“TwoBirds OneDough”: Entrepreneurial Sisters Start Cookie Dough Business at Half Brothers Brewery

“TwoBirds OneDough”: Entrepreneurial Sisters Start Cookie Dough Business at Half Brothers Brewery

GRAND FORKS — It’s early this weekday morning in mid-October — at dawn, it’s still dark and the streets and sidewalks downtown are empty.

But inside the Half Brothers brewery on North Third Street, two sisters are busy mixing and shaping cookie dough, laughing and teasing each other as they work.

“We have so much fun mingling together,” Jessica LeTexier said. “It’s work, but it’s fun work.”

She and Kate Larson have been here for a while. They already have a metal plate filled with balls of orange cookie dough – each the size of a ping pong ball – arranged in neat rows. Sparkling green sugar will be added to the batter to look like pumpkins, they explain.

LeTexier and Larson are the talent and brains behind “TwoBirds OneDough,” an edible cookie dough business they launched in January in the licensed commercial kitchen the owners of Half Brothers made available to them before and after the regular opening hours of the brewery.

“Chip and Monsta are our most popular cookies,” LeTexier said, “and Gingah.”

Although the names suggest a Massachusetts accent, they are intentional.

Each woman is a wife and mother of three children. “All of them struggled with the hard ‘r’,” LeTexier said. “We decided, why not name (the dough) what the kids call them,” she said.

So they did.

Their products are available at all Bully Brew coffee shops, The Other Half in South Grand Forks, Half Brothers Brewery, Sanford Health in Fargo, and online at https://www.2birds1dough.com.

They’re growing their small-batch dough drop business while working full-time jobs — LeTexier is a senior RN clinical educator for the Sanford Health System and Larson is an associate professor of psychology at Bemidji State University. Both graduated from Sacred Heart High School – Larson in 1997 and LeTexier in 2000, and both have doctorates in their fields.

In their educational careers, even as they pursued higher education and received promotions, “the love of dough remained,” they say.

The sisters first became interested in experimenting with food as children and were inspired by their mother’s cooking skills.

“Mom was a really good baker,” LeTexier said.

Larson has always enjoyed eating cookie dough more than the cookie, she said, “And I just want a small batch.”

LeTexier said, “I always love the warm cookie” right out of the oven.

The name of their company, “TwoBirds OneDough”, is a nod to the nicknames, Bird I and Bird II, conferred by their parents, Mark and Ruth LeTexier of East Grand Forks.

“Our parents love birds,” LeTexier said. Her and her sister too.

The name also refers to a product that can be eaten in two ways: raw or cooked – hence TwoBirds OneDough. The paste is safe for consumption; it’s made with heat-treated, egg-free flour, she said.

Among their eight flavors, they market ‘Birthday Cake’, ‘Peanut Buttah’, ‘Sugah Shell’, ‘Sugah’, ‘Gingah’ and ‘Cookies and Dream’ batter drops. Cookies and Dream contains Oreos cookies.

“Gingah has warm molasses and cinnamon flavors,” LeTexier said. “We associate it with Christmas at our mother’s house. It goes well with coffee, wine, beer.

It started out as a seasonal pasta, but has grown into a year-round offering.

Recently, LeTexier began “batch testing” a pumpkin spice recipe, she said. “My house is the trial house.”

The “ultimate level of approval” comes from their mother, and she asks for more pumpkin spice batter drops, she said. “When mom really wants more, you know it’s good.”

Family members became involved in the growing business. The sisters’ six children embraced tasks such as packaging and taste testing. “Through their hard work and dedication (via sampling), they have earned their titles as quality control experts,” the website states. “It’s been so much fun for the kids,” Larson said.

The sisters’ grandmother, Bev LeTexier, helps with packing.

TwoBirds OneDough offers customized products – in terms of color and other characteristics – as well as quantities of dough drops per package.

11xx22 cookieDough2.jpg

Two Birds One Dough makes edible cookie dough drops that are eaten fresh or baked.

Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

In making their products, the sisters aim for a treat that’s not just delicious, but “something comforting,” LeTexier said. “You can taste the love and joy we pour into it.”

Sanford Health sells its products at five Fargo locations — cafes and cafeterias — including their main campus, she said. “Sanford is by far our biggest supporter.”

LeTexier’s business relationship with Sanford is particularly significant. Her son, born nine weeks premature, was a patient at Fargo Hospital.

“He spent 87 nights in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit),” she said. A portion of sales from Sanford’s Fargo stores are donated to the Children’s Miracle Network, in appreciation for the care he received.

The sisters hope that for people dealing with the “chaos” of a medical condition in a hospital — as LeTexier experienced — having one of their cookie dough products will comfort them and ease the stress.

The vivacious sisters may have inherited their entrepreneurial spirit from their grandmother, Lois Zavoral, who at 18 boarded a train to attend hairdressing school in the Twin Cities. Back home, she opened her own hair salon, then sold it to provide funds for her husband, Robert, to buy equipment to start RJ Zavoral & Sons, Inc., a business excavation company based in East Grand Forks.

In their own business, the sisters received valuable mentorship from Sandi Luck, owner of Bully Brew cafes, and Chad Gunderson, owner of Half Brothers Brewing Co., they said.

LeTexier and Larson know it’s hard to find treats that everyone can enjoy, so they modify recipes to accommodate dietary needs and allergies.

“We are inclusive,” LeTexier said. “We just want everyone to enjoy themselves.”

They offer “gluten-free” and dairy-free products. A cookie dough made without eggs has mystified some customers.

“It’s our proprietary blend that we developed ourselves – we don’t say that,” Larson said. “It’s our trade secret.”

“And you can still bake it,” LeTexier said.

In their recipes, they use local and regional products – American Crystal Sugar, Dakota Maid Flour and Crystal Farms Butter – as well as pure Madagascar vanilla extract and premium chocolate chips. Heat-treating the flour in their recipes “kills the bacteria harbored in the flour,” LeTexier said.

For now, using Half Brothers Brewery’s commercial kitchen, they have the capacity to handle demands for their product, LeTexier said. “We know how many drops we are able to do. It was manageable. They take care of the deliveries themselves.

“We are our own dough people,” Larson said.

After each mixing session, they bring the kitchen equipment and storage containers back to the basement.

“We have the most ridiculous fun when we’re here,” Larson said.

As they work, “we just sing along to our music and laugh,” she added.

But they are serious about the future of their business.

“We want to grow our ‘dough empire,'” Larson said, adding that eventually they hope to have their own commercial space.

“We’re trying to figure out what’s next,” LeTexier said.

The sisters are working to develop a partnership with UND and hope to be able to ship their products in the future.

“We want to expand our footprint nationally,” LeTexier said.

Entrepreneurs have trademarked the term “pastry dough”, a custom-designed offering, by color and content, for special occasions such as birthday parties or bridal showers.

“It’s something fun and different,” Larson said.

“Some knit, some sew. I make modeling clay,” LeTexier said with a laugh.

“We want people to have a delicious treat that when they take a bite of it takes them back to when they made cookies with their mom,” Larson said. “It makes us happy.”

#TwoBirds #OneDough #Entrepreneurial #Sisters #Start #Cookie #Dough #Business #Brothers #Brewery

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *