“Cookie nerd” is how Mindy Segal describes herself—and it’s a serious understatement. The Chicago-based pastry chef and restaurateur once spent years developing the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe (it’s “the measure of a great pastry chef,” she’s said), and in 2015 she published a cookbook entirely devoted to cookies, from peanut butter peanut brittle and malted-milk spritz to peaches-and-cream thumbprints and everything in between. The title Cookie Love, of course.
Cookies are only Segal’s beginning. At her restaurant, Hot Chocolate, classical desserts get clever twists: There’s cucumber-yogurt sherbet with the blackberry-blueberry tart, her icebox brownie comes with chamomile cream and fernet hot fudge, and she serves nine (!) variations on the titular wintertime beverage. It’s that combination of creativity and attention to technique—honed early on at Charlie Trotter’s and Marché—that won her an Outstanding Pastry Chef award from the James Beard Foundation.
Recently, Segal has turned her talent toward the world of weed, partnering with Cresco Labs to develop Mindy’s Edibles, an entire line of cannabis-infused treats, like brittles, granola bars, bites, and hot chocolate.
For her first Panna recipe, however, Segal went for an all-star—the cinnamon-sugared Snickerdoodle, a hit in the 19th century and just as popular today, with kids and adults alike.