PCC Profile: West Seattle produce lead bakes up decadent wheat/dairy/egg-free cookies

UPDATE: Chew-E-Core cookies now are available at all PCC locations!

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It was holiday season 2006 (that super windy winter) and Jon-Paul Pachenker decided to make some candy for his friends. But the ingredients he combined to create a roca-like sweet (coconut, cranberries, walnuts, chocolate and honey) turned out more like a cookie than anything else. And a good cookie at that. 

His friends liked the chewy texture, the sweet-yet-not-too-sweet flavor, the dip of chocolate. Over time he realized that, beyond tasting good, his creation happened to be wheat, dairy and egg free. A friend talked to her boss at Seattle's Caffe Vita, which agreed earlier this year to sell them. And so began Chew-E-Core, his cookie venture. He calls it "the holiday every day cookie" -- why enjoy something so satisfying only during the holidays? 

That's Jon-Paul below with a cookie jar left empty by Chew-E-Core fans at Seward Park's Caffe Vita. The produce lead at West Seattle PCC bakes each batch of cookies at Full Tilt Ice Cream in White Center, where another friend arranged with the owner to give him commercial oven access (see the benefits of being friendly?). Full Tilt has even made a Chew-E-Core ice cream on occasion, he says.

Where can you find Chew-E-Core? At all four Seattle Caffe Vita locations (including Seward Park, just across the street from Seward Park PCC, at Full Tilt and at Red Cup Espresso in West Seattle. Sadly, Jon-Paul's small batches (roughly 150 per week) are too small to fully supply PCC quite yet. But hopefully in the future. 

Jon-Paul was born in New York but grew up in south Seattle. He's worked for PCC more than seven years now, first at Seward Park and now in West Seattle. "I like the people that work there," he says. "PCC is the kind of place where artists and musicians and free-thinkers would rather work."

Like so many fellow PCC employees, he plays in a band: He's the drummer for the Blank Its, a local punk-rock group. How he also manages to find time to bake between work and band amazes me, but it's nice hearing of all the support and encouragement he's received at work from co-workers and bosses. Of course, it's always smart to praise a baker: Maybe they'll share the cookies ;) 

Another good thing coming in the future, Jon-Paul says: A peanut butter/banana version of Chew-E-Core!

More about: community, desserts, gluten free, West Seattle

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Where to find them

Don't leave out Bird On a Wire on Henderson in West Seattle! I discovered the Chew-E-Cores there a while back. Now I'm a believer.

So good!

Sydney, thanks for the heads up! Jon-Paul's cookies are a local treasure :) Great to know there's another place to find them!

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