With many IG businesses popping up these days, fresh, locally-made cookies of various recipes are one of the things that Malaysians have no shortage of. We’ve previously featured some like Chew My Booze and The Cookies Bar.
Bearing this in mind, Amanda and her fiancé (referred to as The Mr.) did their research and, to their delight, realised that the cookie recipe they’d been impressing friends with was nowhere to be found on the accounts of other homebakers.
With some extra R&D and moral support from friends, the pair launched The Mr. Bakes in late January this year with a special ingredient—tahini. Tahini is a sesame seed paste that’s a popular Middle Eastern condiment, and isn’t so common in Malaysia.
Good tahini can be mildly nutty, creamy, and savoury, whereas bad tahini can be bitter, mildly astringent, dry, and leaves a chalky mouthfeel.
A recipe found while studying abroad
When Amanda’s fiancé was studying abroad, his friend’s Middle Eastern mother made some tahini cookies. Immediately, he fell for the recipe.
“She would put Tahini in everything, as it is a major component of their cuisine,” he shared with Vulcan Post. When he returned to Malaysia, his friend’s mother gave him her recipe, and that was when he embarked on his R&D journey with tahini cookies.
Today, this recipe is the 6th or 7th version of her original recipe. Over the years, he’d experimented with different butters, sugars, etc., until he finally came up with this current version.
Influenced by their entrepreneurial friends
“Had you told us even a year ago that we’d have a home baking business, we would have never believed you. Neither of us thought we had an entrepreneurial spirit,” Amanda admitted.
But the two always had a love for hospitality and feeding others in their homes, be it hosting a meal with game nights, gifting baked goods, etc.
Their friends were regular recipients of their culinary goods, one being their signature sea salt tahini chocolate chip cookies, which were always a staple in their kitchen.
“Eventually, our friends, Aisyah and Puteri, said they wanted to pay for our cookies. Puteri, the owner and founder of Oh Sebenar, a local, size-inclusive fashion brand, wanted our cookies to be part of her Valentine’s Day gift set,” Amanda explained, and that was the catalyst for this home-baking business.
The fiancé who bakes and the fianceé who eats
All the baking and R&D is done by The Mr., whereas Amanda runs everything else—social media, managing suppliers and orders, packing, logistics, and looking out for partnership opportunities.
“I’m no good in the kitchen, nobody wants to be eating scones or cookies by me,” Amanda joked. But her entrepreneurial talent lies in trying to help the business stand out in the oversaturated cookie market.
“While many are familiar with the pairing of cookies and milk, I wanted to do something different. So I partnered with Pour Decisions and what came out of it was a pairing of our cookies and their wine.”
Amanda works in PR while The Mr. runs a media and entertainment platform, so handling partnerships comes naturally to her.
2 flavours for now
For their cookies, they have The OG (their signature sea salt tahini with milk chocolate chip cookies), and The Darker Grittier Sequel, which is a similar version that uses black tahini and dark chocolate chips instead.
The OG is priced at RM7.50 while The Darker Grittier Sequel is RM8.50, and the Mr. Bakes requires a minimum order of 4 cookies. There’s also an option to get a mix of the 2 flavours for RM48 with 3 of each flavour in a box.
Before this, they were selling peanut butter and miso sandies, another one of their unconventional flavours. It was a Raya special, however, so its production has been paused for now. “Given the flavour profiles of both peanut butter and miso, it really was a no-brainer putting them together into a cookie,” The Mr. said of it.
Being a part of family tea times
While now known for unconventional recipes, The Mr. takes pride in his skills with traditional ones too. They do scones which are priced at RM27 for a box of six and come with a set of jam and traditional clotted cream.
“Our customers have shared with us that our scones took them back to their time in UK tea houses or family trips to Cameron Highlands, which has been incredibly rewarding to hear as feedback,” Amanda shared with delight.
Currently, they see average sales of about 100 cookies and 40 boxes of scones every weekend (which is when they usually take orders). “Our orders tend to pick up everytime there is a lockdown. People are eager to reconnect with their family and friends. So they turn to us and arrange for our cookies and scones to be delivered as surprise ‘care packs’.”
“Once we had a customer who had scones delivered to herself and her mother so that they could have tea time over Zoom. It’s one of the best parts about being in The Mr. Bakes, being part of family tea times,” Amanda recalled.
Playing the long game
While they are always working on creating unconventional cookie flavours, they don’t consider themselves to be the unconventional cookie hub. They explained that it’s because they don’t see themselves being experimental for the sake of it.
“The idea with The Mr. Bakes has always been to bake cookies and treats that are homey and wholesome, but with a little bit of a twist so that people get to experience something new,” Amanda and The Mr. shared with Vulcan Post.
While sales are going well for them, the pair is concerned about how they can continue keeping their customers interested and coming back for more.
“Malaysians love trying anything that’s new before they quickly move on to the next new thing. We realised from the start that we had to keep our menu fresh, and introduce new items seasonally.” Fortunately, they’ve been quite lucky to have many repeat customers who have been incredibly supportive.
“I guess we must be doing something right,” they gratefully concluded.
- You can learn more about The Mr. Bakes here.
- You can read about other cookies businesses we’ve covered here.
Featured Image Credit: Amanda Khoo and The Mr., founders of The Mr. Bakes