Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Photo cookies

Today I am working on photo cookies. It's interesting that they seem to come in waves. Then I have to gently gnudge the printer and tell it to stop sleeping, it's time for work!

Many people ask about how the photo processing is done. They can't quite imagine it, but it's really quite simple. It's a regular Canon 5-cartridge inkjet printer, but the cartridges have food coloring in them instead of regular ink. Then sheets of this paper-thin edible stuff (it smells sort of like marshmallows when the package is opened), are run through the printer. Some of the sheets come with templates of circles or hearts already, and there's a program that works with those templates. The icing sheets most often used are the 1/4 sheets, however. I'm skilled in Adobe Illustrator, and I use that to layout the images as needed. If you still want to believe the process is magic, however, I won't argue with you!

Many people also don't understand that even printed text is considered a photo cookie because it's done with the printer.

The time of year, of course, people are very interested in photo hearts. We don't just put the photo on the cookie, however. Each cookie always has some sort of hand-decorated design to it, even if it's just a decorative border. We also use pearl dragees and colored sugars, nonpareils, and jimmies.

No matter the cookie, Signature Sweet Shoppe makes them delicious!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

English Toffee

Hello candy lovers everywhere!

Recently a client ordered some English Toffee from me to give away as a gift. The person she gave it to, however, was extremely allergic to gluten in any form or fashion, and I began to receive a flurry of emails about whether or not there was any gluten in my English Toffee. I told her what the ingredients were, which included no gluten products. Then she threw a new twist on the matter asking if the chocolate chips I used were dusted with flour in the manufacturing plant to keep them from sticking together. She named a famous brand which she claimed did such a practice, and I don't use that particular brand and wouldn't have been the wiser anyhow. I still have to research that more. Nevertheless, I called the manufacturer of the chocolate that I buy and was told that they absolutely do not dust their chips and their chips are completely gluten-free. So, in case any of you might be worried about such a thing, my English Toffee is gluten-free. The only caveat to that is, however, that it is not made in a gluten-free environment. Just as I let people know that certain cookies do not contain nuts or nut extracts, I still make it clear that the cookies are made in an environment where nuts are sometimes also processed.

Keeping our clients informed is just one of the steps we take here at Signature Sweet Shoppe to ensure you have a scrumptious experience!

All the best,


Saturday, January 27, 2007

some new cookies

I just made some cookies for one of my clients, Delicate Details, which is an Event Planning company that specializes in weddings. The client had two requests: a fancy font and the colors should be pink and brown. As it turned out, I had the exact font to match the ones on her business card, a font called "Edwardian." Very nice and scripty. But this is what my cookies are all about - hand decorated and custom personalized to what the client needs. I do all the work myself, and I enjoy it.

Up next is a bunch of heart cookies on a stick for a client who is a regular, monthly client. She always puts a basket of thematic cookies out in her lobby, so it's getting close to Valentines Day, and I'll do a batch for her for Monday and another batch in a week or so. I've got her set on my schedule for the next few months.

So, cookies anyone?

Friday, January 26, 2007

An Introduction

I grew up baking cookies for my family but never really thought about it as a career. Even now I sometimes don't think of it as a career but just as that thing I do that pays the bills! Nevertheless, it is something that I enjoy and somehow also am somewhat good at!

I created the name, Signature Sweet Shoppe, because I had this idea to make customized cookies of corporate logos - and my first byline was, "your logo, our sweets," but that seemed too long. So I just changed the byline to "Custom Cookies," which is what they all are. My clients tell me how they want them decorated, and I make it happen. Are any two orders alike? Yes. One person orders pink baby dresses and so does another. But it's so nice when the client says to me that I have carte blanche to decorate the cookies, and then I can just see each one as a little blank canvas.

I didn't take courses in cookie decorating. I'm of the "monkey see, monkey do" school of learning, and through trial and error taught myself about working with royal icing and piping bags. I thought I'd never feel comfortable piping, and now I don't give it a second thought. It also took me a while to tinker with a sugar cookie recipe that was sturdy enough to be shipped, certainly not like those flimsy things you buy in the supermarket which are too delicate and filled with who knows what preservatives to keep them "fresh" on the shelves. My cookies are sturdy enough to be "dunkers," and I encourage people to dunk them in their tea, coffee or even hot chocolate. My cookies can take it!