Baking Clean: Healthy Holiday Cookies with Laurel Gallucci from Sweet Laurel Bakery

Laurel Gallucci is a sweet-tooth connoisseur, mother of two, and co-founder of Sweet Laurel Bakery. She was inspired to start her own business after being diagnosed with a life-changing autoimmune disease six years ago. Fueled by her love for baking, she found delicious and innovative ways to accommodate her strict diet by tinkering with safer ingredients in her test kitchen, which would later turn into her now full-time business, Sweet Laurel Bakery.

In the spirit of safer ingredients that deliver, we partnered with Laurel to talk about beauty, business, balance, and best of all, the reason she created a very special cookie recipe—just for us.

Beautycounter: Where are you from?
Laurel Gallucci: Santa Monica, CA

BC: What drew you to a healthier lifestyle?
LG: I was raised in a very health-conscious home, and when I was diagnosed with my autoimmune disease, I was at first treated medically with lots of hormones. I got worse, and discovered healing through food via my functional medicine doctor. She told me if I wanted to get better, I needed to remove all grains, refined sugar, and dairy from my diet. I did that overnight, and Sweet Laurel began very shortly after that! I feel so good eating this way, I’ve maintained it for almost six years now. My autoimmune disease is in remission, and I’m healthy enough to have babies (a miracle for me!), work out, and enjoy life!

BC: What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced in parenting while opening up your own business?
LG: Balancing motherhood and running a company has been very challenging for me, and I’ve learned there are days I need to be okay with everything not being completely perfect. I’ve set up boundaries for myself, in an attempt to not compromise what I love doing. I truly adore motherhood and my role at Sweet Laurel, so being intentional about the time I spend on both is important to me.

BC: How do you structure your day to get everything done, while balancing work and family?
LG: In the morning, before leaving for work, I have quality time with my son. From the time I drop him off at preschool to when I pick him up, the emails, phone calls, and meetings are full throttle. I’m often back-to-back during this time, and I try to schedule my day that way. I find I get the most done. When I get home, we have family time and dinner, and then I plug back in when my son goes to sleep. This is all going to change very shortly when I give birth to my second child due in January, but this is my “normal” right now, and it’s working!

BC: Owning your own business can be challenging. What’s your favorite way to unwind?
LG: A day at home with my husband and baby—and no plans!

BC: What are some things you’ve faced that you didn’t expect when opening your business?
LG: The full-on, 24/7, relentless nature of it.

BC: What’s your favorite way to “self-care”?
LG: Microcurrent facials and body work with my girl Valentina in Santa Monica!

BC: What does your skin-care routine look like?
LG: I have very dry skin (especially during pregnancy), so I tend to get rashes on my face easily. The Countertime Collection from Beautycounter has been a lifesaver at this time of my life!

BC: Why did you decide to switch to clean beauty products?
LG: When I changed my diet, I also changed all my products, including beauty and cleaning products. I’m happy to say I have a non-toxic home!

BC: What’s something you’d say to someone wanting to open up their own business?
LG: Maintain a clear yet flexible vision. Surround yourself with a good team, including a mentor whom you can check in with often.

BC: How are the beauty and food industries similar? How can they both do better?
LG: There’s lots of synergy between Sweet Laurel and Beautycounter. That’s just one reason I love Beautycounter so much! We both believe in the integrity of the ingredients we put into our products and will not compromise. I also love that Beautycounter’s founder, Gregg Renfrew, advocates and lobbies on behalf of the clean beauty industry. I hope to one day do that for clean eating.

BC: What’s your favorite holiday tradition?
LG: Besides the baking…now that I have a baby, I’ve gotten into wearing matching, festive jammies when we’re at home together!

BC: What’s your favorite hostess gift?
LG: Freshly baked goods (usually cookies)!

BC: How did you dream up of “A #Betterbeauty Cookie”?
LG: I used a few ingredients that Beautycounter uses in some of their products (coconut oil, orange peel, and cacao butter), and I turned them into a delicious recipe! I haven’t made an orange cookie dipped in chocolate before, and it sounded lovely!

A #BetterBeauty Cookie:
Chocolate-Dipped Orange Cookies

 2 zested oranges
 1/4 cup orange juice
 2 cups almond flour
 1/4 cup coconut oil (melted)
 1/4-1/3 cup maple sugar
 1/4 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
 1/2 cup Sweet Laurel Vegan Chocolate Chips

1. In a bowl, combine the almond flour, maple sugar, orange zest, and pink salt. Mix well. Add the melted coconut oil and orange juice, and stir until a soft dough is formed. Place the dough between two sheets of parchment paper and roll out the dough, then place in the refrigerator to chill for at least 30 minutes.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

3. Remove from refrigerator and take off the top sheet of parchment paper and place it on a baking sheet. Using a small cup, circle cookie cutter, or cookie cutter of choice, gently press into dough, and using a spatula, place the cutout dough on prepared baking sheet.

4. Bake for about 10 minutes, and while doing so, melt the chocolate. To melt the chocolate chips, place them in a small saucepan over VERY low heat. If your stove’s low heat setting is unpredictable, use the double boiler method instead. Slowly melt the chocolate, stirring frequently. When melted, remove from stove and allow to cool.

5. Remove cookies from oven and allow to cool. When completely cool, dip cookies in melted chocolate and place on a piece of parchment paper to firm up. Enjoy!

(Storage instructions: store at room temperature in a sealed, airtight container for up to three days, or place in an airtight container and freeze until the day you’d like to serve.)

BC: What are your goals for 2020?
LG: Grow Sweet Laurel as much as possible! We are expanding our wholesale, retail, and online footprint in 2020 and we’re very excited about that. I also want to enjoy my family as much as possible while doing so.

When it comes to decadent desserts, Laurel Gallucci has delicious, safer ingredients down to a T, and it shows in Sweet Laurel Bakery. What you put in (and on) your body matters, so we believe good-for-you ingredients are worth the effort.

Learn more about our own Ingredient Selection Process.

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