HAMDEN, CT (WFSB) -- The pandemic has taken a big toll on small businesses, which is why the 20 Towns in 20 Days tour is checking out local businesses in all of the communities it stops in.

On Thursday, the 20 Towns tour in Hamden stopped at Moon Rocks Gourmet Cookies.

Back in the 1970s, a mother and daughter spent time in the kitchen, baking cookies.

That mom went to culinary school and created a cookie recipe unlike any other.

"I couldn't find the consistency that I wanted and the strong flavor. I always thought that cookies were just sugary. And I liked them, but I always felt like they needed something. First of all, I wanted them to be cakey, I didn't want them to be crispy and flat, I wanted them to be like little cakes,” said Cynthia Rae, of Moon Rocks Gourmet Cookies & Gift Baskets.

Cynthia created her signature cookie, the maple chocolate chip with walnuts.

She then took the nuts out for her daughter, Marni.

“Literally I’ve been hearing my entire life, you have to do something with these cookies,” said Marni Esposito.

The pair finally decided, at ages 50 and 75, to open a business selling Cynthia’s famous cookies.

"Because the cookies were lumpy, they had so many chips in them that they looked lumpy, and our slogan was that they're out of this world, so we came up with moon rocks,” Cynthia explained.

Moon rocks stuck, but Marni realized she needed her mom to develop more recipes.

"She looked at me and she said, I’ve been waiting my whole life for somebody to ask me that question. I don't know, but I’m going to try. And boy has she tried. We have over 120 recipes now, so she's amazing,” Marni said.

Cynthia's culinary gift has allowed her to create all-natural, low-sugar, high-flavor recipes.

They say besides the distinctive shape of the cookies, that's what they're known for.

Moon Rocks have been named best cookies in Connecticut by Yelp, and they've had Moon Rocks land in all 50 states, in part, thanks to the popularity of their gift baskets.

"We're primarily a gift basket company. We ship anywhere in the U.S., so for us to be able to deliver a little happiness when someone's having a hard time or be part of a celebration, it's so special, it's an honor for us to be able to share our cookies and be part of someone's life,” Marni said.

They also say if you can't get to them, they can come to you. With the addition of a cookie truck, they do events, which are starting to pick back up again.

But they couldn't do any of it without each other.

"It's amazing. We have such a good time. We're family run, our baker is like family. And everybody that's here is part of the moon rocks family and so we have a lot of fun,” Marni said.

"It's my dream come true. My daughter made my dream come true,” Cynthia added.

Copyright 2021 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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