Who doesn’t love black and white cookies – those cake-bottomed confections iced with chocolate on one side and vanilla on the other? Yummy as they are, these delicacies, also known as New York cookies, are not exactly diet-friendly. Now, fourteen year-old Virginia native Khaled Khalifa has found a way to improve on this northern treat. By substituting honey for sugar and using only natural ingredients in a recipe of his own devising, Khaled has successfully knocked down the calorie count from 320 to 109 without sacrificing flavor.
“I wanted to help my friends and neighbors enjoy a delicious snacking alternative without having to feel guilty or gaining weight. I myself suffer from being overweight, because of the wrong eating habits and the lack of healthy food in my diet,” says Khaled. “My main goal is to help my community avoid suffering from the problem I suffered from.”
In only six months, Khaled’s cookies have become so popular that he has had to enlist friends and his extremely supportive family to help bake and pack his product. He sells his Delicious New York honey-made cookies online, in school, and around the neighborhood. Most surprising to Khaled is the number of large orders he has been receiving. With one middle school requesting 1,000 cookies for Valentine’s Day, and a prominent local theater company contracted to sell his wares this fall, Khaled realizes the time to hire employees is fast approaching.
Khaled, who speaks English, Arabic, French and German, hopes to study business and law at Harvard and ultimately establish Delicious New York as an international brand. He credits NFTE with making these dreams seem attainable. As he puts it, “Starting my own business at the age of fourteen is something that I will be always proud of. It helped me improve my communication skills. It gave me the confidence that I needed. It made me feel more responsible. It has given me opportunities that I have always dreamt of – I learned how to be an entrepreneur.”
“Have confidence in yourself and believe in yourself, because if you do that, you can accomplish whatever you want to do.”