Here’s one to check off the bucket list: Baking cookies for global icon Michelle Yeoh.
That was the opportunity that presented itself last month to Oakland’s Annie Wang, of the vegan home bakery Annie’s T Cakes, when Yeoh was in San Francisco for a pre-screening of Everything Everywhere All at Once. The film stars Yeoh as Evelyn Wu, a beleaguered immigrant laundromat owner given the unlikely task of saving every universe in the multiverse.
If you’ve seen the film, you might recall the appearance of a smiley-faced almond cookie in an early scene—a gift for a cranky IRS inspector (played by Jamie Lee Curtis), whose audit of the Wu family business propels the story into its two-and-a-half-hour-long, action-packed, multiverse-spanning frenzy. “These are delicious,” Curtis’ character says of the cookie, which—very slight spoiler alert—then plays a role in one of the protagonist’s martial arts training arcs.
A few weeks ago, the production company A24 reached out to Wang about creating a local version of the cookie to distribute to guests at the Castro Theatre premiere. As it turns out, Wang had already been tinkering with an almond cookie recipe for several months. “I think I had 21 different iterations,” Wang says. In the span of the one week she had to prepare for the event, she turned out what she believed to be the best version yet—a cookie that captured the buttery flavor that she associated with the Chinese almond cookies she grew up eating, but with a chewier, more pleasant texture than the store-bought. Like all of the baked treats at Annie’s T Cakes, the cookie is 100% vegan.
If the film made you hungry to try a localized version of the almond cookie for yourself, Annie’s is selling them as a limited-edition item through the end of April.
And yes, Wang says, having the opportunity to meet Yeoh in person at the reception for the premiere was as dreamy as she imagined it would be. The Malaysian-born actress bonded with Wang over their mutual love of Taiwanese pineapple cakes and expressed admiration for the way her almond cookie looked—a near-exact replica of the one in the film. And the cookies themselves were a hit: By the end of the night, all 850 that Wang had baked for the event had been eaten.
The 'Everything Everywhere All at Once'–inspired almond cookies are available via the Annie’s T Cakes website for $5 each or $27 for a half dozen, through the end of April. They ship anywhere in California, and they’re also available for pickup in Oakland.