What started as a pet peeve, has resulted in a successful business for a Lower Sackville stay-at-home mompreneur of four.
While living in Vancouver, Dawn Emson, like many people, got caught up in the biscotti biscuit rage.
Biscotti are oblong, thick, brittle cookies traditionally designed to be dipped in coffee, cocoa, or wine. Originally from Italy, biscotti translates as twice baked because the cookies must be baked long enough to make them dry and crunchy.
While she liked the hard, crunchy treats, she didn't like to have to dunk them to eat them, and began experimenting with her own recipes at home.
"I didn't like the crumbs in my coffee," Emson said. "I didn't like to dunk, so I created these dunking-optional recipes that I thought would work."
When the publishing company she worked for transferred her to Halifax, Emson began thinking about the day she might start her own biscotti business.
Not long after being transferred to the East Coast, Emson's company decided to close its offices here, and the idea of starting her own company took shape.
While Emson had a pretty good idea of what she wanted to do, she enrolled in the Mount Saint Vincent University's Centre for Women in Business. She was already attending MSVU part-time working on her business degree.
Taking the centre's Blueprint for Success workshop helped Emson make her dreams a reality.
"Everything that goes into a business plan, you learn during this workshop, so it was really good to take it," Emson said.
"I've got nothing but good things to say about how supportive they've been to me, and other women I've seen succeed that are connected to the Mount or the Centre for Women."
The Naughty Cookie Co. officially opened in 2008. While Emson does not have a storefront, her biscotti's are sold at a number of local cafes including the Daily Grind on Spring Garden Road in Halifax, the Newsbreak Cafe on Ilsley Avenue in Dartmouth, and the Treehouse Cafe on Glendale Avenue in Lower Sackville.
Emson hopes to expand her business to include an online store by year's end, where people can order their favourites and have them shipped wherever they are in Canada.
On her website (www.thenaughtycookiecompany.com), Emson offers 17 different biscotti biscuits, but has as many as 45 working recipes on the go.
"I have been creating recipes since 2001. I love to bake as it is a great form of relaxation for me. I have created the dunking optional biscotti. There are many flavors to choose from. I have also created The Original Naughty Cookie. This double chocolate oatmeal two-handed cookie delights the child in all of us."
Emson said over the years her kids, aged 12, 9, 7 and 4 years, and her husband have served as taste-testers for all of her products, and give the thumbs up to anything she sells.
"They all have their favourites," she said.
While Emson realizes there is a lot of biscotti competition out there, she aims to be the local choice.
Emson bakes her biscotti in a commercial kitchen on the Herring Cove Road, and labels, packages them and delivers them herself.
"These are handmade with love," Emson said.