The Heart of the Batter: Outliers Baked Goods serves up cookies for all the weirdoughs out there

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Courtesy Outliers Baked Goods

Ask someone to name their favorite type of cookie, and you’ll most likely hear some pretty standard responses: chocolate chip, snickerdoodle, etc. Ask Tierney Larson, owner and lead baker for Outliers Baked Goods, and you’ll find her tastes tend to lean a bit more toward esoteric ingredients.

“I’ve always loved cooking and baking,” Larson says. “My great-grandmother owned an Italian restaurant, and I remember trying to replicate her desserts in my family’s home kitchen. Last year, I took an online class that really changed my perspective on cooking, and that’s what spurred me to take things to the next level by starting my own business.”

That class was an online baking course hosted by Christina Tosi, who owns and develops the menu for the world-famous Milk Bar. “It sounds cheesy, but it was a really inspirational moment,” Larson says. “Hearing her talk about her passion for and approach to developing recipes really opened my eyes. It was sort of a light-bulb moment for me—it made me step back and say, ‘I can do this.’”

Taking that class taught Larson to trust her instinct and not be afraid to try more experimental ingredients. She started thinking of how she might transform this inspiration into a career.

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Courtesy Outliers Baked Goods

This was easier said than done. Larson and her husband had just started their family in New York City, and the cost and risk of a new, unproven business venture didn’t add up. They started the hunt for a new home with a lower cost of living, and her husband—a jazz musician—had a few Kansas City connections that encouraged him to check the city out.

“He traveled here and met his dad to check out a few houses, and I held down the fort in New York,” Larson says. “He loved the city and was holding up his phone as he toured homes and walked around. It was a big leap, but we decided to go for it!”

Soon after moving to KC, Larson really began to put in the time for what would become Outliers Baked Goods, her first foray into professional baking. Her elevator pitch might say it’s the celebration of dessert lovers who enjoy salty or savory flavors as their end-of-meal indulgence—people they affectionately refer to as the “weirdoughs.” 

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Courtesy Outliers Baked Goods

She explains that the breakthrough moment came from her class with Christina Tosi. “Tosi described that she approaches recipes by trying to capture memories and feelings with her desserts. So I started thinking of some of my favorite memories growing up—many of which are food-related—and how to fully recreate that moment within the flavors of my cookies,” says Larson.

Though Outliers rotates cookies within their monthly subscription box, a few of Larson’s most successful recipes are always available to order separately.

The Shannon Cookie is one such option. Named for Larson’s sister, the flavors of this Japanese-inspired treat are based on a particularly indulgent meal that the sisters shared at Nobu in New York City. Featuring toasted brown rice flour, yuzu soy caramel, and puffed rice covered in milk powder and toasted, it has a “can’t stop eating” umami quality that makes it a particular fan favorite.

Another option always available is the Banana Pudding Graham Cookie, based on one of Larson’s favorite childhood desserts—a banana trifle. This goody boasts a homemade marshmallow sandwiched between two banana cookies topped with graham cracker crumbs and rolled in mini chocolate chips.

Besides the outside-the-box flavor combinations, Larson is also committed to using the highest-quality organic and natural ingredients. She also uses locally-made and sourced ingredients when possible—for example, she gets her flour from Marion Milling, headquartered in the West Bottoms.

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Courtesy Outliers Baked Goods

Each box contains a dozen cookies of four different varieties. They are available on the Outliers website and can also be purchased on Saturdays at the Overland Park Farmers’ Market. In addition, Larson offers a monthly “Weirdough Box” shipped anywhere in the country. 

Larson enjoys selling her desserts online but plans to one day open a brick-and-mortar location. “Maybe once the kids are in school,” she muses. 

You can find Outliers Baked Goods online and on Saturdays at the Overland Park Farmers’ Market, located at 7950 Marty, Overland Park, KS 66204.

Categories: Food & Drink