautiful Cookie, for now you can call to find out where they will be selling them, or order online to pick up. Beautiful Cookies has made cookies for events like barbecues and weddings, and can supply cookies on a platter as well as individually wrapped. For platters, Curran can make them a smaller, more manageable size.
The good news is Beautiful Cookies' cookie truck up will be up and running soon. After trying to get his cookies into retail locations, Curran decided a truck was an easier way to go.
“Nobody has a cookie truck around here, yet everyone loves cookies. We are bringing the cookie to the masses. We can go all over,” he said. Curran also plans to open a permanent shop on the West Side.
“It won’t be a big café or anything, just a place for people to pick up cookies. We’ll have a few tables and really good music. I love music,” he said.
“If I can make enough money to support myself, be a good dad and make people laugh that’s all I want.” He’s also into hugs, so be prepared if you buy a cookie, a hug might come along with it.
Beautiful Cookies doesn't have a storefront, but people can pick up cookie orders at 345 W. Ferry St. Order online or call 259-0271.