Monday, April 22, 2013
From Milwaukee with Love: Mother's Day Cookie Giveaway
Lately, we've been meeting some pretty awesome local artisans whose food products deserve some serious attention. Our latest find is Patricia O'Brien & Company, a decorated sugar cookie company located right here in Milwaukee.
And if you love classic sugar cookies, you'll want to keep reading.
Patricia O'Brien is a great example of someone we've made acquaintance with recently, who has used her skills in the kitchen to create an artisan food business.
Patricia had been a home baker for years before starting a cookie decorating business.
"I saw an article in an obscure magazine several years ago which described how to ice a cookie with royal icing, and after it dries, how to paint on that surface with food coloring," she told me. "I love to paint--on canvas, wood, and just about anything--so the thought of painting cookies was very exciting to me. I experimented with several different types of pigment and found a combination of brush and paint that produced the desired effect. Many of my cookies are decorated with a combination of techniques, and just about all of the assortments have some painted cookies."
Spurred on by a friend, Patricia agreed to test out her product at a cookie sale at her friend's home.
She brought over nearly 1000 Christmas cookies, and displayed them on platters on her friend's dining room table. Each platter contained cookies of a different design.
"My friend had purchased large white pizza boxes and, as the guests went around the table, they picked out the cookies they wanted and placed them in the pizza box, then paid for them at a check out table," she recalls. "We sold all 1000 cookies in 45 minutes. My friend turned to me and said 'Now do you believe me that you should sell these cookies?'"
Patricia sent us a box of her cookies to try out for ourselves. The box was beautifully tied with a cheerful bow, and each pair of cookies was carefully packed in their own paper bag, and cushioned with bubble wrap.
And the cookies themselves? They're just what you'd expect -- crisp, buttery, and only slightly sweet, with the firm frosting I remember from my grandmother's holiday cookies. Best of all, the cookies are decorated with care using attractive painting techniques and 3-D frosting details.
Patricia O'Brien & Company was founded in 2006. Patricia bakes cookies full time, sharing a commercial kitchen with Karen Smith, The Cake Lady, a notable wedding cake business in the area. She uses an old family recipe for her cookies that contains only butter, sugar, flour, and eggs. Her icing is made from meringue powder and powdered sugar.
"I can still remember the red plastic cookie cutters my mother used with us when we were children and the tin shapes I used with my children," Patricia tells me. "I have a snow globe cookie cutter that has become a signature cookie, and there is one in most of my assortments. I have painted these for my sons with campus scenes when they went away to college and with seasonal landscapes for the holidays – that is the cookie that is probably the one most people remark about."
Patricia makes her cookies in hundreds of shapes, customizing them for any number of occasions -- from baptisms, to birthdays, to gifts for tennis, golf, and basketball lovers. Head over to her web site and check her out!
Even better, Patricia O'Brien is offering one lucky reader a box of Mother's Day themed cookies -- shipped right to your door in time for Mother's Day!
Just take a look on Patricia's web site and link back to one of your favorite designs (we're partial to the Sock Monkeys!). You have until NOON on Saturday, April 27, 2013 when we'll randomly choose a winner. If you are chosen, you will be notified by email, so please leave your email addy with your comment if it's not included with your Blogger profile. Entries from the U.S. only, please.
Full Disclosure: This giveaway is sponsored by Patricia O'Brien & Company, who provided us with product samples, as well as the box of Mother's Day Cookies for the giveaway. However, all opinions expressed in this post are our own.