Made In Chicago: Matt’s Cookies

CHICAGO (CBS) — Matt’s Cookies have been serving up ‘just like homemade’ cookies in Chicago’s northern suburb of Wheeling for more than 40 years.

“We’re making chocolate chip cookies.”

Matt’s Cookies live each day through the philosophy of “simple, good quality ingredients make excellent cookies.” They distribute mostly in the Midwest including Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri, Michigan, and Minnesota; but also make it into Florida, Texas, and are constantly growing and are known nationwide.

The Pierce family recently sold the business a few months ago to City Capital Ventures. Michael Halverson has been CEO since the change.

WBBM’s Steve Miller

matts cookies 2 Made In Chicago: Matts Cookies
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“It’s a very simple process,” Halverson said. “We start early. We turn on our ovens at 4:30 in the morning.”

A machine lays row after row of cookie dough on a conveyor belt.

A machine lays row after row of cookie dough on a conveyor belt. (Steve Miller/WBBM)

A machine lays row after row of cookie dough on a conveyor belt. (Steve Miller/WBBM)

“When we bought the company, we had the opportunity to change out some of the equipment in here and maybe even make it more efficient and have less waste. Because maybe you’ll see a little dollop of cookie dough or something irregular,” Halverson said. “But we decided not to do that. We like that all-natural, and we like the fact that it looks like a homemade cookie.”

The cookie dough then rolls into the ovens, taking anywhere from 10 to 12 minutes to bake.

Then the cookies are slightly cooled by fans. Slightly, because one of Matt’s Cookie’s secrets to offering a soft-baked cookie is to package them still warm.

“They’re still warm. One of the reasons that we have a soft-baked cookie that I can share with you is, we do pack them warm,” Halverson said. “We’re not packing them cold. So if you feel the bottom of this, you’re going to feel warm coming out of there.”

Four women pack all the cookies as they roll down the line. WBBM Radio told the line manager Sherry Lengieza, they cannot help but think about Lucy and Ethel in the chocolate factory.

Four women pack all the cookies as they roll down the line. (Steve Miller/WBBM)

Four women pack all the cookies as they roll down the line. (Steve Miller/WBBM)

“That does happen, if you get new girls and the cookies are going down the line,” Lengieza said. “You gotta go chase ’em down.”

Halverson said the changes he wants to make in the four-decade old Wheeling-based company are in packaging and marketing, emphasizing ‘all-natural.’

“There’s nothing to fix here,” Halverson said. “What it’s about is growth.”

Did we mention – the air is even sweet?

“Never get tired of the smell,” Halverson said. “Gotta love the cookies. That’s what gets us started in the morning.”

And for those who like a fresh out of the over taste, Matt’s Cookie’s recommends microwaving for 5-10 seconds.

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