Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Texas Made :: Cindy's Cozy Kitchen

Cookies are made of butter and love.  – Norwegian proverb

 If you haven’t heard about Cindy’s Cozy Kitchen, nestled in East Texas, then you are missing out. Former educator, Cindy Best creates a variety of delicately detailed cookies for all occasions. Ranging from children’s story book characters to tartan plaid, her cookies are not only unique, but also deliciously buttery with a slight lemon zing.

Cindy began her journey into the cookie unknown a little over a year ago. She needed something to help overcome sorrow in her professional calling when resigning a ministry job. Cookies became her outlet. Cindy admits, “I was looking for something that I could be fruitful doing. In February of 2012, I saw a Valentine cookie which had been brush embossed. I thought, I should do that.” In addition, a former student had posted on Facebook how he missed the frosted cookies of his youth. Unsure of what he meant, Cindy began looking into the mysterious frosted cookies and soon embarked upon becoming a cookier.

I recently had the opportunity to visit Cindy in her Cozy Kitchen for an interview and a quick lesson in cookie decorating.

Texas Homemaking: Cindy, you’ve got all these great tools in the kitchen, but what are your “I can’t live without them” tools?

Cindy Best: Parchment, a heavy rolling pin, a spray bottle and my freezer are the best tools I have. You wouldn’t think such simple things would be useful, but they are. I love my rolling pin because I can adjust the width when I’m rolling dough. The spray bottle is great for mixing colors and keeping the icing from crusting. The freezer is helpful in keeping the dough from puffing up too much and losing its shape.

Texas Homemaking: I’ve seen many of your great cookie designs on your Facebook page, but what are your favorites?

Cindy Best: The Woodland Fairies; they hold a special place in my heart. I was inspired by a children’s pop-up book and created them. I also like the Some Bunnies I did not too long ago.

Texas Homemaking: The fairies are definitely my favorites! So, you inspire all of us with your cookies, but who inspires Cindy Best?

Cindy Best: Well, obviously Sugar Belle! She’s amazing. Also, my former student, Kim; she found me on Facebook and has shared all sorts of techniques, recipes and blogs. I’ve really benefitted from her expertise. Kim was in my 5th grade class when I taught and now she is my teacher. She is a really gracious lady and has encouraged me when I needed it most.

Texas Homemaking: Sugar Bell is amazing! But, I think you do amazing work yourself. If you had advice for an up and coming cookier, what would it be?

Cindy Best: I think my biggest lesson when starting out was to take the time to make cookies correctly. If I was rushed or didn’t take the time, my icing consistency would be incorrect. The consistency of icing will make or break a deadline. Talking to your cookies helps, too {insert Cindy’s giggles}. It is also good to be competitive with yourself, but not with others. What I love the most about the cookie world is that everyone is so kind and supportive.
Texas Homemaking: Do you have any cookier tips to help save newbies heartache when they first start out?
Cindy Best: Well, living in East Texas, we have lots of humidity which can impact your icing, especially color transfer. If you’re filling lots of different colors, you definitely want to wait overnight before filling light and bold colors next to each other. I also use Julia Usher’s technique for stabilizing icing by using pasteurized egg whites, lemon juice and cream of tartar. A lot of people use meringue powder as a stabilizer but it can make icing take longer to dry and I don’t care for the taste. If you do use the meringue powder, I prefer Americolor; it also causes fewer bubbles in the icing.

In addition to our interview, Cindy gave me a tour of her cookie production line and a little insight into her newest creations. Her current cookies were headed to a former student whom lives in Baltimore. These cookies, a gift, were intended for an adorable one-year-old’s birthday party.

Cindy’s cookie process begins with design. She draws out her cookies, planning the icing colors and sets her deadline details. She rolled and baked this particular batch of cookies last Wednesday, outlined and flooded sections on Thursday, detailed on Friday, added finishing bling on Saturday and shipped this Monday. Before shipping, Cindy wrapped each cookie individually in bubble wrap to ensure they would arrive in perfect condition. Cookies properly sealed can be kept up to 3 weeks.
Along Cindy’s production line, I spied a dehydrator. It was being used to help give each cookie the initial crust over on the icing to prevent smudges or smears. Cindy will typically produce 2 orders of her charming cookies per week.

I’ve already got one order in with Cindy. My niece will be turning one in October and what better way to celebrate this occasion than with Cindy’s Cozy Kitchen. To place your cookie order with the sweetest lady I know, please email Cindy at For information on pricing, delivery, shipping and more please visit her FacebookPage.



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