Bake My Day: Knotty’s Cookies isn’t afraid to take whisks

Shelby Carroll; photo credit: Seth Cooley (@sethcooley)

What began as a way to quell late night sugar cravings for friends and roommates turned into Knotty’s Cookies, an amazing pop-up confectionary shop helmed by local Newport cookie guru Shelby Carroll. She’s transformed her hobby of crafting new and exciting cookie flavors (move over, Milk Bar!) into an awesome gig, slinging bangin’ baked goods to in-the-know locals and folks who are lucky enough to stumble upon the scrumptious storefront. I sat down with Shelby between dings of the oven (all cookies are warmed fresh to order!), and it’s no surprise that her story is just as sweet as the desserts she bakes!

Morgan Capodilupo (Motif): Tell me a little bit more about yourself and the company!

Shelby Carroll: I am a URI grad who has been fortunate to call Newport home for the last four years. In June, I opened Knotty’s Cookies. We are a late-night pop-up serving homemade cookies, baked on-site. Each weekend, two flavors will rotate, while our signature Good Ol Buoy, a classic chocolate chip, is always on the menu as our go-to. 

MC: How did Knotty’s Cookies come to be?

SC: I’ve spent a lot of time with friends on Newport’s busy bar street, Broadway, and I was always surprised I couldn’t get an after-hours treat when I wanted one the most. The opportunity to sell something sweet at night just couldn’t escape me and so I got to thinking about what I would want after leaving Fastnet, which immediately brought me to cookies. I’ve always stopped into small confectionaries while traveling for my full-time sales job and found so much inspiration. Employees working in these cookie shops always seem so happy to be using their hands and creating every day. Finding that kind of passion was a big motivator for me to conceptualize this business, alongside my lifelong love of cookies.

MC: How do you develop your cookie recipes?

SC: When you come to Knotty’s, you will find each cookie has an original name. Usually, the recipe comes before the name, but some names are too punny to ignore and I develop a recipe from that. I experiment and adapt our recipes and test new ones endlessly until I find the best version of each classic. I’ve also been lucky to find a community in other bakers, and often contact other bakers I admire online to ask why they add a certain ingredient or to ask about a method foreign to me. 

MC: What’s your ideal cookie?

SC: The ideal cookie is … any cookie from Knotty’s! My ideal cookie is one that is made from the freshest dairy and doesn’t skimp on any confections. My forever favorite will always be a warm chocolate chip, which is why it took a lot of trial and error to create my Good Ol Buoy. I use mostly semi-sweet chocolate that, when combined with flakey sea salt, gives a perfect balance! Just one bite will not be possible

MC: What do you hope to bring to the Rhode Island food scene with Knotty’s Cookies? 

SC: Besides providing the street of Broadway with the unmistakable scent of freshly made cookies, I really just want to be on people’s activity list. Whether you’re out walking the dog, making us the cherry to a perfect date, or leaving dinner with friends, Knotty’s is something to add to everyone’s evening routine.

MC: Any plans/dreams/goals for the future?

SC: World cookie domination! But until then, a standalone store or a mobile store would be an exciting next step as we continue to grow. This summer I also plan to roll out non-profit partnerships that will support select local groups to bring extra awareness through the sweetness of cookies. I’m very excited to announce those in the next few weeks.

Check out the Knotty’s Cookies pop-up at 6 Broadway in Newport on Friday and Saturday evenings from 6 – 10pm, and give ‘em a follow on Instagram @knottyscookies for drool-worthy dessert content and future pop-up locations. And add a visit to Knotty’s to your weekend plans. You’ll be eternally grateful you did!