Cook of the Week: A passion for baking, music builds into a cookie business
Our Cook of the Week, Hillarie Smith from Wheeling, loves listening to rock 'n' roll, cooking meals for her family and friends, baking a cake with four pages of instructions, and oh yes, making cookies. She likes baking cookies so much that last year she decided to go into the cookie business, and Sugarie Bakerie was born.
It all started years ago when her five kids were little and liked to make cookies with their mom. Fast forward 30 years or so, Hillarie's children are grown, with children of their own (she has 10 grandchildren), and she is still making cookies and loving it.
Hillarie does have an unusual theory about how to make delicious cookies.
"I don't know how to articulate it, and I know it sounds ridiculous, but I think you should be happy when you're baking. I want sweetness, so if I'm sad or angry, I make myself snap out of it before I bake. I even make my husband turn off the news!" she laughs.
Hillarie has a few other tips that are more tangible.
"Always chill the dough. The butter will take longer to melt while cooking, and that makes a better cookie. And, I am very particular about my vanilla; I only use vanilla bean paste. It leaves little speckles, which are very nice," says Hillarie.
Going from a home baker to a commercial baker took some adjustment. Hillarie rents space in a commercial kitchen.
"I go to the kitchen three or four days a week, for about five hours a day. Because of the washing procedures required, I have three of everything!"
But only two KitchenAid stand mixers.
"I hug and kiss my KitchenAids! I have two red ones, and they are my best friends!" she laughs.
When it came to packaging her cookies, it was important for Hillarie to choose recyclable goods made in the USA. The next step was creating a website and learning to use social media.
"I had no idea how to do it! I'm still learning."
Perhaps the most fun, aside from baking the cookies, was coming up with the recipes and the names. If you are a music fan, you will probably recognize her creations. Her 'Cherry Bombs' (think Bon Jovi) are like little hot fudge sundaes. The Bohemian Raspberry is a decadent mixture of white chocolate and raspberry jam. Enjoy Ebony and Ivory, Pretzel Logic, and don't miss Expresso Yourself!
"I love making these names up! I was cracking myself up, but I'm not sure my husband was amused." Hillarie revs up her creativity every summer by attending outdoor concerts whenever she can.
"I tend to listen to a lot of music -- and I love free music! Last summer, I went to 45 events!"
Today Hillarie shares her basic cookie recipe with us, with several ideas for embellishing them with our creativity. The recipe for Bohemian Raspberries is there for you to enjoy as well.
Oddly, Hillarie doesn't make plain old chocolate chip cookies, even though those are her husband's favorites.
"I start out making chocolate chip cookies, but they never end up that way! I tend to get carried away!"
Order cookies by calling (847) 651-7311 by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit sugariebakerie.com.