Tiffany Brunhoefer has always been a baker and a cook, dating back to when she was growing up in the South. After baking cookies for family and friends for six months, she decided to sell her decorated baked goods to others and started Sugar Mama Cookie Co. from her McFarland home in February.
“I thought, ‘You know, why not see if other people are interested in it as well,’” Brunhoefer said.
“We would make sugar cookies at Christmas time at home, but it was never something I formally decorated or tried flooding with royal icing or anything like that. There’s this whole world of ways to decorate cookies with royal icing. Sure, I knew how to put frosting on a cookie, but making geodes and writing fancy script and painting intricate designs and things like that was pretty interesting.”
Brunhoefer said baking the cookies is the easy part; decorating the cookies can take an entire day depending on how much detailing is required and the number of cookies.
“You have to let the icing completely dry before you add on any more final details like a luster dust or some markering that you have to do on them,” the baker said, noting it takes an additional 4-6 hours for the royal icing to dry.
Even though it can be a longer task, decorating the baked goods is her favorite part of the process.
“Once the cookies have baked and are cooling, I get kind of antsy, I just want to get to decorating them,” Brunhoefer said.
She said a person could use a knife to frost with royal icing, but typically people will use a piping bag with different icing consistencies and colors to decorate baked goods. Brunhoefer describes the process as outlining an area, flooding it with icing and continuing the process until the cookie is frosted.
“Customers want that customization on their sugar cookies,” the baker said. “You want the cookies to tell a story with that customization.”
She tends to use cookie cutters for the baked goods, noting there is a design for almost every shape available to purchase. Brunhoefer has even bought cutters made by 3-D printers from Etsy shops. There are times when the baker needs to carefully hand cut the dough to create a specific shape or requested size. She described the tool to hand cut the dough as similar to an X-acto knife, but specifically for food.
The sugar cookies are baked from scratch using homemade dough. The baker tries to avoid processed ingredients in the recipe.
“I want to have good quality cookies, even if that means I can’t take a lot of orders,” Brunhoefer said.
In addition to running Sugar Mama Cookie Co., Brunhoefer has a full-time job in sales. She is able to control how busy her baking and decorating schedule is by limiting the number of orders she takes.
“I have a 2-year-old running around, so that keeps me busy, too, and if I know it’s going to be a busy week, I can plan my cookies around that,” she said.
“I want to make sure people are happy with what I bake, that it tastes good, that it looks good. I’m kind of a stickler for that, if I mess up a cookie it goes in the garbage. My first priority is quality over quantity.”