Since the start of the New Year, I have actively been trying to make healthier choices when it comes to food. However, my insatiable sweet tooth is unavoidable. This is where P.S. Snacks and vegan cookie dough comes into play. 

When I found out about P.S. Snacks through the magical world of Instagram while following dozens of new lifestyle and healthy food bloggers for motivational purposes (of course), I was super intrigued. Personally, I have tried some alternative ingredient recipes such as black bean brownies, but before coming across P.S. Snacks, I had never heard of using chickpeas in sweets. 

Because I was fascinated by the concept of P.S. Snacks, I reached out to the founder, Nikki Azzara, who was kind enough to send me some product and agree to an interview. 

Lindsay Paulen

Spoon: Graduating from college and taking a risk, such as starting your own company, is definitely scary. However, you succeeded. What were the biggest obstacles in getting where you are today? 

NA: I would have to say the biggest obstacles have been 1) being a one-woman show – it’s actually impossible to do everything by myself, so even though I learned this about a year too late I am finally hiring, delegating tasks, and trying to scale the business with a team of awesome people to help when and where they can. 2) Lack of money – I am constantly bootstrapping this operation! This is great experience though, as it makes me very cautious of budgeting and spending. I sometimes think that the lack of “real-world” corporate experience has worked in my favor because I am more inclined to wing it, pivot when necessary (the rebrand, for example) and seek help and answers from those that do have more experience. Taking this risk has been the best decision of my life, thus far!

Spoon: What did you major in at Wake Forest University and did it help you to succeed as an entrepreneur? 

NA: I majored in Business & Enterprise Management in the undergraduate School of Business at Wake, with a concentration in marketing. This major allowed me to take the core business classes (accounting, finance, operations) with electives such as brand management, principles of marketing and entrepreneurial strategy. The marketing electives truly inspired me to start my own venture, and when I was first developing the business plan and concept I went back to my professors, textbooks and case studies for guidance. I definitely think the major revealed my interests and career-focused passions, though much of this entrepreneurial endeavor requires you to learn on the fly.

Spoon: How did you come up with the idea to incorporate chickpeas into cookie dough? 

NA: Kind of by accident! I had experimented with black bean brownies and tricked my older sister into eating them. Growing up, my mom’s signature recipe (every school event, birthday and gathering) was blondies, so I wanted to re-create a healthier version. Because my black bean brownies had been a success, I played around with a recipe for blondies using chickpeas! That original recipe is what we are using today… though it turns out people prefer to just eat it raw.

cake, cookie, milk, sweet, coffee, chocolate
Lindsay Paulen

Spoon: Have you found that social media--Instagram especially--has changed the way you market your product?

NA: 100%, it is my sole focus right now when it comes to “advertising” and marketing, mainly because of my target demographic, budget and overall brand goals. Aside from in-store sampling, Instagram is the best way to reach new consumers and generate curiosity in the product. From there, it’s often word of mouth. I love communicating the uniqueness of the product and branding through photos, it’s one of my favorite aspects of my job.

Spoon: What methods did you use to build up your Instagram and social media presence?

NA: Consistent content is a key component – educating followers about where to find the product, how to use it, why it is actually good for you. I also like co-branding with local companies, or tagging some of my personal favorite brands to collaborate on recipes and/or lifestyle shots if our brands are closely aligned. I have tried to up my Instagram story game to show more of what I do behind-the-scenes. My goal is to get more people trying and learning about the cookie dough, so I plan to work with various social influencers and bloggers to help me share my brand and story.

Spoon: How did you turn your passion for food into a functioning, money-making business?

NA: I originally created the Slender Seven website with the hope of turning the brand into a lifestyle company. I had no idea I would end up creating a packaged food to be sold at Whole Foods! I am so thankful to have been able to turn my passions for health, wellness, cooking and entrepreneurship into a business that allows me to apply these passions each day. I remember one day during the summer after graduation I was riding in the car with my dad home from the beach and told him “I think I want to sell my chickpea cookie dough as a product.” So I created a business plan. And the rest is unfolding as I go!

Spoon: What do you find to be the hardest part of being an entrepreneur in the food world?

NA: That there are a lot of people out there like me with amazingly unique products, all competing for shelf space! Brand awareness is key! Especially with a fresh, refrigerated product that is not easy to ship.

Spoon: How did you transform your cookie dough from a recipe into an actual product that is sold in stores and shipped nationwide? 

NA: The process was actually fairly simple, aside from tweaking the recipe a bit I had to send the finished product to a lab to get tested for shelf life and nutrition, plus become certified to handle food properly. Other than that, the biggest step was joining Union Kitchen, a FDA-licensed food incubator in downtown Washington, D.C. that enabled me to make the product official, and retail-ready. 

Spoon: In the future, how do you see yourself expanding your business? Do you plan to open a store, create more flavors, get your products into specific supermarkets nationwide? 

NA: The game plan for now (but constantly changing) is to introduce more flavors of cookie dough and expand to be a nationally distributed brand. I am going after natural and organic stores (such as Whole Foods), but also coffee shops, universities and juice/smoothie bars because our 3-oz portion cups have proven to do quite well in these types of spots. I would love to introduce more products down the line, as well. 

Spoon: How did you transform Slender Seven into P.S. Snacks? 

NA: This has been the most challenging task to date. When the cookie dough was branded with the Slender Seven grapefruit logo, I started noticing that people loved the product when they tried it, but the packaging and messaging was very unclear. And trying to tie the products into the online cookbook was becoming a major challenge for me. So I decided to focus the branding on these “clean-conscience” consumer packaged goods, severing ties with the Slender Seven online cookbook. I worked with the Homestead creative agency to bring my ideas to life through the re-brand. It took forever for me to come up with a name (I was trying too hard to be punny) but ultimately fell in love with the whole idea of “P.S.” – by the way, this stuff is ACTUALLY good for you. Because that was always my major selling point. The new branding and packaging has done wonders for the brand.

Spoon: Have your parents and friends been supportive of you throughout the entire entrepreneurial process?

NA: I have the best family and friends in the world, I don’t think I would have made it this far without them. I would like to think this is a family business – my mom is my role model and go-to for finance and negotiations, my dad is my sounding board and gives me the best constructive feedback, and my sister is my sales & PR guru, and has made some great introductions that have been hugely impactful for the business ( for example). My friends have also gone above and beyond to make this a successful endeavor, through their continuous support, modeling skills, willingness to blend hundreds of pounds of cookie dough, and word of mouth advertising. Launching the product in Washington, D.C. was quite ideal coming straight out of college, as I have my parents, best friends and “co-workers” (shoutout to Swizzler) right by my side. They keep me going!

My Thoughts

Azzara was nice enough to send me samples of her product, and I was blown away. As of right now, P.S. Snacks makes three flavors: Chocolate Chip, Peanut Butter, and Fudge Brownie. Though they were all incredible, I am a peanut butter fiend and fell in love with the Peanut Butter cookie dough. 

For those skeptical of the product, I can genuinely say this cookie dough is incredible. The texture of P.S. Snacks is definitely a little different than the full fat, sugary version of cookie dough, but it is barely noticeable and doesn't change the fact that I love this product. 

wine, coffee, beer
Lindsay Paulen

P.S. Snacks comes in both 12 oz and 3 oz containers and is now available for shipping on, but for those in the D.C. area, P.S. Snacks can be found in stores. P.S. Snacks's website also has an amazing array of recipes that all incorporate their cookie dough. Personally, I cannot wait to make these

Even if you aren't super health conscious, P.S. Snacks Cookie Dough is so good and a way better alternative for when you're craving cookie dough or just something sweet.