SHELBURNE, Vt. (WCAX) – Walk in the doors of Douglas Sweets, and you’re sure to be met with a heavenly scent.
On the day of our visit, that scent was salted caramel shortbread cookies, a fan favorite at this family business.
Inside their decorative bags is a cookie made from a recipe belonging to Debra Townsend’s mother, a Scottish woman with the last name, Douglas.
“I think she was sixteen? Fifteen, sixteen when she started making it. Everybody loved it, and she started giving it away at Christmas time and different times of the year, and then all of us kids started making it,” owner Debra Townsend said.
The business began 11 years ago in the Townsends’ home kitchen.
“I had made some the year before for some friends and they encouraged me to do this,” Townsend explained.
With business booming, they moved to their current Shelburne space in 2016. Now, it’s bursting at the seams.
Each year they grow more and more, with this mother-daughter duo reaching stores across the U.S. They do it all without the help of a distributor.
“People order and the product they’re getting on the shelves is usually made the week prior, not months prior,” daughter Hannah Townsend Allain said.
There are 10 flavors up for grabs, though these two are known to dabble with different tastes every now and again.
“I like coming up with new flavors, that’s the most fun,” Townsend said.
“The challenge is keeping it limited,” laughed Townsend Allain.
They say their best seller is plain old traditional shortbread.
“I can’t tell you how many times we get emails saying, ‘It tastes just like my grandma’s.’ So, I think that’s why people enjoy that one so much,” said Townsend Allain.
What makes it taste that way? We’ll never know. Douglas Sweets is sure to keep their recipe and process under lock and key, but they gave us a hint.
“Knowing how to mix it and using good ingredients. Absolutely you have to use really good ingredients,” Townsend said.
It’s a delicious treat that could only be made in Vermont.
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