Aric Jennings spent weekend afternoons as an early elementary school kid baking cookies with his grandma. He was seven, and the epicurean escape ignited an interest that stayed dormant for decades before he and his wife, Nadarriea Higginbotham, opened Cookie Craze in Lorain’s Light House Commons.

The couple was operating Smart Way Nutrition making smoothies and teas, and Jennings began “messing around in the kitchen” baking cookies. He’d stay up late honing a process, testing ingredients and creating recipes.

What he landed on is not your typical Toll House.

“Cookie Craze is about delivering gourmet cookie options, bringing some nostalgia back from desserts we previously enjoyed and transforming them into cookies,” Jennings says.

They transformed the beverage business into a sweet affair in July 2023.

Jennings, who once operated a smartphone repair shop, says, “You don’t get cranky customers with cookies, and I enjoy being really creative and figuring out how to turn unique flavors into a cookie.” 

Each weighing in at about 120 grams and the size of an average man’s palm, some varieties take on mound-like dimensions. Cookie Craze also offers cheesecake jars: think layers of cookies, cheesecake and toppings with flavors for this dessert and cookies changing weekly.

The decadent, different varieties earn lots of fans and followers. (Evidence: the traffic on its Instagram page cookie_craze.) A must-try: Chocolate Chip 2.0, the semi-sweet and milk-chocolate chipper. Another popular pick was a Reese’s Puffs cereal-inspired treat with a peanut butter-chocolate base topped with a sauce of the same ilk, milk-chocolate drizzle followed by a cereal puffs topper. A new release is Very Berry, with a strawberry foundation, center and glaze, topped with cookie crumbles.

The Simpson’s Donut Cookie was a hit. With a cut-out hole, pink frosting and sprinkles, it ran out the door fast, Jennings says.

The secret sauce: premium ingredients, innovation and a supportive community. “People love the creative stuff,” Jennings says. “We don’t take shortcuts and everything is made in the store, and that is really what separates us as a bakery.”

Cookie Craze: 4340 N. Leavitt Road J Lorain, OH 44053,