Dallas native Tifany Swulius has worked at the Lakewood Landing as a bartender off and on since 2006, but only recently became the official in-house baker.
She likes cookies and beer, so it was bound to work out this way.
“I’ve been in the kitchen all my life, and at some point, a few years ago, I started bringing cookies up to the Landing," Swulius says with a happiness to her voice. We conducted our interview over the phone, so I couldn't see her, but it sounds like she says everything with a big smile.
Regulars at the East Dallas dive bar soon began to request her cookies. At Christmas, she’d dole out boxes full of her homemade cookies and marshmallows. As her experience grew, so did her creativity.
Then, she decided to go big time: The State Fair of Texas.
Her test group? Customers at the Landing, of course.
Swulius says she always loved the fair, especially the eclectic food creations. So, when she decided to start entering in the cookie bake-off, she had the perfect test audience.
"I’d take my cookies up to the Landing to get opinions, and I’d actually get really good feedback," Swulius says.
Eventually, she zeroed in on a bacon-jalapeño-cornbread cookie made with freeze-dried corn that she pulsed in a food processor into a fine powder. The bacon and jalapeños are both candied.
“I got the idea from Christina Tosi,” Swulius says of the famed Milk Bar baker who makes a corn cookie. Swulius added the jalapeño and bacon.
She entered a batch into the 2019 state fair and took home third place. For this year's bake-off, she's working on a strawberry shortcake cookie.
Since the spread of coronavirus limited the Landing to just takeout orders, she hasn't stopped baking; quite the opposite. Swulius has been diving deep in her recipe box.
Several times a week, the Landing posts photos of the new batch: banana cupcakes with a cream cheese frosting sprinkled with coconut and almond, Texas sheet cake, peanut butter swirl brownies, cream-filled doughnuts and beer brownies made with Lakewood Temptress milk stout.
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“I take cookies up to the Landing almost every day now. Not to sell, but just as a way as a ‘thank you’ to people for ordering food and supporting us right now,” Swulius says.
Hopefully, things will get back to normal so she can enter her cookies into this year's state fair cookie contest. Until then, you can find her next creation at the Landing. Perhaps to go along with their Noonday onion rings that are back in season (for a limited time) and a giant burger. And there are always the house-made corn dogs.
Lakewood Landing, 5818 Live Oak St., Suite 4334 (East Dallas). Open for takeout.