Cookies are great. Comics, also pretty fantastic. After encountering Einhorn’s Epic Cookies, a new New York based cookie company that includes a comic with every package, I wonder why no one else thought to combine them before. Luckily, Einhorn’s Epic Cookies has rectified that oversight and we no longer live in a world where cookies and comics must be purchased separately. As Heather Einhorn explained to us, the origin story for this epic pairing can be found in the snacks and treats of yesteryear, while the cookies themselves are decidedly a family affair.
Each pack of cookies comes with a comic about the Royal Einhorn Force. A group of unicorns made up of Houston, Broxburn, Cadiz and Romsey. Each unicorn corresponds to a different cookie:
- Chocolate, raisin and oatmeal for Broxburn
- Marshmallow, crisped rice and rainbow sprinkles for Cadiz
- Chocolate chips and potato chips for Houston
- Peanut butter, maple syrup and bacon for Romsey. (Yes, BACON!)
While the story for each pack of cookies is the same, the ending differs slightly and is customized for each horse as they battle the evil Lord Farragut. The story continues on the Einhorn Epic Cookies website, and the company promises weekly updates.
As the company was in the process of completely selling out at Comic Con, Heather sat down to explain the origins of the cookies, plans for expansion, which cookie tastes the best raw, the perfect flavor for an arch villain, and why the company decided to make a bacon cookie, with fake bacon (Don’t worry, it still tastes delicious).
Castles & Cooks: This has to be gotten out of the way first, it’s not real bacon in those cookies.
Heather: No, it’s not, it’s imitation bacon.
C&C: Any specific reason? Is it a recipe thing, cost thing?
Heather: It actually has to do with FDA regulations on shipping meats across state lines. So if you have a baked good and you put meat in it, you need to have special FDA clearance to ship it state to state. So I could sell you the real bacon cookies here in New York, but if you lived in New Jersey you couldn’t get them.
C&C: Is that special FDA clearance more expensive?
Heather: It takes a while to get. So we decided, let’s just see how this imitation bacon tastes and people went crazy for it, so we didn’t even have to deal with that problem anyway. What’s been the most interesting thing about this whole show is the vegetarians have been coming up to us and they’re so excited about this bacon cookie. Because they’re like ‘oh, bacon, I can’t have that’ and we tell them it’s imitation and they’re like ‘oh my God! You just changed my life with this cookie.
C&C: So no plans for real bacon cookies, you’re gonna stick with the imitation. And they do taste good, I didn’t even realize it was fake at first, someone else was like ‘this isn’t real bacon, I’ve been lied to, there’s no truth in this world!’ And it’s like, c’mon, calm down, it’s a cookie.
Heather: [laughing] No, no plans for real bacon, we’ve had such a fantastic reaction to the bacon peanut butter cookie that we’re not touching it.
C&C: So tell me how the idea of starting a cookie, company and put a comic in it?
Heather: It’s sort of an old idea that’s new again. The idea came from Bazooka Joe, Cracker Jack, these brands and feeling of excitement and surprise when you open the bag. We thought, you know what, just a cookie, everyone is doing that, but a cookie and a comic? No one is doing that.
This is a brand new idea, yet it is an old idea that is coming back around. Obviously, I used to work at DC comics, so it became very clear what the prize should be. We wanted to put something in these cookies to make them fun and I said, I know comic books so we might as well just put a comic in there. And Einhorn means unicorns so they better be about unicorns.
C&C: Okay, so the next question was going to be where did the idea for anthropomorphic unicorns come from? Because we look at it and it’s immediately evocative of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and like Street Sharks. So it came just from that Einhorn means unicorn?
Heather: The inspiration came from Einhorn meaning unicorn, but the whole vibe, the 80s undertones that’s all just me. That’s what I like, so I can only put out what I would want to read.
C&C: Based on reading the comic, it looks like you guys really enjoyed the 80s and early 90s. You must have had a good time that decade.
Heather: Oh yeah. We’ve actually got a theme song that we’re producing right now, and if you like 80s hair metal bands, stay tuned to our website, we’ll be launching that shortly.
C&C: So right now, you have four flavors with four characters and the story. Do you have plans for where this is going?
Heather: Oh yeah, we have a whole bunch of characters that we are going to be introducing, we’ve got new flavors. They’ll come down the pipe down the line, but whenever you see a new character in the comic you can pretty much expect that we’ve an idea for what that flavor is gonna be. Lord Farragut – our bad guy – he’s gonna be like a dark chocolate. We’ve got a girl unicorn, she’s probably going to be like a gluten free. We really want the character’s personalities to come out in the cookies, so we’re gonna keep going with that.
C&C: So it’s kind of like the old 80s cartoons where, hey, a new character showed up that means there’s a new toy at the store. In this case, there’s a new character, that means there’s a new cookie coming.
Heather: [laughing] Which is so much more exciting! And you can try to guess what flavor it’s gonna be when that character shows up.
C&C: So at the moment you can do mail order anywhere, in the United States?
Heather: Yes, in the United States. If you live in the, US, you can go to our website, www.einhorns-epic-cookies.com and you can order the cookies.
C&C: What’s the basic information regarding shipping?
Heather: It’s standard shipping, so you should get them pretty quickly assuming everything works okay with UPS. Shelf life of the cookies is about 10 days, but we do encourage everyone to eat them immediately, which hasn’t really been a problem here at New York Comic Con.
C&C: Have you considered any of the crowd funding sites, like Kickstarter, to try and build up some capital to grow the company?
Heather: We might do that down the road. This show [New York Comic Con] was all about seeing what the reactions were [to the product]. Reactions have been fantastic so now comes the really fun part where you say ‘okay, we’ve got something people are really into, now what are the next steps?’ So that’s going to be the next couple of weeks.
C&C: Because at the moment you guys are just a home kitchen. So, do you have capacity if requests for production increase significantly?
Heather: We have something in the works because we do think this is going to go pretty big. Nothing concrete right now, it’s homemade, it’s hot out of the oven coming to you.
C&C: So, a less serious question, which of the four cookie doughs tastes the best raw?
Heather: That’s a great question. It’s the Cadiz, because that one’s got the rainbow sprinkles and the marshmallow in it, and the krispies. So if you like rainbow sprinkles – and I like rainbow sprinkles, that’s why that cookie has them – it’s so good.
C&C: When you’re working on the comic, or when you were working on comics back at DC Comics, what is your favorite snack or drink to have with you?
Heather: That’s also a great question, because my snack of choice would always be dark chocolate Hershey’s kisses while eating potato chips, which is actually how the chocolate chip potato chip was born, because I would put them in my mouth at the same time. I was like, you know what, we might as well make a cookie out of this it’s so good. It’s that salty sweet.
C&C: Necessity is the mother of invention. I need to eat both of these things, might as well do it at the same time.
Heather: We’ve cut out the middle man!
C&C: If you could have any superpower, what superpower would you have?
Heather: Oh man. I’m gonna go with teleportation.
C&C: Teleportation through time or just through space?
Heather: Can I say time and space? I’d like both of them.
C&C: Which of the four cookies have you eaten the most of?
Heather: It’s the Cadiz. That’s the one I’ve eaten the most of.
C&C: Which cookie has sold the fastest?
Heather: It’s the Romsey bacon cookie. I literally had two guys today, physically sprint over to get the Romsey bacon before they sold out. That’s the biggest hit of the show and we couldn’t be more thrilled.
Hard to be more thrilled than when your entire inventory sells out before the Con is even over. It also helps that the cookies are really good and each out has a unique flavor and texture. Much like how each unicorn has a personality, these cookies are not merely re-skins.
The idea of introducing new cookies with characters like an 80s cartoon and channeling Bazooka Joe or Cracker Jack on makes Einhorn’s Epic Cookies seem like the perfect balance between old school nostalgia and modern pop culture mash-ups, with a dash of creative business sense.
If they ever do go to Kickstarter, they have an advantage over many food related projects, in that non-locals backers could benefit beyond one time Kickstarter perk or stretch goal. Even if they eventually wanted to raise money for a storefront or factory in NY, people around the country could still benefit, not to mention the added value of the comics and potentially merchandise in the future.
Seriously, this might be the start of something huge. At the very least, it’s the start of something delicious, regardless of whether the bacon is real or not.