It All Started With The Maple Chocolate Chip

Paul Bass PhotoA moon rock landed on York Street Monday. With chocolate chips.

Cynthia Rae came up with the concoction decades ago. Now her daughter is selling her crater-shaped confections out of a new York Street storefront called “Moon Rocks Gourmet Cookies.”

“It all started with the maple chocolate chip,” Rae said, referring to her decades of coming up with original cookie recipes after her 1975 graduation from the New York City Culinary Community College Culinary Institute. Rae’s daughter, Marni Rae-Esposito, opened a Hamden shop in 2015 to sell her mom’s cookies — “when I was 50 and my mom was 75,” she pointed out Monday. Their new York Street shop, next to Blue State Coffee and Ashley’s Ice Cream, is the second outpost. Rae is serving as “culinary master.”

She got to hold the ceremonial scissors for Monday’s official ribbon-cutting at the store, surrounded by a U.S. senator and officials from Yale (the landlord) and the city economic development office.

“If you eat these cookies,” U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal promised, “you’ll lose weight.” He praised mother and daughter for creating jobs (11 so far) and for showing how “women have arrived” in business.

Like Ashley’s, Moon Rocks is selling the idea of original flavors — 80 in this case — whipped up with premium ingredients purchased from other small businesses like Madison’s Savvy Tea Gourmet and Lebanon’s The Farmer’s Cow. “My secret is that I have been blessed with the ability to create great flavors with all natural ingredients,” said Rae.

While maple chocolate chip remains the “original” in the batch, salted caramel (riding that sweet-and-salty wave) has emerged as the most popular flavor so far, Rae reported. Cannoli and lime coconut are up there as well.

She curried favor with one reporter by promising that she’s cooking up new vegan varieties, two of which were already on display offering a tantalizing post-Passover promise.


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posted by: RetiredGuy on April 3, 2018  8:06am

More high-quality cookies, fewer walls and deportations.  I’m in.

posted by: ADAK on April 3, 2018  6:08pm

Yale Properties are the most non-sensical landlords I’ve ever encountered.

Good luck to the owners, honestly, but Yale already has so many sweet treat places. Just like they have so many outdoor sports retailers. Just like they have/had so many makeup stores.

How hard is it to diversify?

posted by: yim-a on April 3, 2018  8:52pm

Congrats to Marni and Family!!  She’s a great lady with delicious cookies and a big heart!