Captain Cookie and the Milkman
Captain Cookie and the Milkman: Saving the World, One Cookie at a Time.
A Conversation with Kirk Francis, aka Captain Cookie
By Elizabeth Laseter
A sky blue restored 1987 newspaper delivery truck seems like an unlikely place to find a super hero. But every weekday, Kirk Francis, also known as Captain Cookie, dons a Cookie Monster themed baseball cap and bakes super hero worthy cookies in his truck, Captain Cookieand the Milkman. Emblazoned on the side is his slogan "Saving the World, One Cookie at a Time."
Kirk offers a variety of cookies, including ginger molasses, snickerdoodle, Nutella, peanut butter, oatmeal raisin, and of course, chocolate chip. He also sells ice cream and ice cream sandwiches made with his cookies.
Kirk, in his late twenties, has tested numerous chocolate chip cookie recipes, but believes he’s found the prefect one. Kirk’s cookies are among the best I’ve tried in D.C. Crisp around the edges with a warm, chewy center, his chocolate chip cookies are not to be missed.
Being a chocolate chip cookie lover myself, I was more than excited to speak with Kirk. Be sure to check out his truck, which parks in different locations around the city throughout the week.
Me: When did the cookie obsession first begin?
Kirk: I’m not sure if it’s related, my mom worked at a cookie factory when she was pregnant with me. Her favorite cookie was chocolate chip. Apparently, she ate a lot of them…coincidence?
Me: Sounds like fate!
Kirk: (Laughs) Ha ha, I’ve just always really loved cookies, especially chocolate chip. I would eat them for like every meal as a kid. I started baking cookies with my mom when I was four years old – the first recipe I ever baked came from a book called A is for Apple Pie.
Me: Do you use that recipe today?
Kirk: The recipe I use now I discovered two years ago. I’ve tried between 50 and 60 recipes over the years.
Me: So, what do you think of Jacques Torres’s famous chocolate chip cookie recipe?
Kirk: It’s good, but way too tedious. Torres uses two types of flours – cake flour and bread flour. I like to keep things simple. I definitely chill my dough for a long time, like the Torres recipe says. The flavor is better, the browning is fantastic, everything is just far superior. I absolutely believe in letting your dough rest. Two days is the perfect amount of time to chill dough.
Me: Good advice! Okay, so I love your Cookie Monster hats. There has to be a good story behind them, right?
Kirk: (Laughs) Ha ha, yes, there’s definitely a story. My mom works in an airport and was helping to clean one of the planes one day. She found a cookie monster hat in one of the seats. No one claimed it, so she decided to give it to me. That hat was great for the summer, but when winter came along, I wanted to get something for the cold weather. I found my Cookie Monster winter hat at a store in D.C. called Cookie Wear, believe it or not.
Me: Your truck is called Captain Cookie and the Milkman. Who is the Milkman?
Kirk: The Milkman isn’t just one person–he usually rotates between five friends of mine who need part-time work. They’ll work the truck with me during the day, helping me out while I’m baking cookies and greeting customers.
Me: What do you think makes the perfect chocolate chip cookie?
Kirk: Chocolate is one of the things that matters most. You want a high-quality, semi-sweet or dark chocolate to contrast with the sugar in the dough. The right amount of vanilla extract is also very important – it must work well with the chocolate. In terms of texture, you want the outside edge crispy and the center a little soft, but not too soft. You look for a golden brown color. And finally, ideally the perfect cookie is warm.
Me: To conclude, what do you think makes your truck stand out amongst other D.C. food trucks?
Kirk: I don’t think there is any other truck in the U.S. that has a convection oven built into it. My customers walk up at 11:30 a.m. when I open and see me pulling cookies out of the oven. I make my cookies right on the site, so people know that my stuff is fresh. I’m truly obsessed with the quality of my product. You want a chocolate chip cookie maniac making your cookies!
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