Rye Mom Turns Love Of Baking Into Successful Business

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Rye resident Sara Leand's unique cookies can be found in stores across the country.
Rye resident Sara Leand's unique cookies can be found in stores across the country. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Jennifer Niederhoffer

RYE, N.Y. -- Rye resident Sara Leand always loved making cookies since she was a little girl baking with her grandmother. In the past few years, she has taken that love and expanded it into a nationwide business: Sara Snacker Cookie Company.

Leand first started selling her cookies as a college student at the University of Arizona. After graduating, she moved to Los Angeles, where she worked in the entertainment business, first as an executive at Paramount Studios and then as an executive producer on a number of television shows. Yet, she always maintained her love of baking.

"I always knew I would come back to it, but I figured it would be as a grandmother, not as a first-time mom," she said.

After getting married and becoming pregnant with her first child, she decided to give her cookie business another go. She started selling them at food shows and eventually got them into her first store: Zabars in Manhattan. Four years and three kids later, her cookies are available in stores across the nation.

Leand describes her cookies as "classics with a twist." Her original cookie was the Chipn'etzel, a shortbread cookie with pretzels and potato chips. Other varieties include a lemonade cookie and her recently launched gluten-free, dairy-free Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chippy.

"I love coming up with crazy concoctions, usually when I'm playing around in the kitchen with my kids," she said. Her Chipn'eztel came about when trying to use pretzels as an alternative to nuts, and the new peanut butter cookie was created when trying to recreate the taste of a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup.

"I'll think of something I love, maybe something from my childhood, and I'll start working on it," she said. She'll often use her friends and family as her taste-testers and tinker with the recipes until she's satisfied. All of her cookies are made without additives, preservatives or artificial flavors.

Leand is thrilled with her cookies' success, and continues to add more stores and distributors. As she continues to invent new varieties, she soon will be coming out with jumbo-sized cookies, and thinks that in a few years she might establish a physical store to sell her creations.

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Comments (6)

I read this article and while out for a day in the city this weekend I was surprised and excited to run into these cookies at Gourmet Garage, to support a fellow resident of Rye. However my surprise turned to disappointment when one of the packages were completely empty, not one peanut butter cookie inside but even more disappointing my Smores had no marshmallows.
I am sure this is just one of those things that can happen but none the less I was very disappointed at the empty package and lack of marshmallows as well the condition of the cookies that I did have. I would normally never leave a comment but I looked up and saw the package and thought about this article.
I sent an email to the owner to alter them of problem. Just know this cookie lover will one day give them another try!

What a great story! I can't wait to try these.

I guess you can only post positive comments about this product or you will be deleted! Speaks a lot about the company.

I've had these cookies before - really good. Did not realize she was from Rye!

Love these cookies!!

For those who have not tried these cookies, they are amazing. Have you ever heard of a chip'netzel - a combination of pretzel and cookie. For those who like lemonade, the lemonade cookies are out of this world. The fact that this woman has made a business out of making these gourmet cookies is a testament to the American Way. I salute her and her business. From what I understand they are found throughout gourmet markets and groceries. I have made a few orders and everyone I shared them with loved them.