10 Questions: Meghann O'Leary

After graduating from SMU with a degree in Markets and Culture, Meghann O'Leary went to work for a local law firm. Her sister, Erin, headed to New York, degree in Fine Arts in hand, to pursue a dance career.

But they had always baked cookies.

So two years ago, Erin began selling cookies in the big city. Last September, Meghann brought the concept to Dallas. O'Cookies specializes in 'good for you' treats, using whole wheat, a portion of the usual amount of butter, unrefined sugar, no egg yolks and organic ingredients.

O'Cookies' Dallas kitchen sells online only, for now. And they have quite a following. Why are they so confident of success? Because of men, of course...

1. The most important question first: Do you know the secret of Thin Mints and can you tell us?
I was a Girl Scout a long time ago. Girl Scouts don't give up the secret.

2. OK, you guys use "decadent" and "healthy" to describe your cookies. What gives?
Well, there are healthy ways to satisfy your sweet tooth.

3. Doesn't healthy ruin the whole point?
No. Even health-conscious people want to indulge. And you don't want to feel guilty about it, so we cut hydrogenated oils, use unrefined sugars and less butter.

4. So you don't make shortbread?
We don't do shortbread. But we are working on new flavors. If I can find a way to make shortbread healthier, I'll do it.

5. How hard is it to break into the market?
It hasn't been the hardest. But it hasn't been easy, either. Fortunately, there are a number of local bakers who have given me advice. They've been really helpful--and I think it's because we're low fat, we're not their competition. It's been really nice.

6. What's your favorite cookie?
Mine is dark chocolate peanut butter.

7. Ever sneak a Chips Ahoy when no one is looking?
No, I don't.

8. Your dentist warns you about eating cookies, right?
Of course, they all do. They still give out toothbrushes on Halloween, too.

9. How do you know if a new cookie will sell?
The best way is through men. If men will eat it, then you know it's good. That's because girls are into low fat foods. We've built a huge male following, but some of them will say 'don't tell my friends I like this.'

10. You know, if you owned a brewery as well, you'd be our dream girl...
Yes, or an Irish pub.

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