COSTA MESA — When Melissa Myers was out of work, she found her silver lining in the form of a metal baking sheet.
The Huntington Beach Marina High School alumna and former interior designer never planned on opening Three Hearts Bake Shop, an online cookie and pastry store, but now she finds herself baking 10 to 12 hours a night in a Costa Mesa commercial kitchen.
"If you told me a year ago that I would be doing this, I would have just laughed," Myers, 28, of Costa Mesa, said of the business she launched in February.
But, she couldn't be happier with her rising pastry business, she said.
"Baking was always a hobby for me," Myers said. "But the idea that I can do something I love and make a living, is such a shock to me."
Myers specializes in taking traditional favorites — say, a chocolate chip cookie — and remaking the recipe with high-quality and fresh ingredients.
She also gives cookies a decadent upgrade by sandwiching the treats with whipped peanut butter, chocolate ganache, Nutella, cream cheese or 16 other flavors.
In all, there are about 400 cookie sandwich combinations, according to threeheartsbakeshop.com.
While Three Hearts is online only, Meyers does catering and the cookie sandwiches are about $2 each at the Rumble Scheme kiosk in the Lab in Costa Mesa, and at Deli-Licious in Huntington Beach.
Deli-Licious owner Wende Adams was among the first to encourage Myers to open a bakery.
"[The] sandwich cookies are fabulous: freshly baked and stuffed with ooey gooey goodness," Adams said via email Monday. "Our favorite is the oatmeal peanut butter, but Mel is awesome, she will gladly let you make your own concoction. Deli-Licious is proud to carry her cookies."
While the cookie sandwiches are a top seller, Three Hearts also carries butter tarts, cookie truffle pops and other rotating seasonal items such as brown butter-glazed pumpkin bread — her mother's own recipe.
"There's no changing it — it's perfect already," Myers said.
The spiced dessert was a family tradition for Myers growing up and always reminds her of home, she said.
It's that feeling of comfort and nostalgia that she enjoys bringing to people with her baking business, she said.
"It's always fun to make someone's favorite item, even if I haven't made it before," Myers said. "It's something that makes them happy."