By Bridget Sjoberg | Staff Writer
It all started with a recipe. After perfecting her original chocolate chip cookies, Houston junior Hanna Austin was inspired to create her own business.
Bittersweet Waco originally began solely as a cookie delivery business until Austin saw that Heritage Creamery was hiring a new head baker.
The shop began selling Austin’s Bittersweet cookies two weeks ago, after she talked to Heritage owner Blake Batson. Although Heritage is primarily known for it’s ice cream, cookies hold a special place in the shop’s history.
“Our story begins with Blake’s father, Mark, his famous chocolate chip cookie recipe, and his dream to do something big with his cookies that were well-loved by his friends and family,” the Heritage website says.
Austin is enthusiastic about continuing Heritage’s history of cookie making and sees the inclusion of Bittersweet Waco as exciting exposure for her business.
“I was shocked that Blake said yes,” Austin said. “Honestly, I couldn’t believe it — this is my dream. This is an amazing startup too, since it will provide so much exposure for the brand, and I hope things just go up from here.”
Austin seeks to create unique and interesting recipes. Highlights include her salted caramel cookie that Austin believes tastes like a Twix bar, and her oatmeal raisin cookie filled with marshmallow cream. Another of her most popular is a birthday cake cookie, which includes Golden Oreos, sprinkles and white chocolate.
“Cookies are easy,” Austin notes. “Once you get one recipe down you can kind of manipulate it.”
Austin believes the best way to purchase her cookies is to get them at Heritage Creamery, and adds that you can message her through @Bittersweetwaco, the business’ Instagram account. A phone number is included on the account as well to contact her directly.
Malibu, Calif., junior Alex Plank is a long-time fan of Austin’s cookies, and is proud of how far she’s come in her business.
“I had her cookies for the first time last year and have been obsessed ever since,” Plank said. “Hanna is so talented and truly special, and I am so beyond proud of seeing her cookies sold at Heritage.”
Plank loves the unique flavors Austin comes up with, and has ideas for cookies she could create in the future.
“Her cookies are sweet and salty in the perfect way, and they look so cool,” Plank said. “You can tell how creative Hanna is based on how she makes her cookies look — she takes something seemingly so simple and makes it fun and interesting. I want to see a s’more cookie in the future, or something to do with brownies.”
Hanna hopes to grow and expand Bittersweet Waco in the future, and appreciates the impact of small businesses on the Baylor and Waco communities.
“I have the worst sweet tooth ever, so I’m always on Instagram looking for inspiration — I love Oreos and peanut butter,” Austin said. “The more small businesses we have, the better for the city. The goal is to turn around Waco and we’re getting more tourism, so that’s really good.”
Austin encourages students interested in starting their own small businesses to put themselves out there and not listen to people that don’t support their goals.
“When I pitched my idea to Blake, there were a lot of people who told me that maybe this isn’t the best idea since I’m only a junior, but I went for it anyway,” Austin said. “If you have any opportunity, you’ve got to take it.”