TwoBirds OneDough: ‘Entrepreneurial sisters build cookie dough business in Half Brothers Brewery – Grand Forks Herald

GRAND FORKS – It’s early on this weekday morning in mid-October — at predawn, it’s still dark, and the downtown streets and sidewalks are empty.

But inside Half Brothers Brewery on North Third Street, two sisters are busy mixing and shaping cookie dough, laughing and teasing each other as they work.

“We have so much fun mixing together,” Jessica LeTexier said. “It’s work, but it’s fun work.”

She and Kate Larson have been here for a while. They already have a metal sheet pan filled with balls of orange cookie dough — each about the size of a ping pong ball — arranged in neat rows. Sparkling green sugar will be added to the dough to resemble pumpkins, they explain.

LeTexier and Larson are the talent and brains behind “TwoBirds OneDough,” an edible cookie dough business they launched in January in the licensed commercial kitchen the owners of Half Brothers made available to them before and after the brewery’s regular business hours.

“Chip and Monsta are our most popular cookies,” LeTexier said, “and Gingah.”

While the names suggest a Massachusetts accent, they are intentional.

Each woman is a wife and mom to three kids. “All of them struggled with the hard ‘r,’ ” LeTexier said. “We decided, why not name (the dough) like the kids call them,” she said.

So they did.

Their products are available at all Bully Brew coffee shop locations, The Other Half in south Grand Forks, Half Brothers Brewery, Sanford Health in Fargo, and online at .

They are developing their small-batch dough drops business while holding down full-time jobs — LeTexier is a lead RN clinical educator for Sanford Health System and Larson is an associate professor of psychology at Bemidji State University. Both are graduates of Sacred Heart High School — Larson in 1997 and LeTexier in 2000, and both hold doctoral degrees in their fields.

In their educational careers, even as they pursued advanced degrees and received promotions, “the love of dough remained,” they say.

The sisters first became interested in experimenting with food as kids, and they were inspired by their mother’s culinary skills.

“Mom was a really good baker,” LeTexier said.

Larson always liked to eat cookie dough more than the cookie, she said, “And I want just a small batch.”

LeTexier said, “I still like the warm cookie” out of the oven.

The name of their business, “TwoBirds OneDough,” is a nod to the nicknames, Bird I and Bird II, conferred by their parents, Mark and Ruth LeTexier of East Grand Forks.

“Our parents are into birds,” LeTexier said. She and her sister are too.

The name also references a product that can be consumed two ways: raw or baked — hence, TwoBirds OneDough. The dough is safe to eat; it’s made with heat-treated flour and no eggs, she said.

Among their eight flavors, they market “Birthday Cake,” “Peanut Buttah,” “Sugah Shell,” “Sugah,” “Gingah” and “Cookies and Dream” dough drops. Cookies and Dream contains Oreos cookies.

“Gingah has warm flavors of molasses and cinnamon,” LeTexier said. “We associate it with Christmas at our mom’s house. It pairs well with coffee, wine, beer.”

It started as a seasonal dough, but has become a year-round offering.

Recently, LeTexier has begun “test-batching” a pumpkin spice recipe, she said. “My house is the test-batch house.”

The “ultimate level of approval” comes from their mother, and she’s asking for more pumpkin spice dough drops, she said. “When Mom really wants more, you know it’s good.”

Family members have become involved in the growing business. The sisters’ six kids have embraced tasks such as packaging and taste-testing. “Through hard work and dedication (via sampling), they have earned their titles of quality control experts,” the website declares. “It’s been so fun for the kids,” Larson said.

The sisters’ grandmother, Bev LeTexier, helps with packing.

TwoBirds OneDough offers custom products — in terms of color and other features — as well as amounts of dough drops per package.

Two Birds One Dough prepare edible cookie dough drops that are eaten fresh or baked.

Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

In making their products, the sisters aim for a treat that is not only delicious, but “something that’s a comfort,” LeTexier said. “You can taste the love and joy we pour into it.”

Sanford Health is selling their products in five Fargo locations – coffee shops and cafeterias — including their main campus, she said. “Sanford is by far our biggest supporter.”

LeTexier’s business relationship with Sanford is especially meaningful. Her son, born nine weeks premature, was a patient at the Fargo hospital.

“He spent 87 nights in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit),” she said. A portion of the sales at Sanford’s Fargo locations is donated to the Children’s Miracle Network, in appreciation for the care he received.

The sisters hope that for people dealing with the “chaos” of a health challenge in a hospital — such as LeTexier experienced — having one of their cookie dough products will comfort them and ease the stress.

The vivacious sisters may have inherited an entrepreneurial spirit from their grandmother, Lois Zavoral, who, at 18, boarded a train to attend a hairdressing school in the Twin Cities. Back at home, she opened her own hair salon, and later sold it to provide funds for her husband, Robert, to purchase equipment to start RJ Zavoral & Sons, Inc., an excavating contractor business based in East Grand Forks.

In their own business venture, the sisters have received valuable mentoring from Sandi Luck, owner of the Bully Brew coffee shops, and Chad Gunderson, owner of Half Brothers Brewing Co., they said.

LeTexier and Larson know the struggles of finding treats that everyone can enjoy, so they alter recipes to accommodate dietary and allergy needs.

“We’re inclusive,” LeTexier said. “We just want everyone to have a treat.”

They offer products that are “gluten-friendly” and dairy-free. A cookie dough made without eggs has mystified some customers.

“It’s our proprietary blend we developed ourselves — we’re not telling,” Larson said. “It’s our trade secret.”

“And you can still bake it,” LeTexier said.

In their recipes, they use local and regional products — American Crystal sugar, Dakota Maid flour and Crystal Farms butter — and organic pure Madagascar vanilla extract and premium chocolate chips. Heat-treating the flour in their recipes “gets rid of bacteria that’s harbored in the flour,” LeTexier said.

For the time being, using the commercial kitchen at Half Brothers Brewery, they have the capacity to handle the demands for their product, LeTexier said. “We know how many drops we’re able to make. It’s been manageable.” They handle deliveries themselves.

“We are our own dough-livery people,” Larson said.

After each mixing session, they haul the kitchen equipment and storage containers back to the basement.

“We have the most ridiculous fun when we’re here,” Larson said.

As they work, “we’re just singing along to our music, and laughing away,” she added.

But they’re serious about the future of their business.

“We want to grow our ‘dough empire,’” Larson said, adding that they hope eventually to have their own commercial space.

“We’re trying to figure out what the next step will be,” LeTexier said.

The sisters are working to develop a partnership with UND and hope to be able to ship their products in the future.

“We want to grow our footprint to a national level,” LeTexier said.

The entrepreneurs have trademarked the term “doughcuterie board,” an offering that is custom-designed, by color and content, for special occasions such as birthday parties or bridal showers.

“It’s something fun and different,” Larson said.

“Some people knit, some sew. I do doughcuterie,” LeTexier said with a chuckle.

“We want people to have a yummy treat that, when they take a bite of it, it takes them back to when they made cookies with their mom,” Larson said. “That makes us happy.”

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