Meet District Cookie

We met the lovely Rula Abirafeh of District Cookie a few months ago during The Hood's vendor tasting event back in July and were cookie-struck. Her signature products were out for the evening, and the Double Ginger Dark Chocolate stole my heart. Then she swept Duc off his feet with her Peanut Butter Milk Chocolate Cinnamon later, the best rendition of those flavors "he's ever had in cookie form" as he says. It's a bit difficult not to fall in love after your first bite but if you need more reason, you should hear her story. We had heard it through all of our interactions with her but recently took the time to actually sit down and get it in writing. So sit a while and Meet District Cookie, a new one-woman business that is destined for greatness!

Who is Rula?
"A big mish mash of things...? But always thinking of dessert! It's so hard to define what I am or who I am or want to be but I know there have been some constants along the way. If you know Myers-Briggs then you'll know what I mean when I say INFJ - Introvert, Intuitive, Feeling, Judging. I'm shy on the inside, thoughtful and go with my gut with a lot of emotion and a crisp end of analytical (possibly over-analytical) deconstruction. I spent a lot of time in my youth, college and beyond, trying to figure out what I wanted to do and who I wanted to be, what would make my parents happy, or what would land me a secure future. And all I know, through all those journeys, was that I had my creative baking outlet. To this day I still don't enjoy handling/fondling raw chicken but will get my hands dirty in a bowl of dough any day!
Simply, I'm an Arab-American woman, single-sex high school and Georgetown educated with roots between Beirut, Spain and DC and with a future in California but with a heart that wants to give more than receive and with a belly that thinks of cookies. I have known no greater pleasure than feeding people fresh awesome cookies. And even if I forget a password or an appointment, I won't forget your dessert preference. It's how I remember you because it makes me happy."
That sounds like a friend to always keep around. Won't forget our dessert preferences? Awesome! She also forgot to mention that she is one of the sweetest, most passionate people ever and a true cookie connoisseur. We were drawn in by her animated personality once she started talking about the beginnings of her District Cookie adventures at our first meeting, and we stayed throughout many more meetings/hangouts/late nights because of her sincerity and friendship.

What is District Cookie?
"District Cookie is an urban, global cookie company with a mission to provide anyone and everyone a quality good cookie. District Cookie takes the cookie to a funkier and cleaner level while still reminding you of your childhood favorite dessert. Its mission is to introduce cookie cravers to a superior hand-baked snack that isn't only a burst of fusion flavor but also leaves you with the satiated feeling knowing that you just consumed something that has less than ten pronounceable and organic ingredients. 
My cookies are plump, soft, browned, warm and filled with flavor. I use organic coconut palm sugar as a low-gylcemic and cleaner alternative but also so my flavors can pop (rather than the sugar). My inspiration comes from global and classic combinations with complementing fusions that you may not have had or classics that hold strong and take you back to your youth. The eggs are organic and locally sourced, the organic European grade butter is from an amazing Northern California creamery, and I use flour from a family-owned company. There's a lot of thought that goes into each cookie and with each bite you can taste it."
In reference to her comment about their ingredients, indulge in this additional knowledge: District Cookie's cookies use organic and non-GMO ingredients, contain unbleached flour, partner with local dairy, and have no trans fats. They're practically guilt-free (for cookies)!

How did you get started?
"All through my twenties I tinkered with corporate jobs and odds and ends and was never one to make myself a meal or even bake myself a cake until I moved into this one apartment with a renovated kitchen left for me by the previous owner (who happened to be a baker). I was under her spell. I started out tinkering with pre-made doughs and then evolved my own recipes. Then I perfected that recipe and added to it, all while sticking to and refining the cookie. Why the cookie? Well let me tell you! First it's an awesome handheld dessert that you can sneak for yourself or share. Perfection. Secondly, if I baked some, I could grab a few without anyone ever noticing and still gift them to friends and family! Baking started out for me as a need to fill a longing I had for flavors and ingredients I couldn't find combined into one good cookie."
She is not kidding around when she mentions cookie combinations you can't find anywhere else. Brown butter is a main ingredient in her cookies - a beautiful base for these delectable desserts. We have been in wide-eyed wonder ever since she mentioned her Cardamom White Chocolate Barberry cookie to us.

Which is the most popular flavor? Which is your favorite and why?
"The Brown Butter Chocolate Sea Salt is crazy popular. It's District Cookie's best by far because really there's no competing with a chocolate chip, right? There's only improving! And that's what I've done. Nutty and caramelized brown butter with chunky milk and dark chocolate and a coarse sea salt finish - it's the kid's cookie grown up!

My favorite is the Cardamom White Chocolate Barberry. Cardamom is such a fragrant and deliciously warm spice and it takes me back to my homeland roots. It's also mixed with a more Westernized addition of white chocolate. It has a warm cookie texture with barberry (really typical from the Mid East region) cutting through any sweetness and adding a lot of ting and tart! I love cardamom so much that I have a cardamom body oil I love to smother myself in (although I could probably rub myself in cookies too?!)."
Well, we already have our favorites based on our own flavor preferences but it's pretty obvious that there is at least one cookie for everyone in her spread (if not more!) to love. You can check out the flavors here. As far as we know, she's also in cahoots with other businesses to make collaboration cookies and additional genius creations.

It's no secret that we love them all but who do you think will love your cookies most? What do you want people to take away after eating them?
"So far in my infancy of growing and learning, I have seen ALL kinds of people smile when eating District Cookie. I could ask for nothing more. Young, old, men, women, kids, all ages, all races. That's exactly how I want it to be - totally boundless! It's as simple as everyone taking bite by bite and thinking, 'This is a damn good cookie.'"
What's the best way to enjoy them? What's your preferred way to?
"I hope one day to make fresh hot cookies accessible to the masses, and I developed my recipe with that in mind. Freshness is key and hot cookies can't be beat but luckily District Cookie has the ooey-gooey cakey consistency that makes it soft and sweet even when shipped or enjoyed later! Personally I like to save myself a cookie from my stash and nibble my way around the edges (those little browned crispy bits are divine) and then my husband will probably sneak away with the soft center!"
Mowgli - her little rascal who we just can't stop cuddling with and petting when we see him!

Where can people get their hands on some and what's the pricing?
"The Holiday Dessert Trifecta on November 24th with Valenza Chocolatier, Brown Bear Eats, Much Ado About Fooding, and Duc Duong Photography! Yippppeeee! The website also just launched with nationwide shipping and gifting available which is awesome for sending cookie care packages all over. I'll also be at Unique LA December 7 & 8 and The Hood Kitchen MRKT in Costa Mesa daily. Delivery in OC & LA will also be all the time and you'd get to meet me!
The cookies are $15 for a six-pack (sounds like beer!) with discounted rates available for larger orders and catering considerations."
We are super excited that Rula will be one of the three vendors at the holiday dessert open house we're helping host on the 24th because it will be one of the rare occasions that you'll find her products so readily available to the general public in-person. As she said, she is currently doing a lot of nationwide orders through her gorgeous website so get your orders in now! Just from the interview, I'm sure you can see just how in love with cookies Rula is and the kind of passion that pushes forward such heartwarming products. Not only do we enjoy her focus on making quality cookies but we admire her strong branding and personality that shines through to truly demonstrate what District Cookie is all about. If you dare to show your love, head over to any of the events where she will be appearing or make your order at the District Cookie website. We have a blast any and every time that we do get to hang out with Rula - thanks to her for letting us do a quick feature and interview! You can find her also on Facebook and Instagram.

Photography by Duc Duong.



  1. That Peanut Butter Milk Chocolate Cinnamon... so good. It just doesn't leave your memories. You just want more and more and more.