In Baltimore, A Black-Owned Cookie Shop Sees Sweet Success
Credit: Aunt Kelly’s Cookies

Kelly Simmons is the Black woman behind Baltimore’s sweetest dessert sensation, Aunt Kelly’s Cookies.

The bake shop, which opened in 2018, only uses the freshest, highest quality ingredients and “mixes every batch with love.” 

Four years ago Simmons set out to pursue a sweet side hustle, without any experience whatsoever. From the moment she mixed their first cup of flour, she’s been learning along the way, and making things up as she goes. And clearly, it is paying off big time. 

Based on Historic Antique Row in Mt. Vernon, the cookie shop serves an array of hot cookies in unique and classic flavors, that will leave you salivating for more. In addition to being available in the shop, they are also available to order online and through GrubHub. “I became motivated to open Aunt Kelly’s Cookies by my love for homemade cookies, while also filling a void, locally, that was left behind when a favorite cookie shop in the city stopped producing,” says Simmons.

Their top sellers are Butter Crunch and Chocolate Chip Butter Crunch Cookies. For the holidays, they even offered special Snickerdoodle & Pound Cake Cookies. “It all started in the 1980s when I was a young girl living in Baltimore,” shares Simmons. “I was in grade school and like many of my peers, I would make sure I had a chance to buy Butter Crunch cookies. As the years passed, I searched for but could never find that same Butter Crunch taste I remembered. That is until I started baking my own cookies in 1999. I had finally discovered the key ingredients that make this memorable cookie. I couldn’t wait to share my discovery with my family, and now I want to share that experience with everyone.”

Simmons never envisioned herself in the baking industry. However, after hitting a “glass ceiling” more than 22 years into a career in beauty, she decided to work for herself and launched the cookie business. “I stepped away from my cosmetology career of 22 years to do something completely different. However, the biggest reward has been seeing all of the joy on my customers’ faces when they’re enjoying my family’s recipes!”

So what’s the secret to Aunt Kelly’s Cookies’ success, other than their over-the-top and indulgent creations, of course? “I’d love to leave a legacy of quality-made products that are reminiscent of your grandmother’s homemade baking,” says Simmons. “As for my family, I’m training the next generation to carry on the business for decades to come.”