Morrison’s cookie rotation sweetens healthcare menus
In January, Orange Cranberry Cookies will rotate into the lineup. The citrus ties into health and wellness for the new year. | Photos courtesy of Morrison Healthcare.
Jeffrey Quasha, Senior Director of Culinary Innovation for Morrison Healthcare, starts whiteboarding cookie ideas at least a year ahead. His job sounds pretty enviable.
Quasha not only looks at what’s trending at Crumbl, Insomnia and other leading cookie concepts, he also tastes a lot of cookies. He then works with Rich’s, a supplier of cookie and pastry doughs, to incorporate top flavor and ingredient trends and create a winning recipe.
Salted Mocha Truffle Cookies are the feature for the holiday season and will be served at Morrison’s healthcare and senior living operations through December. Plus, the cookie will get some extra star treatment in celebration of National Cookie Day on Dec. 4.
“There’s a trend toward filled cookies and stuffed cookies, often with candies stuck in the center or on top,” says Quasha. To create this cookie, dough is formed into a big ball and a chocolate truffle is stuffed in the middle, then baked. “Indulgence is the theme for the holidays,” Quasha added.
The cookies are traditionally available at retail locations in healthcare and senior living, but Morrison is now adding the seasonal rotation to patient meals. Plus, Rich’s can supply the dough to other Compass-managed operations in K-12 and in stadiums serviced by Levy.
From idea to oven
Morrison kicked off its partnership with Rich’s six years ago to launch the cookie rotation. After the ideas are formulated, Rich’s develops bench samples and sends the dough to Quasha and his team to bake, plate and make suggestions for tweaks. “The cookies are all scoop, bake and serve for each location,” he says.
They’re usually served in two sizes—a 3-ounce cookie and a smaller 1.3-ounce version. “We have to take wellness into consideration but I believe the best desserts are two to three bites,” says Quasha. “That’s enough to create satiety and excitement; that amazing sensation of texture and flavor.”
Morrison already has its lineup set for 2024. After the new year and through the end of March, the Orange Cranberry Cookie will be in the rotation. “Citrus connects with wellness, which ties into National Nutrition Month in March,” says Quasha. In April, a Dark Chocolate Chunk rotates in. “Ooey, gooey chocolate chip cookies are still our biggest seller,” he added. Summertime will see a Strawberry Shortcake Cookie.
“We don’t want to repeat a cookie in less than two years, but Pumpkin Spice and S’mores were so popular, we brought them back sooner,” says Quasha.
Down to the last crumb
While fresh-baked cookies don’t need much promotion, Morrison cafes will sometimes bake them in the pizza oven at the pizza station and offer warm cookies to customers. The aroma alone draws people in, Quasha says.
He’s also planning to launch a program of celebratory cookies, presenting a “surprise” box of warm cookies to a patient celebrating the end of chemo treatments or the birth of a baby, for example.
And while it seems impossible that any cookies would ever go to waste, Morrison has a sweet recycling program for broken or crumbled cookies. The kitchen layers them with other ingredients and turns them into cookie parfaits. Or sandwiches pieces together with icing filling to make sandwich cookies.
What’s next on Quasha’s cookie radar? “Brookies,” he says. “Brownie batter is baked on the bottom and chocolate chip cookie dough on top. You get a cookie and a brownie in one bite.”