With a lot of IG companies popping up these days, fresh, locally made cookies with various recipes is one of the things that Malaysians have no shortage of. We've already featured a few like Chew My Booze and The Cookies Bar.
With this in mind, Amanda and her fiancé (nicknamed The Mr.) did their research and were delighted to find that the cookie recipe they'd impressed friends with was nowhere to be found on other home bakers' accounts.
With a little extra research and development and moral support from friends, the pair launched The Mr. Bakes with a special ingredient – tahini – at the end of January this year. Tahini is a sesame paste that is a popular spice from the Middle East and is not that common in Malaysia.
Good tahini can be slightly nutty, creamy, and hearty, while bad tahini can be bitter, slightly astringent, dry and leave a chalky mouthfeel.
A recipe from studying abroad
When Amanda's fiancé was studying abroad, his Middle Eastern friend's mother made some tahini cookies. He fell for the recipe straight away.
Cookies that can be packaged and delivered / Photo credit: The Mr. Bakes
"She would put tahini in anything as it is an important part of her kitchen," he told the Vulcan Post. When he returned to Malaysia, his friend's mother gave him her recipe and he began his research and development journey with tahini biscuits.
Today this recipe is the 6th or 7th version of their original recipe. Over the years he had experimented with different butters, sugars, etc. until he finally came up with this current version.
Influenced by her entrepreneurial friends
“If you had told us a year ago that we had a home baking business, we would never have believed you. Neither of us thought we were entrepreneurial, ”Amanda admitted.
But the two have always had a penchant for hospitality and the food of others in their homes, be it a meal with game nights, giving away baked goods, etc.
Her friends received her culinary products on a regular basis, including her signature Tahini chocolate chip cookies with sea salt, which have always been a staple in her kitchen.
“Eventually our friends Aisyah and Puteri said they wanted to pay for our biscuits. Puteri, the owner and founder of Oh Sebenar, a local fashion brand that includes sizes, wanted our biscuits to be part of their Valentine's Day gift set, ”explained Amanda, which started this home baking business.
R&D for their biscuits (left) and their first partnership with Oh Sebenar / Photo credit: The Mr. Bakes
The fiancé who bakes and the fiancé who eats
Baking and research and development is done by The Mr., while Amanda handles everything else – social media, managing suppliers and orders, packaging, logistics, and finding partnering opportunities.
"I'm not good at the kitchen, nobody wants to eat scones or cookies from me," joked Amanda. However, her entrepreneurial talent lies in helping the company stand out in the oversaturated biscuit market.
Adding chocolate chips to your batter (left) and cutting scone batter (right) / Photo credit: The Mr. Bakes
“While many are familiar with pairing biscuits and milk, I wanted to do something different. So I teamed up with Pour Decisions and the result was a combination of our biscuits and their wine. "
Amanda works in PR while The Mr. runs a media and entertainment platform, so dealing with partnerships is a matter of course for her.
2 flavors for now
For their cookies, they have The OG (their signature sea salt tahini with milk chocolate chip cookies) and The Darker Grittier Sequel, a similar version that uses black tahini and dark chocolate chips instead.
The OG costs RM7.50 while The Darker Grittier Sequel costs RM8.50 and Mr. Bakes requires a minimum order of 4 biscuits. There is also the option of having a mix of the 2 flavors for RM48 with 3 of each flavor in one box.
Before that, they sold peanut butter and miso sandies, another of their funky flavors. However, it was a Raya special, so its production was suspended for the time being. "Given the flavor profiles of peanut butter and miso, piecing them together into a biscuit was really a breeze," The Mr. said of it.
Behind the scenes with a home baker / Photo credit: The Mr. Bakes
Be part of the family tea times
Although The Mr. is known today for unconventional recipes, he prides himself on his skills with traditional recipes. They make scones at a price of RM 27 for a box of six and come with a set of jam and traditional clotted cream.
“Our customers have told us that our scones have brought them back to their time at British teahouses or family trips to the Cameron Highlands, which has been incredibly rewarding to hear as feedback,” said Amanda, delighted.
They currently sell an average of around 100 cookies and 40 boxes of scones every weekend (where they usually take orders). “Our orders are usually picked up every time there is a block. People are eager to reconnect with their family and friends. So they contact us and arrange for our biscuits and scones to be delivered as surprise "care packages". "
“Once we had a customer who had scones delivered to her and her mother so they could drink tea through Zoom. One of the best parts of being at The Mr. Bakes is being part of the family tea-time, "recalled Amanda.
Your scones are a part of tea times / Photo credit: The Mr. Bakes
Play the long game
While they are always working on creating unconventional cookie flavors, they don't see themselves as an unconventional cookie hub. They stated that it's because they don't consider themselves experimental.
"The Mr. Bakes idea has always been to bake cookies and treats that are cozy and wholesome, but with a twist so people can experience something new," Amanda and The Mr. told the Vulcan Post.
While sales are going well for them, the couple worries about how to keep their customers interested and come back for more.
Amanda grabs the cookies and goes one step further with handwritten notes / Photo credit: The Mr. Bakes
“Malaysians love to try everything new before quickly moving on to the next new thing. It was clear to us from the start that we had to keep our menu fresh and introduce new seasonal products. ”Fortunately, they were very fortunate to have many repeat customers who were incredibly supportive.
"I think we have to do something right," they concluded gratefully.
- You can learn more about The Mr. Bakes Here.
- You can read about other cookies companies we've covered Here.
Photo credit: Amanda Khoo and The Mr., founders of The Mr. Bakes