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A Day in the Life of a Cookie

I've had a lot of people inquire about getting custom cookies really quick and/or getting custom cookies really cheap. This intent of this post is to give you a glimpse of what a cookie goes through (or what I go through) to get ready for your special event or celebration.  

Pardon the pics as they were all taken with my trusty iphone while in the process.  I used an array of recent designs to demonstrate all of the steps. :)

It all starts with an idea or inspiration.  I was lucky enough to collaborate with a clever Mom and Grandma for a little girl's first birthday for the bubble cookies.  I told them that I would sketch something out for them to see and this is what I came up with. 

A lot of research goes into the design.  Some of the time I don't have a clue about the specific character that I am asked to make.  For example, I was asked to make Abby Cadabby cookies a while back and I said, "sure!" I then went straight to the computer to see who the heck Abby Cadabby was.  I have two boys who have never been into Sesame Street. :)

Needless to say, careful thought and planning go into each order.

Welcome to my Sunday, otherwise known as dough-day  I'm not going to lie, this part is NOT my favorite.  It could take a few hours to make all of the dough I need for a week.

The dough is divided up and chilled.

The dough needs to be chilled enough to be cut but soft enough to be rolled out.  Got it? :)
The bands on the side of my rolling pin help ensure that the dough is rolled out at an even thickness.  The ones pictured are called Evendough Bands and I picked them up at Sur La Table.  I don't remember what I did before I got these but I do remember that life was so much easier when I did.

After the cookies are cut, they go back into the fridge.  I like them to get nice and cold so that they maintain their shape while baking.  Then, it's off to the ovens! 

While the cookies are baking, I am making icing.  And then more icing.

I wish I had a pic of how the icing gets bagged.  This many colors can take some sweet time.  I usually have two bags per color; one for flooding and one for piping.  {I never say any curse words when I have to make cookies with 10 different colors}. ha! ;)

Now for the part that I LOVE!  Seriously, I love decorating these little guys.  For these particular chevron cookies, I took some direction from Callye of Sweet Sugarbelle.  I made a chevron template out of cardstock and poked tiny holes in the cookie with a toothpick to make the pattern. Then I did a dot-to-dot with my piping icing.  {I am only a little anal.} 

This is where the cookies get "flooded." A thinner icing is used here to flood the cookie.  I wanted the apples to be two different colors so I waited until the white was dry before adding the second color.  I occasionally have to wait until the next day before I can add the second color.

Decorated cookies are all about the details!  For the bubble cookies, (after all icing was dry) I added a layer of disco dust (non-toxic shimmer used for decorating sweets).  A thin layer of vanilla is applied to the area that I want to shimmer and then the disco dust is sprinkled on.   Marian from Sweetopia does a better job of explaining how this is applied.
Another cool detail is to add some luster dust (a shimmery powder when mixed with vanilla, tuns into an edible paint).  This is literally painted on each cookie.  For the cookies above, most of the details were actually hand painted including the icing.  The technique is called brush embroidery.  I learned from the master, Amber of SweetAmbs.  She has great online tutorials.

After the details are added and the cookies are completely dry, they are ready for packaging which is also very time consuming (especially if they have to be shipped). 
 As you can see, there are so many steps that go into making these custom treats. I didn't even discuss the time that goes into answering emails, taking orders, photographing cookies or updating facebook and the blog with pics. I personally make the cookies over the span of a week or less, doing a little every day.  Since I work full-time (in child welfare), all of this work is done at night after my kiddos go to bed.
There are a lot of cookiers out there who put their heart and soul into making these perfect pieces of edible art made to order. I have so much respect for all of them and their hard earned $2 to $4 (average) per cookie. 

So tell your local cookier how much you love them. :)