Poppie’s Dough: A Delicious History of Inspiration, Growth, and Cookies

Ronnie Himmel (right) with her father, Poppie (left)

It all started with one family recipe and a batch of delicious cookies. After that, the rest is history.

It’s hard to believe that a single cookie could turn into a booming Chicago bakery business, but for Poppie’s Dough, that’s exactly what happened. That being said, anyone who’s tasted a cookie from Poppie’s might find that a little easier to believe. Poppie’s Dough products—which now include much more than just cookies—hold true to their slogan. With each bite, you really can “taste a little happiness.”

How It All Started

Founder and owner of Poppie’s Dough Inc., Ronnie Himmel, didn’t come across delicious cookies and baked goods by accident. Her father was also in the baking industry and when he wasn’t working, he was experimenting with new flavors and recipes, especially for cookies. His name was Poppie, and his recipes would become the foundation for Poppie’s Dough.

Great taste and quality ingredients can get you pretty far, but starting a successful bakery takes hard work, perseverance, and an entrepreneurial mindset—all qualities that Ronnie possesses. Ronnie recognized how happy her father’s cookies could make people and saw an opportunity. 

After practicing dentistry for 15 years, Ronnie switched career paths completely and went to work bringing cookie samples to local businesses, knowing that as soon as anyone tasted the cookies, they would be hooked. After that, they would want to buy the dough so they could bake and serve Poppie’s cookies at their businesses. And that’s exactly what happened.

Rising Dough and Rising Sales

The first-ever cookie that Poppie’s Dough sold was Poppie’s famous Chocolate Chip Cookie, a recipe he worked on for over a year before perfecting it. Then came Oatmeal Raisin, Peanut Butter, and Sugar, and Toffee Bar Crunch. You can try them all by ordering this cookie tin! You can also order the dough and bake them at home.

Ronnie sold her father’s cookie dough to, restaurants, hotels, grocery stores, and other businesses. Soon, Poppie’s Dough outgrew Ronnie’s kitchen and moved to the back of a pizza parlor where the bakery would use a 100 lb industrial mixer. But the growth didn’t stop there. Poppie’s Dough also added more products to their menu including muffins, scones, pastries, brownies, croissants, cakes, and more.

The bakery would relocate twice more, growing larger each time. They eventually began selling their cookies and pastries to more businesses including Fortune 500 companies, airlines, and foodservice providers. Today, Poppie’s Dough is located in Southwest Chicago where each day they mix, bake, produce, and ship thousands of freshly baked cookies, pastries, brownies, muffins, and scones. Now, there’s not only one, but five industrial-sized mixers in addition to ovens, freezers, and bakery equipment spanning more than 40,000 square feet.

That’s a brief description of the growth of Poppie’s, one that doesn’t nearly encompass all of the hard work—or all of the cookies—it took to make it happen. It’s a history that accounts for what Poppie’s Dough did, but it doesn’t really account for the how or the why.

So, how and why did Poppie’s Dough become so successful? The answer comes in many parts. First, great-tasting cookies from family-owned recipes. Second, the hard work and perseverance of Ronnie. Third, a commitment to high-quality, fresh, gourmet ingredients. And finally, a very supportive and loyal team of talented, hard-working people (bakers and non-bakers alike). All of these things combined to create the perfect recipe for years of success.

Decades of Great Tastes and Great People

Despite their incredible growth, much about Poppie’s Dough has remained the same. The same recipes that Ronnie sold to those first businesses are still being used today. In fact, nearly 70% of Poppie’s Dough recipes were originally created by Ronnie’s father, Poppie And the ingredients used in these recipes, old and new, are still made with only the best ingredients, like real Belgian chocolate, AA Wisconsin butter and milk, and many locally sourced products. 

The people who work for Poppie’s have also remained loyal, with some employees who have worked at Poppie’s since the very beginning, more than 25 years.

Poppie’s Dough Today

Poppie’s Dough began as a wholesale bakery, selling cookie dough and cookies to businesses all around the Chicago area, but today, Poppie’s also delivers and ships gourmet baked and frozen goods directly to you, anywhere in the country!

Click here to explore our products and taste some of the delicious history of Poppie’s Dough. And don’t forget to try the original Chocolate Chip Cookie that started it all.

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