1. What inspires you to come up with new designs?
Usually my cookie decorating ideas are inspired by the interests of the person I'm making them for. I also get ideas from pop culture, fabric and greeting card designs and bridal magazines and websites. The vintage aesthetic of my website and graphics is inspired by my collection of vintage cookbooks.
2. How long have you been baking?
I've been baking for as long as I can remember. My mom was very relaxed about letting me play in the kitchen. I made so many gigantic messes! My dad was a high school art teacher so I spent a lot of evenings hanging out in the art room, playing with clay or drawing pictures.
3. Where do you do your work? Do you have a dedicated area of your home, or?
Right now I work in my home kitchen but Nebraska laws don't allow bakers to sell food baked in their home kitchen. You have to have a separate kitchen just for your business with all kinds of very special requirements. So, last summer we bought a cute little old duplex. We're renting it out right now but hopefully in a year or so, I'll be able to make some modifications to the kitchen and have it licensed.
4. Tell us about a goal you have for your business
So, my goal is to get the kitchen in the duplex licensed and sell enough cookies (locally and online) to quit my day job. Eventually I'd like to combine my baking skills with my experience as a graphic artist to create coordinating invitations,cookies,favors etc. - small dessert table design or "event design" I guess.
5. What is your favorite album?
I love listening to music while I bake but it's really hard to pick a favorite album! I love mellow folksy rock from the '60s - Simon & Garfunkel's Greatest Hits maybe?
6. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
In five years I see myself working from sun up until sun down baking & decorating cookies, designing dessert tables, ordering supplies and all the other things that go into running a business. If I manage to get my baking business off the ground, I know I'll be super busy just trying to keep it going. If in five years I can support my family and myself while doing something I really love - I'll will be very happy!
7. What is your favorite thing to do on a weekend?
Other than baking... my favorite thing to do on a weekend is to go "junking" with my best friend. We get up super early, get some coffee and some "junk" food, and then drive to some of the little towns in our area looking for good vintage "junk".
8. Tell us about a new skill you'd like to learn
There are tons of new things I'd like to learn. The more I learn about cake/cookie decorating, the more I realize how much I don't know! And, just when I start to feel like I'm a pretty awesome cookie decorator - I look at some photos that other bakers have posted online and I'm very very humbled by their talent! But that's usually what inspires me to learn some knew technique or to work on sharpening my piping skills.
Chocolate Refrigerator Cookies:
1 cup shortening
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 squares unsweetened chocolate
2 3/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp. soda
1 tsp. salt
Mix shortening, sugars, eggs, vanilla and chocolate thouroughly. Blend dry ingredients together; mix into shortening mixture. Mix thoroughly. Press and mold into a long, smooth roll about 2 1/2" in diameter. Wrap in waxed paper; chill several hours or overnight.
Heat oven to 400º. Cut in thin slices (1/8"). Place a little apart on ungreased baking sheet. Bake 6 to 8 minutes.
Cut heart shapes from paper to make stencils (or use store bought stencils). Set the stencil on the cookie and lightly sift powdered sugar over the cookie.
Sugar and Meringue