A Sweet Ride
Tami Cromar, owner of the gourmet cookie bakery, RubySnap, is an avid cyclist. She keeps “baker’s hours” which often means she has to get up well before the sun to have time for a good ride on her road bike. Early on she learned that her talent was endurance; she loves the long rides. “I have to ride at least 200 miles,” she says, “before I really feel like I’ve done the equivalent of a runner’s marathon.”
From outside the bakery, you can smell the aroma of freshly baked cookies. The RubySnap ’s red door opens and you’re in a pleasant shop with a few vintage touches splashed with bright red and white. The walls show off posters of old-fashioned pin-up girls, evocative of classic all-American, girl-next-door beauty. RubySnap’s cookies range from the classics to the gourmet, and each type has been given names of women that owner Tami Cromar admires and loves: daughters, mother, friends, and customers. It becomes a true honor to have a cookie named for you.
The bakery shelves are beautifully filled with trays of some of the best cookies you’ll ever eat. There are classic favorite cookies, baked to a pinnacle of perfection, such as the “Penelope,” a thick and soft peanut-butter cookie dipped in chocolate, and the Virginia, a chewy, molasses-ginger cookies sparkling with turbinado sugar. Still other cookies show off Tami’s whimsical culinary imagination such as the chocolate-cinnamon cookies with a molten milk chocolate mint center, or citrus cookies full of mangos and dark chocolate and the popular Lily, a lemon sugar cookie with lemonheads and lemon frosting.
Tami Cromar’s Salt Lake City bakery received national attention when it opened under the name of “My Dough Girl” and the powerful General Mills, owner of Pillsbury, went after the little bakery with a “cease and desist” order, saying that its name was too similar to its iconic Dough Boy character, and represented a trademark infringement. Although Tami had supporters who felt she should continue the David vs. Goliath battle over principle, Tami decided she’d rather be in her beloved bakery, than in court. The bakery’s new name became RubySnap and the cookies are just as delicious as ever. She is free to continue to bake cookies that Pillsbury could even never dream of, such as the delicious Evia cookies, made of vanilla bean dough and featuring a marzipan center and pears, bedecked with pine nuts.
What her customers might not know, is that Tami has been an avid cyclist since 2004 and regularly gets up at 5am to ride or workout. For Tami, a workout can mean weight workouts or swimming, especially in the winter. Bikram Yoga is another favorite because she feels it helps her to stay flexible (“in case I crash”) and be less prone to injury. “But mostly,” she says, “I like to cycle.”
Off before the sun is up, with lights to help her see her way and reflective clothing so others can see her, she rides up various canyon roads near her home. There are very few cars or even other cyclists out at that time, but she does have to watch out for the deer: “They are territorial. Once I had to turn around and just go back down the hill because I felt threatened by a deer. He didn’t like me going in his path.”
Tami finds a lot of joy with her business, but it does add a special challenge to working out and spending time with her family: “The business just wants to hog all my time yet I also try to find time for my family. It just means being methodical and disciplined in everything I do. It means: wake up, work out, then go to work and be productive so you can get home and have time for your family. When I go home, I check my telephone at the door and I try to just turn the whole day off and give my time to my family. It doesn’t always work out, but that’s the goal.”
How the Bike Love Began
Years ago, a group of women were running by her house when Tami stopped them and asked what they were up to. They told her they were training for Southern Idaho’s Spudman Triathlon and asked if she wanted to come. Although she had little idea of what she was getting into, she found herself the very next week competing in the Olympic-distance triathlon.
“I rented a bike and I went to the triathlon and I blew through it and I felt like a superhero. I had been riding my mountain bike up Millcreek Canyon, thinking I didn’t know how to cycle because it was really hard. I rode a heavy 18-year old mountain bike, so when I rode on the rented road bike, I just flew through the triathlon. It was really exciting and I was hooked. That’s when I decided that I was in love with the cycling portion of the triathlon!”
The next spring she registered for a century ride, the famous Little Red Riding Hood Ride. It was a big goal, but she decided to go easy on herself. As she told us, “I just gave myself permission to drop out and I thought if I only make it 30 miles, that’s fine. At least I got there and tried. But instead I got through the whole 100 miles in 7 hours. I was just hooked every since. That’s how I discovered what my talent was in sports, because I just have legs that are really strong.”
If the RubySnap cookies are making your mouth water, know that these delicious cookies can be ordered online and some are available at select Whole Foods grocery stores.