Wow! I have a lot that has been going on the past few weeks and I am just now catching up. Every day I get at least a dozen messages asking me to trouble-shoot and I am happy to try and help you figure out why your dough (or frosting) is misbehaving. I am so excited that everyone wants to indulge this passion. We have found our tribe! First, the video! Even though I had very little to do with the production of it, people still ask me questions I have no idea how to answer. I am better at figuring out your dough mishap than why your payment didn't process. I have to ask the professionals that so please bear with me if it takes a couple of days to figure it out. To all of the cookie lovers who have sent such kind words about the video, THANK YOU! This world would be nicer if we saw ourselves through someone else's eyes. I have found that you all are far more forgiving of my fat, my wrinkles, my pathetic attempts at humor and my twangy southern drawl than I am of myself. If not, you are certainly more polite about it than I am to myself. THANK YOU! I get so excited when somebody is proud of the cookies they have baked after learning a basic few tips and a reliable recipe. Please continue to post your homework pictures out there on the facebook page for others to see because you will find that our tribe is so kind and encouraging to each other. We celebrate your beautiful, sugary artwork and we also share ideas and designs with each other. We will also laugh with you if you have a great story about a lesson you learned the hard way!
Last Sunday's tutorial was the Nativity cookies. Gosh they were fun to create. They have lots of colors and they take a while to produce but you wouldn't want to make 100 dozen of them or anything. The set of cutters costs $12 and includes a standing figure, kneeling figure, camel, sheep, manger, Angel of the Lord and Star of Bethlehem. I bought my limit. More than half have been claimed but if you still want a set, you can get them while they last. When I run out I won't be able to get anymore until next year.
I am not artistic enough to draw all those details with frosting so I had the aid of an art teacher friend. She used food writers to mark on the cookies and all I did was basically color in the lines. It was so easy for me but I think I could do it again just by following the lines Polly drew for me the first time.
I am so honored by the popularity of the Cookie School. It would not be successful if there weren't so many of us wanting the same thing. In the last six months when I realized that one person couldn't possibly meet this kind of demand, I learned more than I ever bargained for about business, taxes, branding, trademarking, advertising, attorneys, accountants, digital media and social marketing guys and the costs associated with all of that . I have been giving my recipes and tips away for two decades because I just wanted to find more people like me who can find joy in their kitchen with a couple of girlfriends and some butter and sugar. I am telling you I have met some of the nicest people standing right in my kitchen and I am thankful for the cookie students who really became girlfriends.
Just this last week The Cookie School added a few new instructors. They are all graduates of The Cookie School, grad school, and the PhD class. They have volunteered as grad assistants and are now ready to host their own classes. This is great for a couple of reasons. First, they will help us with the demand that is so overwhelming. Second, they will help us build the brand and bring The Cookie School recipes and methodology to people outside the immediate location. So, if you want to really be encouraging to our new faculty, feel free to share their classes from The Cookie School page. It will help them (and the rest of us) out.
This part is really hard for me. I still want to be the baker who will give you any information I have and share with you anything I've got. If I can't help you find the cookie cutter you are looking for, I will give you mine! I have given away my own rolling pin, my stones, my parchment and my flavoring just because somebody needed it worse than I did at the time. I have spent a small fortune on The Cookie School brand and now I am bound by the terms of the agreement I entered into. The biggest question I get is about sharing the recipe. The people who have come to Cookie School or downloaded the video purchased the rights to use that recipe for their own use, and even to sell the cookies if they choose. The trademark protects The Cookie School against someone else hosting classes for a fee and using the recipe in full or altered, as well as the tips that have been shared in the class or the video. Some of you are so good at baking and decorating that it would be a shame for you NOT to teach it. If you want to make extra money hosting Cookie School classes, we would love for you to join our team. We will support you, promote your classes, share information about products as well as tell you when butter is on sale. We want you to be a part of our team, especially if you are really good at this. I genuinely appreciate those of you who have respected me enough to ask.
So much good has come from The Cookie School that I don't want it to become an object of contention, distrust and competition. If you want to teach others the joy found in baking, will you please consider joining our team rather than competing against us?