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The One with Malia's Cookies...

Hi ya'll. Let me take a minute to introduce myself. I am Malia, owner and founder of SweetLia Sugar Shoppe, and thanks for taking the time out of your busy day to read my blog. I started cooking and baking at an early age, partly because it's in my blood--I'm from West Virginia and have lots of grandmothers, aunts, and cousins who could cook for a houseful of people without breaking a sweat--and partly because my mom was a full-time nurse, usually exhausted after a long day, and not interested in preparing gourmet meals after spending 8+ hours on her feet. Enter preteen me. I wanted to learn how to make restaurant-style pasta sauce, chili that had to simmer all day and wasn't poured from a can, and chocolate chip cookies from scratch. I asked those grandmothers, aunts, and cousins how they made those awesome dishes that I had grown up loving and I discovered their secret--they followed the recipes on the ingredient packages. Just like Phoebe Buffay's grandma and her French recipe from "Nestle Toulouse", the secret to a good dish is a consistent recipe that takes you back to that moment when you first experienced the taste.

I started baking and decorating sugar cookies as a way to express my artistic side. I wanted a cookie that tasted good on its own and a royal icing recipe that complimented the cookie but did not overpower it with sweetness. The recipes I use today are from countless hours of testing multiple batches. A sugar cookie recipe is pretty simple--flour, butter, sugar, touch of salt, and flavoring of some sort. The amounts and type of sugar, be it powdered, granulated, or brown, can all produce different sugar cookie tastes and textures. I like my cookies and icing to be soft and chewy, easy to eat, so I prefer brown sugar to the others. It gives my cookies a nice, caramelized flavor that pairs well with the royal icing.

Cookiers--that's what we call ourselves--very often hear that their cookies are "too pretty to eat", which is understandable since many cookies do look like elaborate works of art rather than edible food. To be fair, there are similarities between decorating a sugar cookie and creating a piece of art. The recipes I use are just the start of the process. I plan the designs and colors that are going to be used in the set. Then, I bake the cookies and whip up the royal icing. Next, comes the coloring of the icing (some may say this is their least favorite part). Then, I get to the actual decorating, which can take anywhere from one to multiple days to complete. Each cookie is handmade and completely unique. The final step of the process is giving them to you so you and your family and friends can enjoy them together at your special occasion. Not eating our cookies is the same as hiding a beautiful painting in the closet so it doesn't get damaged--you will preserve it for sure but you definitely won't enjoy it either. The best compliment you can give a cookier is not only were the cookies beautiful but they were so delicious too.

If you're ordering cookies from me, plan on eating them. Preteen me will thank you.


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