Ari’s Pick: Almondinger Cookies from the Bakehouse

A tasty vegan cookie and its connection to a classic Ann Arbor Park

In our Zingerman’s 2032 Vision, we share:

Our dedication to the Ann Arbor area is a huge piece of what makes us who we are. It challenges us to stay close, it excites us, it makes us creative. It’s a powerful and paradoxical paradigm. By choosing to stay local, we have opened up opportunities we never imagined. We understand the wisdom of Zen poet Gary Snyder’s words, “First, don’t move; and second, find out what that teaches you.”

overhead view of almondinger cookiesThese new cookies are one of many small ways in which we can grow our community roots more deeply than ever. If you’re not a local, the name “Almondinger” for the cookie is a play on words for the well-known park on the west side of Ann Arbor, located on Pauline Boulevard, about two miles from the Roadhouse.

The Allmendinger family arrived in the area all the way back in 1832, a couple years before the farmhouse at what is now Zingerman’s Cornman Farms was built. The family came from Germany—in the spirit of what we’re working toward with staff ownership and inclusive decision making, the name “Allmende” means “common pasture,” or “that which is commonly held.” The family papers are held now at the Bentley Historical Library, which also happens to hold the Zingerman’s archive.

The park was founded through a generous gift of three and a quarter acres in 1917 from Frank Allmendinger in honor of his grandfather, John George Allmendinger, the first in the family to immigrate to the area. Allmendinger wrote the letter to the city on May 8, 1917, a few months after the Revolution in Russia had ended the Tsar’s rule and while WWI was in the depths of its long period of darkness. Pauline Boulevard, by the way, is named for Pauline Allmendinger. In the spirit of our move to mill our own grain here at the Bakehouse, Mr. Allmendinger was co-owner of Michigan Mills, one of the last of the local milling businesses I mentioned last month.

The Almondinger cookie is a new vegan addition, along with the new and super tasty chocolate millet muffins. The Bakehouse crew say:

The newest cookie in our line-up features a flavorful blend of coconut (times two, with both coconut oil and toasted flake coconut) and almonds (times two again, with both almond butter and toasted almonds). Over half the flour in this cookie is freshly milled whole grain Michigan wheat, adding even more flavor!

You can nibble them with your lunch, have one for dessert after dinner, or take them on a trip. I like mine topped with jelly or jam because it’s like an “almond butter and jelly sandwich.” Better still, top the jam off with a toasted almond (even one of those nice spicy Spanish ones we have at the Deli) so you get the contrast of the crunch of the whole almond.

If you’re out and about this month, stop by the Bakehouse, Deli, or Roadhouse to pick up a couple of these new almond cookies from the Bakehouse.


Ari headshot
Ari Weinzweig
Co-Founding Partner at Zingerman's | + posts

In 1982, Ari Weinzweig, along with his partner Paul Saginaw, founded Zingerman’s Delicatessen with a $20,000 bank loan, a Russian History degree from the University of Michigan, 4 years of experience washing dishes, cooking and managing in restaurant kitchens and chutzpah from his hometown of Chicago. They opened the doors with 2 employees and a small selection of specialty foods and exceptional sandwiches.

Today, Zingerman’s Delicatessen is a nationally renowned food icon and the Zingerman’s Community of Businesses has grown to 10 businesses with over 750 employees and over $55 million in annual revenue. Aside from the Delicatessen, these businesses include Zingerman’s Bakehouse, Coffee Company, Creamery, Roadhouse, Mail Order, ZingTrain, Candy Manufactory, Cornman Farms and a Korean restaurant that is scheduled to open in 2016. No two businesses in the Zingerman’s Community of Businesses are alike but they all share the same Vision and Guiding Principles and deliver “The Zingerman’s Experience” with passion and commitment.

Besides being the Co-Founding Partner and being actively engaged in some aspect of the day-to-day operations and governance of nearly every business in the Zingerman’s Community, Ari Weinzweig is also a prolific writer. His most recent publications are the first 4 of his 6 book series Zingerman’s Guide to Good Leading Series: A Lapsed Anarchist’s Approach to Building a Great Business (Part 1), Being a Better Leader (Part 2), Managing Ourselves (Part 3) and the newly-released Part 4, The Power of Beliefs in Business. Earlier books include the Zingerman’s Guides to Giving Great Service, Better Bacon, Good Eating, Good Olive Oil, Good Vinegar and Good Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Ari regularly travels across the country (and world) on behalf of ZingTrain, teaching organizations and businesses about Zingerman’s approach to business. He is a sought-after Keynote speaker, having delivered keynotes for Inc. 500, Microsoft Expo Spring Conference, Great Game of Business Gathering of Games, Positive Business Conference at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business, American Society for Quality (ASQ), and the American Cheese Society. Most recently, Ari and Paul Saginaw were invited to address an audience of 50,000 for the University of Michigan 2015 Spring Commencement.

One of Zingerman’s Guiding Principles is being an active part of the community and in 1988, Zingerman’s was instrumental in the founding of Food Gatherers, a food rescue program that delivers over 5 million pounds of food each year to the hungry residents of Washtenaw county. Every year Zingerman’s donates 10% of its previous years profits to local community organizations and non-profits. Ari has served on the board of The Ark, the longest continuously operating folk music venue in America.

Over the decades, the Zingerman’s founding partners have consistently been the recipients of public recognition from a variety of diverse organizations. In April 1995, Ari and Paul were awarded the Jewish Federation of Washtenaw County’s first Humanitarian Award. In 2006, Ari was recognized as one of the “Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America” by the James Beard Foundation. In 2007, Ari and Paul were presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award from Bon Appetit magazine for their work in the food industry. Ari was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Cheese Society in 2014. And Ari’s book, Building a Great Business was on Inc. magazine’s list of Best Books for Business Leaders.

Notwithstanding the awards, being engaged on a daily basis in the work of 10 businesses and 21 partners, writing books on business and in-depth articles on food for the Zingerman’s newsletter, Ari finds time to be a voracious reader. He acquires and reads more books than he can find room for. Ari might soon find himself the owner of the largest collection of Anarchist books in Ann Arbor outside the Labadie collection at the University of Michigan library!

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