THE DECORATED COOKIE
Tap into your creative side with Mother’s Day
treats your mom (and you) will love
By Gretchen Roberts
IT ALL STARTED with the humble cupcake.
Once the darling of harried mothers making
single-serving treats for their children’s school
birthday celebrations, the cupcake has been
elevated to the haute couture of sweet treats
by creative bakers who dream up mouth-watering ;avors such as Salted Caramel and
Amaretto Apricot and adorable designs from
bunnies to ;ower petals.
In the last several years, Meaghan
Mountford, the edible-crafts editor at
CraftGossip.com, author of Sugarlicious: 50
Cute and Clever Treats for Every Occasion
(Harlequin, 2012) and blogger at The
Decorated Cookie, has seen the baking aisle
at crafts stores explode. The Costco member
says she’s seen an increase in supplies and
tools for making everything from cake pops
to decorated marshmallows.
“My first book on cookie decorating was
published in 2007. Soon after that, the blog-
ging world took off, spurring a baked goods
decorating trend that’s grown exponentially,”
Mountford says. “Cupcake bakeries may have
started the trend, but bloggers solidified it.
Having step-by-step tutorials on blogs is a
huge factor, and now Pinterest [the popular
online bulletin board where you can ‘pin’
photos] is changing the game again.”
Another household name for any crafty
cook who creates baked goods at home is
Costco member Angie Dudley, aka Bakerella,
the blogger who invented and launched the
56 ;e Costco Connection MAY 2012
The Costco Connection
Costco carries baking essentials, such as
flour, sugar, eggs and butter, along with
candies for decorating edible works of art.
If you’re up for the decorating without
having to do any baking, why not use a
Costco cake—or cupcakes—as a blank slate.
cake pops craze. Cake pops are essentially a
ball of cake and frosting mixed together, put
on a stick, dipped in confectioner’s coating
and decorated. They’re cute and fun, and they
transform a simple dessert into a professional-looking product.
Dudley says cute baked goods are hot for
home bakers right now, but she’s always tried
to elevate her baked creations to the extra-
special level. “The ‘cute factor’ adds an extra
them. “For those who love it, the extra effort
is incredibly rewarding,” she notes. “For a
while, I was the only one doing cake pops.
Now I’m amazed at the effort people put into
them. Home bakers post pictures on my
Bakerella Facebook page that blow me away
with their designs and creativity.”
More than skill, many treats simply take
time. “Everything in my book is doable, but
some projects take three days to complete,”
Mountford says. She likes to get in the kitchen
to create with her 4-year-old daughter. “She
loves dipping marshmallows in sprinkles, mix-
ing cookie dough and icing cookies,” she says.
The best part of becoming an edible artist: You get to eat all of your handiwork, mistakes and all. C
Gretchen Roberts is a food and wine writer in
Tennessee. Her children, ages 9, 5 and 2, love
to roll up their sleeves and get in the kitchen
“The ‘cute factor’ adds an extra element
to sweets, which are
wonderful to begin with.
element to sweets, which are wonderful to
begin with,” she explains. “It’s fun to put a
twist on the ordinary and make it memorable.
The payoff is making people feel special when
I’ve created something just for them.”
Besides cupcakes, cake pops and cookies,
Mountford says, decorated marshmallows are
a hot trend, as well as cake push-ups (made in
push-up ice pop molds); cakes, cheesecakes
and breads baked in Mason jars; and rainbow
creations. “People are turning their food into
art,” she says.
“With a little creativity, you can take a
theme and apply it to any baked good,” says
Dudley. “If you were making Mother’s Day
treats, you could use a flower theme for cup-
cakes, cake pops or anything you can dream
up. It’s the personal touch that makes the gift
unique and fun.”
Just how hard is it to pull off these treats
at home? Dudley says there are two types of
people: those who love making these crafty
creations, and those who won’t mess with