Cookies are not just for kids.  And 'cookies for adults' doesn't mean anything nefarious. Jonny Boy Cookies in Statesboro features Southern-inspired cookies that will tantalize your taste buds. From classic flavors like Chocolate Chip and Oatmeal Butterscotch to unique flavors like Chicken & Waffles and Banana Puddin'.

Jonny Boy Cookies


Jonny Womack: A cookie for grown-ups.

Hannah Womack: Which was so confusing for like, everyone, they're just like.

Jonny Womack: They thought it had alcohol or weed in it or something like that. And I'm just like, "It's the flavors."

David Zelski: One of the best things about being a grown-up is being allowed to have a cookie whenever you want. In Statesboro, Ga., Jonny Boy Cookies uses inventive recipes to push the limits of milk's sweetest companion.

Theme Song: I came from the mud, there's dirt on my hands. Strong like a tree, there's roots where I stand.

David Zelski:  I'm David Zelski, and this is the Fork in the Road podcast presented by Georgia Grown and the fine folks at Georgia Public Broadcasting. Each episode, we feature stories from Georgia's farmers, fishermen, merchants, artisans, chefs and others who help provide Georgia Grown products to folks in the Peach State and beyond. Today, we're headed to the home of Georgia Southern University, Statesboro. This is where we'll visit Jonny Boy Cookies. It's a family-owned cookie shop that specializes in unique flavors inspired by Southern cuisine. Jon and Hannah Womack are the owners, but when it comes to titles, they like to keep it informal.

Jonny Womack: I guess I'm technically the founder. I'm Jonny. I'm Jonny Boy of Jonny Boy Cookies. I don't know. I don't really think of myself as a CEO. I think of myself as a — I really don't even call myself anything. I just like having fun in the kitchen.

Hannah Womack: I'm just kind of Jonny's right hand. I just help out with kind of more the back end with the office and managing the social media websites, stuff like that. All the fun accounting stuff.

Jonny Womack: I mean you do all the finance stuff.

Hannah Womack: We're the — we're the owners. That's what we are. We own the company. Yeah, that's what it is. We don't know. We're not real fancy.

David Zelski: At Jonny Boy Cookies, they don't just stop at the usual cookie flavors. Besides, classics like chocolate chip and snickerdoodle, they also offer other varieties that are sure to turn heads, with seasonal flavors rotating each month. Banana pudding, oatmeal butterscotch, chicken and waffles. Those are just some of the flavors offered by Jonny Boy Cookies that show this company is as adventurous as they are dedicated.

Jonny Womack: One of the things that makes it really different, I would say, is the fact that we try to balance the flavors. So we just transitioned to Jonny Boy Cookies. We used to be Big Boy, and the thing behind that was "a cookie for grown-ups."

Hannah Womack: Which was so confusing for like everyone, they're just like —

Jonny Womack: They thought it had alcohol or weed in it or something like that.

Hannah Womack: Yeah.

Jonny Womack: It's like it's the flavors. It's the flavor profile. So then on the back of the shirts, we put "your tongue will explain." And that threw people, too.

Hannah Womack: It was confusing for people, but the whole concept was everyone loves cookies, yes. But, like, you know, you think about a kid eating a cookie, they'll eat anything that has sugar in it and they'll like it. So we wanted to make something that kind of had like — like a layer of flavors.

Jonny Womack: Making a cookie for an adult palate that did an adult can walk in there like, "I don't really like sweets." And I'm like, "okay, cool. Would you be willing to try a cookie? Because, like, we've got a jalapeño corn cookie." I try to base a lot of my stuff on Southern traditions, how I grew up eating.

Hannah Womack: Southern desserts.

Jonny Womack: So my mom always made cornbread. She always did jalopeno cornbread like in a skillet, which to this day, favorite cornbread ever. Thick, fluffy cornbread in a skillet is just, mmmm.

David Zelski: Jonny Boy Cookies had its inception back when Jonny was in a completely different line of work.

Jonny Womack: I was a drug rep at that point where I would go to doctors' offices and I had worked in a doctor's office, too. One of my cousins is a nurse practitioner. So I worked with him some. So I kind of got the feel and the lingo for drug reps and stuff like that, how to approach an office, what to do that's aggravating from their side, you know, from the office side of things. So I just tried to be real easygoing whenever it came to going to my offices and clients and stuff. And I would do lunches for them. And whenever I first started, I wasn't making cookies, so I was like paying 50 bucks for lunch for dessert, you know? Anyway, I was like, "Well, this dessert isn't really that good anyway, so why don't I just try to make something fresh?"

David Zelski: And cookie baking came naturally to Jonny. He discovered his gift in high school.

Jonny Womack: Whenever I was in high school, I had made some cookies and people really liked them, and I never really thought anything else about it. I was just like, "okay, cool, I make good cookies." So I pretty much just made like the Toll House recipe on the bag, but I just tweaked it a little bit and everybody's like, "what did you do to this?" And I was like, "I can't tell you."

David Zelski: Jonny Boy's magical cookie skills remained with him even as he entered his adult career until one fateful day changed everything.

Jonny Womack: I was doing a lunch in Savannah. The way I had to set it up there was like 50 people in the office and there was like 10 doctors. So I had to, like, basically pitch the same thing five times because they would come in like two at a time. And I was like, "Hey, you guys, come on in. I got you some Chick fil A, And I made dessert. I made some caramel apple cookies and there's some chocolate chip in there. So y'all just come on and let's go over everything." And I'm out there giving my little spiel, and I remember, like, one of the doctors like "Whoa, whoa, whoa." He took, like, one bite of the cookie and he's "You made this?" I was like, "Yes, sir." He said, "Well, I don't know what you're selling now, but you need to you need to really start look at it selling these." And I was like, "okay, thanks for the advice." So anyway, I did think about it.

David Zelski: And Jonny credits a famous TV chef with some further inspiration.

Jonny Womack: I had read this of an article from Cook's Illustrated. Chris Kimball had did the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe, and I was so blown away that he made — I mean, he made I know it was over 100 recipes just trying to make chocolate chip. He did some with all egg whites, all egg yolks, using canola oil, using baking powder, using cornstarch, using this, using the — using all these different things to try to get what he considered to be the perfect chocolate chip cookie, which is a crispy exterior, a gooey center, and just like the perfect crunch.

David Zelski: In the wee hours of the morning. Jonny got to work experimenting with and perfecting different cookie recipes.

Jonny Womack: So I've always been kind of a night owl anyway, so I really enjoyed staying up and like just trying new recipes and stuff and kind of see what works, if you can tweak things. I would stay up all night listening to music or whatever, making cookies. And then about 3:00, I would take the cookies that I — like, all the dough that I had made, to scoop it — Well, actually, back then I used to put it all into parchment paper and roll it into a log and stick it in the freezer. And so as I was — through the night, I might make 5 or 6 batches of cookies and then just keep putting logs in the freezer. And then 3:00 or 4:00, the first log would pretty much be set. So I'd take that out and go back and cut it into into cookies and bake them. And by 6 or 7, I would be, have like maybe 3 to 5 dozen cookies baked.

David Zelski: With Jonny's nocturnal cookie adventures yielding far more cookies than he and Hannah could eat themselves, he began using old fashioned salesmanship to move the product. His professional background gave him a competitive edge.

Jonny Womack: Then I would take cookies out and sell them like just, go cold call like basically take all the stuff that I had learned from being a drug rep, like cold calling and just being willing to hear "no." That's one of the hardest things about out to outside sales is being willing to hear a "no" and keeping a positive attitude and keep going. Yeah, I wasn't really planning on it being like a side hustle kind of thing. Like it was more just a hobby that was a lot of fun and I could make the money back that I spent on ingredients. And then once I realized, hey, you know, people really seem to like it. I started getting more phone calls about the cookies than I was about the drugs we were going to talk and trying to get the doctors to prescribe.

David Zelski: Never, never underestimate the power of a good cookie. What started as a delicious hobby soon grew into a full-time job when word spread about Jonny Boy's exceptional cookie abilities.

Jonny Womack: I was back in school to get my RN and I had three doctor's offices call me, each one of them. One of the first one wanted 25 dozen cookies. The second one wanted 30 dozen cookies. And then the one after that called me and they wanted, I think it was 30 or 32 dozen cookies.

Hannah Womack: It was around Christmastime.

Jonny Womack: Yeah, this was like November. They're like, "Hey, do you still make cookies?" and I went "yeah." "You think you can do 25 dozen?" "Yep. I mean, yeah, I can do that. No problem."

David Zelski: Before Jonny knew it, he had orders for 90 dozen cookies, and for three weeks, he worked around the clock filling the orders.

Jonny Womack: We had one oven at the house.

Hannah Womack: We had just moved to Statesboro at that time. Yeah, we had one, like, regular conventional oven.

Jonny Womack: I had my KitchenAid mixer. I got my mom's that was still in the box. And my sister in law's that was still in the box. That was the winter of 2015. We got everything delivered, got all the cookies made did everything that we needed to. Learned a lot about high-volume delivery, how the cookies sit and all that kind of stuff.

David Zelski: After successfully filling their first high-volume orders, Jonny and Hannah started strategizing about ways to further grow their cookie business. Their first move: putting the business on wheels.

Jonny Womack: Food trucks. They I mean, they've always been around, but they kind of had a bad rap, which by 2016 they weren't that bad. But whatever. But anyway, we weighed out the pros and cons of getting a trailer versus getting a truck. But I knew I wanted to start with something mobile because my thought process was if I start here and it's just a dead market, nobody wants the cookies, we go to where people are and then we can sell cookies there. So you can kind of take your business where the people are kind of thing.

David Zelski: For Jonny and Hannah's purposes, they needed a special truck that's very hard to come by.

Jonny Womack: There's not that many cookie trucks or bakery trucks in general. Every food truck that's built right now pretty much has a fryer or it has a flat top in it or it has an oven. No refrigeration, inadequate power needs and stuff like that. So I was just like the used ones were about 20 and I was like let's see how much we get one built for. So I called the company down in Waycross. We went to the factory, toured it and everything, and talked to the guy on the phone. We did three different drafts of the design and by the end of February we had a custom-built to our spec cookie truck.

Hannah Womack: I think originally when we got it, it was more just to have a space, so a commercial kitchen that we could actually do this stuff in. And then once we got it is kind of when we started like, "Well, we've got this thing, this cookie wagon on wheels. We need to start hitting up these festivals and stuff."

David Zelski: So Jonny and Hannah hit the road, spreading their cookie gospel across Georgia and the Lowcountry Coast in their food trailer, the Cookie Wagon. As their cookies got more popular, they outgrew the space and started looking for a brick-and-mortar building to set up shop. One day while riding around Georgia, they came across the perfect space. And in 2017, Jonny Boy Cookies opened its first storefront location in Statesboro. Today, in addition to their original Cookie Wagon, Jonny and Hannah have a second food truck named Van Dough. They also have plans to open a second Jonny Boy Cookies location in Savannah. Jonny and Hannah really found their place in the cookie business. And for that, the whole cookie community is thankful. Okay, Where are we at now?

Producer Jeremy: We've said the word cookie 61 times so far.

David Zelski: Excellent. This is our best episode yet. All right, let's keep rolling. The cookies at Jonny Boy Cookies really push the boundaries of cookie innovation. The variety of cookie flavors they offer is unbelievable.

Jonny Womack: The white chocolate pumpkin snickerdoodle is kind of like a pumpkin roll, so you can kind of eat that.... Salted caramel brownie cookie. This is a double chocolate base with dark chocolate caramel and hazelnut. Banana pudding. Eat it on the go. You don't have to worry about slopping pudding on yourself. Caramel apple, cookie. So it's an oatmeal-based cookie with diced fuji apples and caramel bits. So this is just a semi-sweet basic chocolate chip cookie.

Hannah Womack: But it's not basic.

David Zelski: Jonny Boy cookies also make seasonal varieties that you'll need to grab quick while they're available. There's even one that's perfect for especially naughty kids.

Jonny Womack: So we made a lump of coal cookie last year at Christmas. And we're going to do it again. So we used activated charcoal, black food coloring, and then black sanding sugar. So whenever it bakes, whenever you eat it, like your mouth turns black, everything's black.

David Zelski: Their endless experimentation means they've got a cookie for every season.

Jonny Womack: Next summer, we'll probably do a strawberry lemonade cookie so we can do like, that good strawberry base and then do a lemon glaze. So we right now we have a lemon poppy seed cookie that is like my grandmother's pound cake. So it's it's like a really dense, moist cookie with poppy seeds, lemon zest. It's got like cream cheese in it.

Hannah Womack: All the parts of the lemon.

Jonny Womack: Yeah. And then we do a lemon glaze on top of it.

David Zelski: Nothing like a warm cookie on a hot summer day or any day, really. I do enjoy cookies. Back in the food trailer, Jonny Boy showed me how their state-of-the-art equipment allows them to make large batches of cookies quickly.

Jonny Womack:  Your dough goes in up here. And this turns and pushes the dough out the bottom. There's a little wire that comes up and it comes across the bottom of this. So we have dies that go in here. So you place the die here. So whenever your cookies are pushed out the bottom, this wire will come across and cut it. And so you can do very high volumes of cookies in not very much time.

David Zelski: Jonny Boys Cookies is constantly updating their cookie schedule. They offer up to six different varieties a day. Jonny is a self-taught cookie baker and when he creates his product, he uses the methods that work best for him.

Jonny Womack: And I've had people that have went to culinary school. They were like, "Why do you do that? Like, why are you making it like that?" I was like, "I'm making it how I know how to make it. So if I made it how you'd make it my cookies wouldn't be what they are." So I don't get too caught up in most things.

David Zelski: Jonny Boy may not be classically trained in cuisine, but the results speak for themselves. It's the knowledge he's picked up along the way, plus his attention to detail that makes such a quality product.

Jonny Womack: I always do both sugars together. We use a granulated sugar and a brown sugar base. Because brown sugar is hydroscopic, so it loves water. So it pulls water to it. So if you want a cookie to be more chewy and dense then you just make it with more brown sugar and it will pull in the surrounding moisture.

David Zelski: The process for making these cookies has many delicate steps. Jonny Boy cookies has it down to a science. Jonny showed me the whole thing and we'll skip through that a bit so as not to give away their secrets.

Jonny Womack: So first thing you want to do? Well, actually, the first thing, we'll go ahead and add our butter.... For about 10 minutes...... Like a dozen eggs...... I do have both my kidneys like what do you want? ....... I kind of clean as I go makes things a little bit easier....... When you start working the gluten in the flour...... Game changer...... So that's pretty much it.

David Zelski: Now, that's what I call expert cookie creation. Okay. How many times is that now?

Producer Jeremy: 101.

David Zelski: All right. We did it. Boom. I said cookie twice in a row once. That did it. Jonny Boy Cookies is an old fashioned cookie shop that's always thinking outside the jar. Give them a visit. And you can also order any time on their website. Trust me, you won't regret it. 

For more stories like this one, you can watch A Fork in the Road on GPB-TV or any time on the website. is where you can listen to and subscribe to this p odcast or download it on your favorite podcast platform.

I'm David Zelski. Thanks for listening to A Fork in the Road.

The A Fork in the Road TV show airs Saturdays at noon and Sundays at 6:30 a.m. on GPB-TV. Check your local listings for other replays throughout the week and watch all episodes anytime at  Please download and subscribe to the Fork in the Road podcast at or on your favorite podcast platform as well. 


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