#JadoreExclusive: On the Phone with the Cuffin Creator
While living with Candice in Chicago, Zayna Salloum accidentally created the cuffin- a delicious hybrid between a muffin and a cookie.
Since making their Michigan debut at the J'adore New Moon Party, cuffins are now available at Plum Market.
Read our #JadoreExclusive with Zayna Salloum to learn about her small business journey and why she loves to bake!
Need to Know
Who // Zayna Salloum
What // Cuffins
Where // Online & Plum Market
J'adore: What is a cuffin and how did you come up with the delicious hybrid?
Zayna: "It’s funny, cuffin is a cookie muffin. Essentially it’s a cookie dough I’ve perfected over the years and baked in a muffin tin. It started back in 2005, I was actually living with Candice. I was hosting a Superbowl Party and didn’t have a cookie sheet. I thought, let’s just put use the muffin tin and they came out amazing! I didn’t think it would be that good. We were all dying.
We were talking about what to call this things and came up with cuffin for cookie muffin. It was just something I did for fun. Years later, I was working at Food Network doing advertising and sales. I was inspired by the cooks and chefs I was meeting- they had their own shows and brands. I was inspired to do something for myself.
I thought, if I’m going to start a company or business I should do something unique- and thought back to my Superbowl accident. I figured out the best dough recipe and the cuffin was born. It was really exciting, I quit my job in advertising and started baking cuffins in Chicago.
I moved back to Plymouth two years ago. My husband and I were in Chicago for ten years when I got pregnant. I put everything on hold, now that my kids are a little older I want to bring it back! I want to start baking again here, I introduced it to Michigan at J’adore’s New Moon Party. I’m currently working with a co-packer. As of this week, cuffins are in Plum Market, at the four Michigan locations - two in Ann Arbor and two in the Birmingham area"
J'adore: From making your first cuffin up to today, what has your small business journey been like?
Zayna: "It’s been a lot of trial and error. A lot of hard work and experimenting. Trying new things. It’s been an amazing journey, it’s been long but it’s been worth every step. Running a small business, you learn as you go. I’ve been growing organically and trying to find a balance between being a business owner and being a mom. It’s been a whirlwind roller coaster but I wouldn’t want to do anything else."
J'adore: How do you come up with new flavors?
Zayna: "I love going out to dinner and trying new desserts. In my head I’m always inspired by anything I see when I’m out to eat- how restaurants mix salty and sweet and combine unexpected flavors. I’m middle eastern, we have a lot of desserts in my culture. I’m always trying to think of something new or different. Trying different desserts- donuts are probably my favorite.
I want to make more savory cuffins. Right now I have a bacon cuffin with whiskey and maple syrup. There are so many flavor combinations to tap into, I have a book of ideas I write in when I go out. I have a lot of flavors that are good for now but I’m always trying new recipes."
J'adore: Do you sell other baked goods?
Zayna: "No, cuffins are my priority right now. Eventually I would love to add some different items but they would have to be unique, like the cuffin."
J'adore: If someone has an idea for a cuffin they would like to try, do you do custom orders?
Zayna: "I have! I did a wedding a couple years ago, the groom was obsessed with Boston cream donuts so I made Boston cream cuffins. Anytime someone has an idea, I can make it. I’ve done a churro cuffin, lime cheesecake cuffin, a tequila cuffin. I love getting those kinds of requests, it makes me get creative. I would love to do more custom flavors."
J'adore: What do you love most about being a baker?
Zayna: "Being creative, it’s really my way of expressing who I am as a person. It’s what I love to do. It’s therapy for me in a way. I got into baking from being stressed out at work, going into the kitchen helps work out my frustration from the day. Baking gets my mind off of things, I love getting my hands dirty."
J'adore: Do you have plans to open a brick and mortar?
Zayna: "I went back and forth between opening a store front. At the moment, it wouldn’t work for me. My current business plan is great for my lifestyle right now. If it was the right opportunity, I would be into it but grocery stores and catering are the best for me right now. My dream is to have a storefront downtown. I would be totally open to pop-ups and I would love to collaborate with a restaurant!"
J'adore: What else would you like J’adore readers to know?
Zayna: "I’m excited and happy to debut the cuffin in Detroit and get it out there. I hope it makes somebody happy and inspired to be creative in the kitchen. I’m excited for people to try them and to get their feedback. I’m so excited to be back in Detroit! I was born and raised in Detroit, it’s an honor to be exposed to your readers and the Detroit market. There’s no place like home, it’s great to be back here. I’m happy the city is where it is today."
How good does a cuffin sound?
Check out the menu online, here. After your mouth stops watering, head to Plum Market to pick up a box of cuffins.
I can't wait to try the Gaga; Bacon & Maple with a Whiskey Maple Glaze.
Thank you, Zayna, for taking the time to talk to J'adore!