WOW! Blog

‘Joe Froggers!’ Fall cookies with great tradition!

This “Fall Cookies” blog post first appeared in November 2013

About 10 years ago, a great pastry chef, Nancy Baggett came into my life.  She was on a book tour and was demonstrating ‘cookie baking’ with recipes from her book , The All American Cookie Book.  And, my cookie obsession began.  Happily, I’m laying my personal career decision at her feet.  She inspired me to get baking and build a business.  Soon enough, WOW! Cookies! became a fixture in the Cleveland area.  One of my first customers was from India, and absolutely CRAVED my molasses cookies.  Giving credit where due….Nancy Baggett and her Joe Froggers were the start of a great decade of sweet gifting! Continue reading “‘Joe Froggers!’ Fall cookies with great tradition!”

10 Worst Valentine Gifts

by Penny Parker, January 27, 2015

It’s very hard to be serious about Valentine’s Day when someone like Ellen DeGeneres keeps you laughing.  Thought this would be a great way to start your day!  And, BTW, DON’T MAKE THESE VALENTINES MISTAKES!!

Don’t worry, WOW! Cookies! has got you covered!


10 Worst Valentine Gifts

by Penny Parker, January 27, 2015

It’s very hard to be serious about Valentine’s Day when someone like Ellen DeGeneres keeps you laughing.  Thought this would be a great way to start your day!  And, BTW, DON’T MAKE THESE VALENTINES MISTAKES!!;_ylt=At58loyftYH31AeEMCG3dISbvZx4?fr=yfp-t-901-s&toggle=1&cop=mss&ei=UTF-8&p=ellen%20degeneres%20bad%20valentine’s%20gifts

Don’t worry, WOW! Cookies! has got you covered!



I CAN’T REMEMBER NAMES!  Really!  This has been a huge problem for many, many years.

There!  Now you all know it!  Nothing personal.  I’ll always remember your face.  And, many times, I’ll remember where we met or the last time I saw you.  But your name?  WOW!
What a terrible flaw!  And, although the experts will rely on excuses like age, stress, trauma, shrinking of the brain mass, mystery exclusion ‘stuff’, forgetting a person’s name is very embarrassing.

My friend Carlos Valenzuela, Master Hair Stylist, and Encourager personified has developed a system that truly helps!  The attached article is written with hairdressers in mind, but the 4 points Carlos offers are universal.
I really TRY to cement names in my brain.  Sometimes I loose, many times I am saved by these memory techniques.  Perhaps you’ll find them helpful too!


(You may need to copy and paste to view this link)

Carlos Valenzuela: is a consultant, speaker, stylist, bilingual trainer, and author of
i-Fabulous Salon Success, a success guide for new salon professionals.

My thanks to MODERN SALON for allowing me to duplicate this article.

Pot ‘O Chocolate and Crunchy Irish Oatmeal Cookies

by Penny Parker, March 6 2102

What fun it must be to have a birthday on St. Patrick’s day!  My dear Auntie loved celebrating with the world on her special day.  And there was no end to special ‘green’ treats to celebrate the day.  Green bagels for breakfast, green chicken salad for lunch, and green beer before the corned beef and cabbage dinner.  But what’s for dessert?  Green cheesecake?  Hardly….how about a Pot ‘o Chocolate and crunchy Irish oatmeal cookies?  Sounds good to me!  What a way to end the festive holiday!

POC resized 600

 For the Chocolate Pots:
  5 oz. semi-sweet chocolate pieces
  1 Cup heavy cream
  1 large egg
  1 teaspoon vanilla

  Break up the chocolate and place in a food
  processor.  Heat the cream to just before a boil.
  Add the chocolate and blend until the pieces are
  completely melted and the mixture is smooth.
  Add the egg and vanilla and blend with a whisk
  again until smooth.  (Be careful not to curdle the
  eggs.  Simply add a small amount of the hot
  chocolate mixture into the eggs several times to
  heat them slightly before putting into the pot of
  hot chocolate.)
  Pour into individual ‘pots’ and cool.  Cover with
  plastic wrap and chill for at least 24 hours. 

  Makes 2 pots.

 For the Crunchy Irish Oatmeal Cookies:
8 oz.  (2 sticks) room temperature butter
1 1/2 Cups granulated or brown sugar (your choice)
1 Egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 Cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 Cups Irish Oatmeal
Optional:  I added 1/2 Cup chopped walnuts and 1 cup dried tart cherries reconsituted in a
bit ’0 Irish Whiskey….like I said…Optional!!!

Preheat oven at 350°.
Measure all dry ingredients into a bowl and sift or whisk together and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar with a mixer at medium-high speed until light and fluffy.  Add the egg and vanilla and beat again to maintain the light-as-air mixture.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then beat in the flour mixture.  Slowly beat in the oatmeal and optional items.
Cookie sheets should be lined with parchment.
Drop cookies onto baking sheet by rounded tablespoonsful, leaving 2 – 3 inches between.
Bake for 10 – 12 minutes until golden, but not brown.�
Cool for 5 minutes then remove to a wire rack. 

NOW…for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow….
Top each pot of chocolate with about 1/2 inch of heavy cream (I prefer not to whip or flavor) and yes folks….DIP your cookie into the pot ‘o chocolate.  No need for a spoon, all this dessert needs (if anything) is a fresh cup of what else?  Irish coffee!

If you want to take your pot ‘o chocolate one step further, you can drizzle a bit of Irish Cream or Irish Whiskey over the cream.  Anyway you want it!  This is truly an Irish dream!

And when time is essential, check out all the decadently-delicious cookie and brownie assortments at:

Celebrate Cleveland!

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Celebrate Cleveland!

by: Penny Parker, March 12, 2014

Last week, while attending a networking event, I was INSPIRED!  TRULY!  The speaker was Ivan Schwartz, President of The Greater Cleveland Film Commission.  His topic?  The movies!  Specifically, the over 20 films produced here in Cleveland over the last couple of years.  You’ll know the most thrilling….The Avengers Series tops the list, along with Batman and other Marvel adventures.  Continue reading “Celebrate Cleveland!”

Pre-Lenten King (and Queen) Cakes

In another week, the lenten season will begin.  And with it are the quiet days of reflection and preparation for one of the holiest days on the Christian calendar.  With that in mind, many people determine to give up their favorite foods as an expression of their devotion.  And THAT, is why pre-lenten festivities, especially Mardi Gras is so very extravagant. Continue reading “Pre-Lenten King (and Queen) Cakes”

What’s in A Gift?

by Penny Parker, January 25, 2014

I’m in the gift business.  My job is to create a beautifully packaged gift, filled with sweet decadence and send all kinds of sentiments
and greetings with it. Red Hot Valentines 046

Of course, there’s a card with the words, but does the GIFT proclaim the sentiment?  I’m learning, after 10 years in this business, that a gift is SOOO much more!  And after all, who really gets the biggest benefit from the gift?  The giver? Or, the receiver?  In this interesting article, I think you’ll be very surprised at the true depth of giving a gift.  Enjoy!  Then, send a great WOW! Cookies! gift to someone you think will ‘get it’!

A Gift That Gives Right Back?  The Giving Itself!

Published: December 11, 2007

My mother was passionate about gifts. As an adult, I often urged her to stop giving presents and spend the money on herself, but she refused. She liked giving gifts too much.

Gift giving has long been a favorite subject for studies on human behavior, with psychologists, anthropologists, economists and marketers all weighing in. They have found that giving gifts is a surprisingly complex and important part of human interaction, helping to define relationships and strengthen bonds with family and friends. Indeed, psychologists say it is often the giver, rather than the recipient, who reaps the biggest psychological gains from a gift. Frustrated by crowds, traffic and commercialism, people can be tempted at this time of year to opt out of gift giving altogether. A 2005 survey showed that four out of five Americans think the holidays are too materialistic, according to the Center for a New American Dream, which promotes responsible consumption.

But while it’s reasonable to cut back on spending during the holidays, psychologists say that banning the gift exchange with loved ones is not the best solution. People who refuse to accept or exchange gifts during the holidays, these experts say, may be missing out on an important connection with family and friends.

“That doesn’t do a service to the relationship,” said Ellen J. Langer, a Harvard psychology professor. “If I don’t let you give me a gift, then I’m not encouraging you to think about me and think about things I like. I am preventing you from experiencing the joy of engaging in all those activities. You do people a disservice by not giving them the gift of giving.”

The social value of giving has been recognized throughout human history. For thousands of years, some native cultures have engaged in the potlatch, a complex ceremony that celebrates extreme giving. Although cultural interpretations vary, often the status of a given family in a clan or village was dictated not by who had the most possessions, but instead by who gave away the most. The more lavish and bankrupting the potlatch, the more prestige gained by the host family.

Some researchers believe evolutionary forces may have favored gift giving. Men who were the most generous may have had the most reproductive success with women. (Notably, the use of food in exchange for sexual access and grooming has been documented in our closest ape relative, the chimpanzee.) Women who were skilled at giving — be it extra food or a well-fitted pelt — helped sustain the family provider as well as her children.

Margaret Rucker, a consumer psychologist at the University of California, Davis, says men are typically more price-conscious and practical when it comes to the gifts they give and get, while women tend to be more concerned about giving and receiving gifts with emotional significance.

Dr. Rucker says she often recounts the story of a man who climbed a tree to retrieve a robin’s egg that matched his girlfriend’s blue eyes. “Women say, ‘Oh, how romantic,’” she said. “But men say, ‘That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard of, and also what about the mama bird?’”

Gender differences in gift giving seem to emerge early in life. Researchers at Loyola University Chicago studied 3- and 4-year-olds at a day-care center, all of whom had attended the same birthday party. The girls typically went shopping with their mothers and helped select and wrap the gift. Boys, meanwhile, were often unaware of what the gift was. “They’d say, ‘I took a nap while my mom went shopping for it,’” said Mary Ann McGrath, the associate dean of the graduate school of business at Loyola.

Gift giving is often the most obvious way a partner can show interest, strengthen a bond or even signal that a relationship should end. One colleague of Dr. Rucker’s noted that she knew her marriage was over when her husband handed her a gift in a brown grocery bag.

People who stop giving gifts lose out on important social cues, researchers say. “Who is on your gift list is telling you who is important in your life,” Dr. McGrath said. “It says who is more important and who is less important.”

But the biggest effect of gift giving may be on ourselves. Giving to others reinforces our feelings for them and makes us feel effective and caring, Dr. Langer said.

For a glimpse into the psychology of giving, researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University recently studied gift giving by pet owners, finding that it stemmed from a desire to make pets happy and offer gifts that would improve a pet’s comfort and care. The research, to be published next year, may seem frivolous, but it also gives insight into the self-serving nature of giving, since pets can’t reciprocate, the researchers note.

“When you’re giving to another person, you have this pressure of reciprocity, but it’s not there with a pet,” said Tracy Ryan, an associate professor of advertising research at Virginia Commonwealth. “It shows that a lot of the pleasure is in the giving, knowing you’ve taken care of someone.”

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Key Gift-Giving Dates for 2014

Bradley Sanchez Houseton
CEO, The Houseton Group



Too Soon? …To Think About Gift-Giving in 2014?

Yes we are all in the final throes of month-end, Q4, and year-end wrap-up, but let’s just plant the seed for key gift-giving dates in 2014 to help you get a head start on next year.  We borrowed the list below from so you can print it out and hang it in a convenient location to help you keep track of all the important dates to remember in 2014.  Particularly, those dates where you may need to send a client, an associate, a friend or a family member something special.


Key Gift-Giving Dates in 2014


Weekday Date Holiday name Holiday type Specific Observance
Wednesday Jan 1 New Year’s Day National holiday  
Monday Jan 13 Stephen Foster Memorial Day Observance  
Tuesday Jan 14 The Prophet’s Birthday Muslim  
Monday Jan 20 Martin Luther King Day National holiday  
Wednesday Jan 29 Kansas Day Observance  
Friday Jan 31 Chinese New Year Observance  
Saturday Feb 1 National Freedom Day Observance  
Sunday Feb 2 Groundhog Day Observance  
Friday Feb 7 National Wear Red Day Observance  
Friday Feb 14 Valentine’s Day Observance  
Monday Feb 17 Presidents’ Day (Washington’s Birthday) National holiday  
Saturday Mar 1 St. David’s Day Observance  
Monday Mar 3 Read Across America Day Observance  
Tuesday Mar 4 Shrove Tuesday/Mardi Gras Observance  
Sunday Mar 9 Daylight Saving Time starts Clock change/Daylight Saving Time  
Monday Mar 17 St. Patrick’s Day Observance  
Thursday Mar 20 March equinox Season  
Sunday Apr 6 National Tartan Day Observance  
Sunday Apr 13 Thomas Jefferson’s Birthday Observance  
Tuesday Apr 15 Tax Day Observance  
Tuesday Apr 15 Passover (first day) Jewish holiday  
Friday Apr 18 Good Friday State holiday 14 states
Sunday Apr 20 Easter Sunday Observance, Christian  
Monday Apr 21 Easter Monday Christian  
Tuesday Apr 22 Last Day of Passover Jewish holiday  
Wednesday Apr 23 Administrative Professionals Day Observance  
Thursday May 1 Loyalty Day Observance  
Thursday May 1 National Day of Prayer Observance  
Thursday May 1 Law Day Observance  
Monday May 5 Cinco de Mayo Observance  
Tuesday May 6 National Nurses Day Observance  
Sunday May 11 Mothers’ Day Observance  
Thursday May 15 Peace Officers Memorial Day Observance  
Friday May 16 National Defense Transportation Day Observance  
Saturday May 17 Armed Forces Day Observance  
Wednesday May 21 Emergency Medical Services for Children Day Observance  
Thursday May 22 Harvey Milk Day Observance California
Thursday May 22 National Maritime Day Observance  
Sunday May 25 National Missing Children’s Day Observance  
Monday May 26 Jefferson Davis Birthday Observance Mississippi
Monday May 26 Memorial Day National holiday  
Tuesday May 27 Isra and Mi’raj Muslim  
Tuesday Jun 3 Jefferson Davis Birthday Observance Florida
Friday Jun 6 D-Day Observance  
Saturday Jun 14 Flag Day Observance  
Sunday Jun 15 Fathers’ Day Observance  
Saturday Jun 21 June Solstice Season  
Sunday Jun 29 Ramadan starts Muslim  
Friday Jul 4 Independence Day National holiday  
Thursday Jul 24 Lailat al-Qadr Muslim  
Sunday Jul 27 Parents’ Day Observance  
Tuesday Jul 29 Eid al-Fitr Muslim  
Tuesday Aug 19 National Aviation Day Observance  
Thursday Aug 21 Senior Citizens Day Observance  
Monday Sep 1 Labor Day National holiday  
Saturday Sep 6 Carl Garner Federal Lands Cleanup Day Observance  
Sunday Sep 7 National Grandparents Day Observance  
Thursday Sep 11 Patriot Day Observance  
Wednesday Sep 17 Constitution Day and Citizenship Day Observance  
Friday Sep 19 National POW/MIA Recognition Day Observance  
Tuesday Sep 23 September equinox Season  
Thursday Sep 25 Rosh Hashana Jewish holiday  
Friday Sep 26 Native Americans’ Day Observance California, Washington
Sunday Sep 28 Gold Star Mother’s Day Observance  
Saturday Oct 4 Yom Kippur Jewish holiday  
Sunday Oct 5 Eid al-Adha Muslim  
Monday Oct 6 Child Health Day Observance  
Thursday Oct 9 Leif Erikson Day Observance  
Monday Oct 13 Columbus Day National holiday All except CA, FL, HI, NV, SD, TX,WA
Wednesday Oct 15 White Cane Safety Day Observance  
Wednesday Oct 15 Last Day of Sukkot Jewish holiday  
Thursday Oct 16 Boss’s Day Observance  
Thursday Oct 23 Diwali/Deepavali Observance  
Saturday Oct 25 Muharram Muslim  
Friday Oct 31 Halloween Observance  
Sunday Nov 2 Daylight Saving Time ends Clock change/Daylight Saving Time  
Tuesday Nov 11 Veterans Day National holiday  
Thursday Nov 27 Thanksgiving Day National holiday  
Monday Dec 1 Cyber Monday Observance  
Saturday Dec 6 St Nicholas’ Day Observance  
Sunday Dec 7 Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day Observance  
Friday Dec 12 Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe Observance  
Wednesday Dec 17 Chanukah/Hanukkah (first day) Jewish holiday  
Wednesday Dec 17 Pan American Aviation Day Observance  
Wednesday Dec 17 Wright Brothers Day Observance  
Sunday Dec 21 December Solstice Season  
Wednesday Dec 24 Last Day of Chanukah Jewish holiday  
Wednesday Dec 24 Christmas Eve Observance, Christian  
Thursday Dec 25 Christmas Day National holiday, Christian  
Friday Dec 26 Kwanzaa (until Jan 1) Observance  
Wednesday Dec 31 New Year’s Eve Observance