Hong Li Ping (or Holly) started baking seven years ago when working as a domestic helper for American families in China. In the process, she was able to pick up western baking techniques and improve her English.
She started her business, Holly’s Cookie Jar, six years later after deciding she was more interested in being an entrepreneur than a domestic helper. “My American friends convinced me that my cookies were good enough that others would pay for them,” she says. “And so far it looks like they were right!”
Hong adopted the saying “that’s the way the cookie crumbles” as her slogan. “It pretty much sums up living in Beijing,” she explains. “Life here is hard, but we all still choose to live here anyway.”
Her menu features a wide variety of baked goods. Top sellers include chocolate chip, snickerdoodle (a type of cookie rolled in cinnamon sugar), oatmeal raisin, sugar, and banana bread. The newest additions are rainbow sugar cookies and cinnamon pumpkin bread. Holly’s Cookie Jar is headquartered at the JK Culture Center, a home-based culture exchange program for American and Chinese students. Hong works as an assistant there alongside Owner Jennifer Johnson. While Hong is able to receive orders in English, Johnson sometimes helps her during school fairs and other catering events.
Holly’s Cookie Jar also offers private baking lessons for kids and adults. Children usually learn how to make and decorate cutout sugar and rainbow cookies while adults learn how to make banana or pumpkin bread. Hong also teaches lessons on baking techniques for kids, which take place at the Oriental Rose compound within East Fourth Ring Road.
Currently, Holly’s Cookie Jar only operates in Beijing, but Hong has plans to expand with a cookie factory to provide jobs in less-developed areas of China.
To order, customers can call the number listed below or message her through WeChat. There’s no website for now, so email Holly to ask for the PDF menu. Both Chinese and English are accepted for orders. Holly’s Cookie Jar delivers for free within 10km of the JK Culture Center. Distances beyond this range carry a RMB 5 delivery fee and a minimum order.
Contact Hong for details at 136 9124 1927 (also her WeChat ID) or email
This article originally appeared in the August 2014 issue of beijingkids. To view it online for free, click here. To find out how to obtain your own copy, email firstname.lastname@example.org.