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Anne F. Grossman, founder and owner of RDC. (Photo: Abi Polinsky)

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This Cookie Won't Crumble

Rebel Daughter Cookies

“Every valuable human being must be a radical and a rebel, for what he must aim at is to make things better than they are.”

Niels Bohr

Anne Grossman wasn’t the kind of rebel who vandalized property or wore strange make-up to frighten the elderly. She never threw rocks at birds or tried to trip power walkers.

No, she was the worst kind of rebel.

She was the rebel who constantly tangled her parents into insidious knots of reason. Why are tattoos bad? What’s wrong with swearing? Why can’t I wear this?

“My older brother is a rule follower,” she recalls, “I came along and gave my parents gray hair.”

Thus she was bestowed the cognomen, “Rebel Daughter.”

But age softens insolence and, in her 30s, she channeled her renegade nature into a most noble initiative: cookies. Big, fabulous concoctions that juuust skirt the boundaries of acceptability in polite society.

Chocolate chip cookies, yes. But also rainbow cotton candy cookies topped with pop rocks and edible glitter.* Fluffernutter cookies made with homemade peanut butter fudge, marshmallow, and chocolate chunks. Unicorn sugar cookies rolled in fruity pebbles, with a rainbow white chocolate and nerds candy center.

Her Norwalk bakery, Rebel Daughter Cookies (RDC) is, fittingly, based in the art park Isaac Square. During the pandemic many businesses in the square went under, making it as depressing as get-out. As a salve for the community, real estate developer Jason Milligan transformed it into a rocking outdoor museum, filled with paintings and murals by local artists such as one of our favorites, 5iveFingaz.

The raucous, edgy images compliment the no-rules creative vibe of her treats. She commissioned artist Weverson Ponte to paint his signature vibrant murals on the outside and inside of her building (though most of her business is mail order, she does maintain some retail hours).

The journey began when a few years ago, Anne wondered, “I always thought I’d be a stay-at-home mom - why am I feeling empty?” She took a long walk with her daughter, then it hit her, “I realized I wasn’t being as creative as I have been throughout my life.” Oh - and she had been searching in Connecticut for a chocolate chip walnut cookie as good as she had eaten in Brooklyn.

She started baking a half-batch of chocolate chip cookies every day. After a month and a half her husband and taste tester, Scott, remarked, “I think you’ve got it.”

Scott was thinking bake sale. Anne was thinking nationwide.

Then… “People told me ‘What are you going to do with the kids?’ ‘You’ll never make any money.’” Her inner-rebel twitched. No ill-advised comment was going to stop her train. She stayed up late learning photography and building a website until every cynic realized “I wasn’t turning back.”

An avid lover of sweets, she bases her goodies on beloved childhood desserts - key lime pie, churros, s’mores - and adult flavor profiles such as smoked and ube. When she first started, in 2019, she’d make a cookie up to 20 times to perfect it. Now she can nail a new taste in only 3-5 bakes.

Always on the menu at RDC are eight ever-changing “crowd favorites” and three “lactation” cookies. What’s that? Cookies made with oatmeal, flax seed, and brewer’s yeast, a combo which increases breast milk. Why?  They taste far better than the “gross bowl of oatmeal [she] could barely choke down” while nursing. (Anne assures me that eating them will not effect spontaneous lactation.)

She also had the great idea to train her two kids to say, “Mommy’s cookies are the best cookies.” This backfired. “Now they say that about every cookie,” Anne smiles.

Not every idea is a winner. The cookies, however, are. Anne admits, “I wake up every day excited about the future.”

*The Do U Boo Boo cookie is a Weverson Ponte x RDC collab.

RebelDaughterCookies.com

@rebeldaughtercookies

  •  (Photo: Abi Polinsky)
  •  (Photo: Abi Polinsky)
  • (Photo: Abi Polinsky)
  • (Photo: Abi Polinsky)
  •  OMG (Photo: Abi Polinsky)
  • Anne F. Grossman, founder and owner of RDC. (Photo: Abi Polinsky)
  • Anne F. Grossman, founder and owner of RDC.  (Photo: Abi Polinsky)
  • (Photo: Abi Polinsky)
  • Anne by the Weverson mural on her storefront. (Photo: Stefanie Cole Photography)
  • Anne by the Weverson mural on her storefront. (Photo: Stefanie Cole Photography)
  • Anne by the Weverson mural on her storefront. (Photo: Stefanie Cole Photography)
  • The rebel and her daughter. (Photo: Stefanie Cole Photography)
  • (Photo: Stefanie Cole Photography)
  • (Photo: Stefanie Cole Photography)