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Atlanta's Cookie Bakery Tackles Gluten-Free Desserts, and Healthy Breakfast & Lunch Selections

By Kelly Church

Atlanta, GA's local cookie bakery, The Cookie Studio, didn't get an average start. The Cookie Studio's Owner Barbara O'Neill is a former full-time volunteer at The Atlanta Day Shelter for Women and Children who read about three women in Los Angeles who had left their jobs to open a cookie business. O'Neill was inspired, even saying that was her "aha moment" and was when she decided that The Cookie Studio was in her future.

The Cookie Studio, according to O'Neill, is known for their chocolate chip cookies. However, the cookie menu goes far beyond the traditional chocolate chip.

Other cookies include breakfast cookies, butterscotch oatmeal, chocolate chocolate chip, key lime sugar, spicy ginger, toffee pecan and, made with a little spice, hot chocolate. There is also a small gluten free cookie menu with flavors that include chocolate walnut and macaroons.

"We have been truly amazed by the number of people who come in asking for gluten free products," O'Neill says. "Once we realized the demand, we thought it would be prudent of us to add some gluten free options to the menu. Customers are always so thankful when they come in and discover that we offer gluten free choices."

Other baked goods at The Cookie Studio include whoopee pies (in chocolate chip, red velvet and pumpkin during the fall season), cupcakes, bars and brownies. O'Neill also sells specialty cookie mixes.

To break from tradition, nearly two years ago, O'Neill added breakfast and lunch to the menu. The recipes were developed after O'Neill sifted through her box of favorite recipes and she says her chicken salad recipe is proving to be a hit with her customers. The chicken salad comes as a bowl, a slider topped with arugula or as a wrap served with chips.

Guests can also order it as a side to another menu item. Once O'Neill realized how popular the dish was, she started offering it in 8 oz. and 16 oz. containers for her customers to take home.

"I love when our customers come into the store or write us an email telling us how much they love our product, the store and who we are," O'Neill says. "That feeds my soul. When you work so hard to produce a product you think people will enjoy, it is so rewarding to get the positive feedback."

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