TDS 38 What the Sugar Cookie Can Teach You About One Sweet Life Interview with Brittney Haskins
As a child, Brittney Haskins realized she enjoyed baking. She describes with fondness the time spent with her mother in the kitchen, an experience which became significant to her life. And somehow, between the sugar, flour and eggs, Brittney also found her tenacity—not just to bake but to do so with pure joy. Today on the #thedeliciousstory, you’ll learn the invigorating backdrop of how this young woman turned talent, skill and passion into a successful business, and transformed the art of decorated sugar cookies (and pies!) into one sweet life.
As Brittney says, baking is in her blood. She shared her creations with friends and family for years, and was the person her coworkers could count on to bring in delectable treats. The journey from weekend baker to business was a progressive one. For many years it was the side hustle, and then in 2017 she launched a full-blown home-based bakery called One Sweet Kitchen.
Since then, word is out and her pastries are popular with those in Des Moines, Iowa and surrounding communities. I can attest to this because I tried to purchase one at the local baker outlet Crème Cupcake and was told they sell out too quickly. I’ll know for next time.
If we are what we eat then eating something beautiful must make us more so, right? At least, that’s how it feels when looking at a decorated cookie with its whirls and twirls of coifed sugar frosting on top. There you are with something gorgeous in your hand. And once you’ve enjoyed looking at the color and flourish, you take a bite and you’ve eaten art.
I marvel at the talent required to create these stylized sugar cookies, and wondered how it was done, especially when they’re made by the dozens. Brittney provides a fine overview of the differences between butter cream frosting and the royal icing she employs to craft her sugar cookie elegance.
As a non-baker, I had no idea why and how this frosting was used or what went into transforming icing into works of art. Again, Brittney walks us through the steps. After the interview, I headed off on a research tangent to see the process of working with royal icing in action, and found a slew of Youtube videos (here’s one) that confirmed that, when you eat an iced sugar cookie such as one from One Sweet Kitchen, you are enjoying true craftsmanship.
And for those of you, like me, who didn’t know about royal icing, Brittney explains that it’s frosting made with confectioner’s sugar and egg white. This blend allows its use in a variety of consistencies to be piped from a frosting bag or spread and smoothed, all depending on the design. The frosting hardens, permitting for layers of additional frosting to be added to complete the piece.
For you trivia wonks, I also found a bit of history. Royal icing became a popular method of bakers for decorating pastries during of the mid-1800s. However, as per Wikipedia, it did not get the title “royal” because of its use on Queen Victoria and Albert’s wedding cake as some sites suggest. In fact, the moniker remains a mystery to me in my limited search. That said, don’t you just feel a bit more special, a tad regal even when you hold the loveliness of sugar turned exquisite in your hand?
THE SWEETS OF LIFE
Brittney’s story of her memorable meal might be one of my favorites. I won’t give away all the details here, because hearing her tell it will provide additional delight for you. I will say that it takes place in Cologne, Germany, involves one of those rare times when a family travels together, and takes place in a hidden gem of a restaurant. I’ll just leave it for you to learn about the beer of choice that night and how it’s served, as well as the other pieces of the story.
Of all that Brittney shares, it is the story of how she began #frenchsilkfridays that helps reshape what is possible when someone remains true to themselves. On one layer, Brittney is an artist, crafting masterpieces in flower and icing, but beyond the sugar there is a mission that reflects her values as well.
Brittney explains how she came up with the idea of turning a French Silk pie as the vehicle for celebrating human kindness. And in a world where we can get bitter and pessimistic about the human condition, we CAN’T get enough of recognizing the human capacity to do good.
And there is Brittney Haskins, at what is, perhaps, her glorious best. She is a woman cultivating beauty and sweetness but more importantly driven to see and support the best in others. Not just your average cookie or pie, but the path to living life in all the potential sweetness one can.
Sherry is the founder of Storied Gifts a personal publishing service of family and company histories. She and her team help clients curate and craft their stories into books. When not writing or interviewing, Sherry spends loads of time with her grandchildren and lives in Des Moines, Iowa.
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