A little recipe tinkering makes cafe a winner
Paradise Cafe's chocolate-chip cookie -- No. 1 in Marty and Mark Alsop's cookie rankings -- is the result of owner Sharooz Noubari's recipe refinements.
MAKE IT YOURSELF
Mark Alsop ranks his mother's cookies a perfect 10.
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2-1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 12-ounce bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
Prehead oven to 375 degrees.
Cream together butter and sugar. Beat in eggs and vanilla.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt and baking soda. Gradually beat into butter/sugar mixture. Add chocolate chips and stir in. Spoon and drop onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 9 minutes.
Nutritional information unavailable.
The shop started out as a franchise in 1989, but "my mom would always try to change the recipes a little to make them taste better," said Noubari's son, Nima Noubari. "After we took over the chain completely about 10 years ago, we've taken all the additives and preservatives and most of the salt out of the original cookie recipes, and we always bake our cookies fresh every day."
Sharooz confirms that chocolate chip is the shop's most popular cookie. "Young kids will prefer one of our large, cake-sized chocolate-chip cookies over the usual birthday cake."
Sharooz and her husband, Tom, immigrated to the San Francisco area from Iran in 1976. In 1984, they bought an Italian bakery franchise called Il Fornio. This led to the purchase of the Paradise Cafe franchise, which expanded to Hawaii in '92.
The family has settled here and now owns Paradise Cafe outlets downtown and at Ala Moana Center (as well as Spada, an Italian restaurant downtown). Next month they'll open a new location at the Royal Hawaiian Center in Waikiki.
The cafe also sells fresh-baked breads, cinnamon rolls, croissants, sandwiches, salads and soups.
"I think people like our cookies because of the freshness of our ingredients, our use of the best-quality chocolate, and our home-cooking methods," Sharooz said.
The number of chocolate-chip cookies sold varies by day. "We'll bake until the display case is full -- about three dozen," Sharooz said. "If that's gone by midday, we'll bake some more. Of course, that amount sells out in no time around Christmas."
This list isn't meant to be exhaustive, but represents Mark and Marty Alsop's best efforts to taste as many fresh-baked and locally made packaged chocolate-chip cookies as they could find over the course of about six months. When a cookie is noted as having a "strange aftertaste," Mark explains: "It can mean a dull taste, but it can also mean that it tastes like there are too many preservatives, and that that taste lingers in your mouth as something bitter, despite the sweetness of the chocolate."