Behind the Scenes: Cartel Bakery

Behind the Scenes: Cartel Bakery

February 04, 2021
Brittany Viar
Bakery, Featured, News

If you haven’t already heard the buzz, our latest treat, the Confetti Cookie, has made its debut in our cafes. It offers a vegan sugar cookie base and it’s loaded with (vegan) rainbow sprinkles – mmm.

There’s careful thought behind everything we do here at Cartel, and our baked goods are no exception. We have a team that works together to create incredible pastries that not only put a smile on our customers’ faces, but also pair well with their beverage. We sat down with Bakery Manager Amanda May at our Tempe Maple Ash location, who has been with the company for about 2.5 years. She has a background in food that extends back to her childhood – she’s basically a culinary genius.

“I kind of came from a background of a lot of Midwestern church cookbook writing,” said Amanda. “We still have our farm in Iowa and we’d go at least once or twice a year and just take a very long family road trip and drive back. And I feel like most of my memories and important traditions revolve around food.”

Amanda explained that her grandma had a hand in her love for the art of cooking and baking. She described a cookie her grandma would make that dazzled her growing up; peanut butter cookies dipped in chocolate and covered in peanuts with a crunchy outside and a tender middle. It was these types of delicious experiences that really inspired her to pursue a career working in food.

Fast forward to present day, Amanda continues to thoroughly enjoy crafting tasty eats and sending Cartel’s baked goods all over the Valley, as well as getting to see every store and drop off pastries. The culinary team is responsible for deliveries, in addition to completing bake orders and preparation work as necessary.

“Even if you're making the same thing, there are certain projects that are really satisfying. It’s like sensory overload at work in a way that feels really good,” Amanda said. “I think there's something about bread that is very good and down to earth for a lot of people. Just smelling the dough, feeling the dough, shaping it, and making these perfect little balls and then seeing a gorgeously symmetrical can of all these little balls in a row; it's just very satisfying in every way.”

Over time, Amanda learned and developed her skill. More recently, she made the switch to a plant-based diet and therefore had to adjust the way she cooked and baked. Interestingly, she created her own recipe after discovering that many vegan pastries she tried weren’t satisfying to her. After plenty of research and trial and error, she stumbled upon a recipe she wanted to try, but of course, made it her own.

“I used graham cracker crumbs, oats and almonds and made flour with them, a little bit of all purpose flour, peanut butter, honey, brown sugar, chocolate chips, a little vanilla, (and) a little cinnamon, and it just felt very like nice and toasty and warm. And then this kind of weird modge podge of things in my cabinet turned into a really tasty cookie,” Amanda said.

As she looks forward to the year ahead for the Cartel bakery, Amanda expressed her excitement in working with others in the community. In 2021, Cartel customers can expect collaborations with food experts in the area. And don’t worry, we didn’t forget – we’ve got Amanda’s cookie recipe down below for all to enjoy! Let us know what you think!

Vegan Pantry Cookie

Dry Ingredients

Rolled or Old Fashioned Oats

 1 C

Shredded Unsweetened coconut

 1 C

Graham cracker crumbs*

¼ C

All Purpose Flour

¼ C

Ground Cinnamon

1  tsp

Baking Soda

½ tsp

Baking Powder

½ tsp


½ tsp

Wet Ingredients

Ground Flax

2 T


5 T

Vegetable oil

¼ C

Peanut Butter

½ C


¼ C


¼ C

Vanilla extract

1 tsp

Chocolate Chips

¾ C


  1. In a food processor, combine all dry ingredients- Oats,Coconut, Flour, Graham Cracker crumbs, Cinnamon, Baking soda, Baking powder, Salt. Then blend all ingredients until you reach a fine powder, all the oats should be broken up, there are no major coconut flakes, and everything is well combined.  Set this mixture aside!
  2. In a small bowl, combine ground flax and water. This is going to be the egg replacer in your cookie. The flax needs to absorb all of the water in order for it to gel and emulate the binding properties of eggs. Set this aside for about 6-10 mins. 
  3. In a medium bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, combine oil, peanut butter, sugar, honey, and vanilla. Whisk or beat these together to get a smooth paste.
  4. Once your flax egg is ready, add this to the wet mixture. Mix again to emulsify the flax egg into your other fats. 
  5. Scrape your bowl, and fold in your dry ingredients. Lastly add the chocolate chips!
  6. These cookies can now be placed in the fridge to bake at a later time or baked right away. This dough can be kept in the fridge for up to 7 days ,or frozen for up to 3 months. 

Baking Protocol: 

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.   
  2. Using a spoon or cookie scoop (You’re looking for a 1 oz ball of dough or 2 Tbs), scoop cookies onto a baking sheet and press down slightly until dough is about ½ in thick.
  3. Arrange cookies on a baking sheet at least 1-2” apart. 
  4. Bake in your 350 degree oven for 7-10 mins or until the edges have browned and the center of the cookies has risen slightly.
  5. Let cool 10-15 minutes – unless you're impatient and enjoy burning yourself – then enjoy!

*In the event you don't have graham cracker crumbs, but do have full size graham crackers you can place 2-3 crackers in a ziplock bag or your food processor and crush them. Then measure out the crumbs for your cookie; you can also substitute all purpose flour.