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Smart Cookie

Debbie Wexler, Fashion Design'78

Debbie Wexler’s entire family cooks for a living. Her husband Jimmy spent his career as a catering chef and now runs the mess hall at a summer camp. Her son is also a chef, and her daughter is a baker.

Therefore, it should be no surprise that in 1979, when her then-fiancé Jimmy opened a gourmet shop in New Jersey, she fled her nascent career in fashion design to bake. “I thought it would be fun to work with my future husband,” she says.

The Wexlers moved to Boca Raton, FL, in 1989 and ran a commercial bakery called Dessert Design, which they sold in 2003. But the kids started to miss the endless stream of cookies and the opportunity to show off the place to their friends. They convinced her in 2007 to open Two Fat Cookies, where she whips up such decadent treats as Four Chocolate Brownies, Heath Crunches, and Chip Monsters (chocolate ganache sandwiched between two chocolate chip cookies). She sells mostly wholesale to caterers, country clubs, restaurants, and event planners, but she fills—and ships—smaller orders, too, including some from her website, twofatcookies.com.

Wexler is an avid experimenter in the kitchen and quick to take requests. Originally, Two Fat Cookies sold only cookies, but as her loyal customers begged for a wider variety, she began to research cake and tartlet recipes, tweaking them until she was happy. Now she even offers sugar-free and gluten-free goodies. “There’s no way I could have said, ‘I’m just making cookies,’” she explains. “I would have been out of business!” Visit fitnyc.edu/hue for Wexler’s recipe for her popular Hungarian Jelly Bar. 

Debbie Wexler’s Hungarian Jelly Bars

1 pound unsalted butter, cut into chunks
2 cups granulated sugar
4 egg yolks
4 cups flour
2 cups almonds, finely ground
Apricot preserves
Raspberry jam

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 13- by-9-inch baking dish.

Place butter and sugar in a mixer bowl and mix briefly. Add yolks and mix briefly again. Add flour and ground almonds. Blend until mixture forms a crumble. Do not overmix.

Divide the crumble into three equal portions. Sprinkle one portion of crumble into bottom of baking dish. Press lightly. Spread a thin layer of apricot preserves over pressed crumble. Sprinkle second portion of crumble over apricot preserves. Press lightly. Spread a thin layer of raspberry jam over second layer of crumble. Sprinkle remaining crumble over raspberry jam.

Bake uncovered for approximately 25 to 30 minutes until top is golden brown. Let cool. Cut into squares.

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