Her KC cookie business went viral. Now she’s opening a shop in Johnson County

Christina Jokerst remembers the turning point for her budding business.

She started selling her chewy 6-ounce cookies online and at local markets in 2020.

But a surge of interest didn’t come until 2021. That’s when Audrey Schoenekase, a local influencer nicknamed “Kale Kouture,” had a taste. She was, as Schoenekase put it, “obsessed.”

So obsessed she had to share the awe-inspiring cookies with her mass of followers. (Today she has 117,000 on Instagram.)

“The next thing I know, we were just selling out every day,” Jokerst said. “Constantly, week after week. I couldn’t make enough to keep up with the demand.”

Now Jokerst’s business KCookies (@kcookiecompany on Instagram) is about to open its first store in Olathe at 1239 Harold St. The shop’s grand opening is 11 a.m. Dec 9.

News of Jokerst’s store has sent social media abuzz.

“I’m going to weigh 40,000 pounds now that I’ll have immediate access to your cookies!!! Congrats,” wrote one commenter on Jokerst’s announcement post on Instagram.

“I got my family in KC hooked on your stuff,” wrote another.

Jokerst has created dozens of flavors, keeping 12 to 14 consistent kinds in her roster and swapping out seasonal flavors.

Some of her customers’ favorites: the duke (chocolate and walnut), lemon bar, St. Louis gooey butter cake, and of course, the classic chocolate chip.

“We do a lot of unique flavors,” Jokerst said.

Christina Jokerst owns KCookies, opening in Olathe on Dec. 9. Christina Jokerst
Christina Jokerst owns KCookies, opening in Olathe on Dec. 9. Christina Jokerst

Perhaps Jokerst was destined to be a baker. It’s in her blood, at least. Her grandmother owned a small bakery in Grand Island, Nebraska, where she made tiered cakes, fluffy bread and kolaches. Jokerst spent her summers with her, amid the aroma of dough browning in the oven.

She grew up and began baking for friends and family, herself. Then, while on a trip to New York with her husband, Jokerst tried a cookie from the hugely popular Levain Bakery.

One treat changed the course of Jokerst’s life. It was unlike anything she’d ever tasted — crispy on the outside and perfectly moist in the center.

Her search to find something similar in Kansas City turned up empty. So she started trying recipes herself, mixing in premium European butter, Belgian chocolate, looking for other fine ingredients.

“I started on this two year journey of perfecting this chocolate chip cookie that I would give away to people,” she said.

Eventually, she was happy with what she’d created. She began offering them to loved ones, who recommended them to others. Hype surrounding the legendary cookies snowballed.

And then came the magic post from Schoenekase.

After sharing Jokerst’s cookies with her followers, many of whom are local, Schoenekase said she and her husband agreed to have cookies instead of cake at their wedding.

“I don’t think most people think about, ‘We don’t have to do cake, we can do other things,’” Schoenekase said.

The cookie wedding posts created even more publicity for Jokerst. Now, she does about five or six weddings per month.

Jokerst and Schoenekase even collaborated on a special flavor — puppy chow— in honor of Schoenekase’s dog, Poppy. And, of course, Schoenekase plans to visit the new store often.

“From the very beginning, I’ve always said … ‘You have to open a store,’” Schoenekase said. “I am just so, so thrilled for her.”

KCookies will be open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Fridays, and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturdays.

Jokerst continues to offer pickup orders on her website, kccookie.com.