Blog - Superhero of Sweets - SweetAmbs
Here she comes to save the day...
We have had the tremendous pleasure of collaborating with incredibly talented cookie decorators (referred to as "cookiers") who have seemingly magical abilities to transform their cookies into works of fine art. Perhaps you've seen their creations on the Ann Clark Facebook page or within our website. These women each put a unique spin on cookie decorating, and their creations are so beautiful, complex, detailed, and elegant, we'd almost feel guilty eating the cookies!
With that in mind, we present a series of cookiers' profiles. In each "Superhero of Sweets" blog, you'll learn about a particular cookier's style, influences, favorite tool, and more. We hope you find inspiration for your current or next project within these blogs, and we hope you'll enjoy getting to know these cookiers as much we have! We're still trying to figure out if they're superhuman…
Today we focus on the very talented Amber Spiegel, popularly known as Sweetambs, who currently reigns as one of the world's premiere cookiers and whose creations delight millions. She educates the public on how to decorate cookies.
How did you get started in cookie decorating?
Growing up in a family of artists, I always had a paint brush, pencil or marker in my hand. I've also always loved baking, but it wasn't until my mid-twenties that I decided to combine these two skills and try my hand at decorated cookies. I've been decorating cookies ever since that first batch!
What is your training in baking and cookie decorating?
I have a degree in Baking and Pastry Arts from The Culinary Institute of America, which is where I honed my skills in baking and learned a little about royal icing. I also took the two-week Wilton Master Course to learn more about cake decorating techniques. There weren't many cookie decorating classes available when I first started, so my experience in cookie decorating came from spending a lot of time practicing the cake decorating techniques that I learned at The CIA and Wilton and applying those techniques to cookies.
Do you have a signature style for cookie decorating?
I really love the vintage look, which is the style that I focused on when I began decorating cookies. I think that's what I'm best known for. Lately I've been working with bright colors and patterns. It's fun to try things that are out of my comfort zone.
Do you have a favorite decorating tip you can share?
I find that a lot of the questions I receive about cookie decorating revolve around problems that decorators have with royal icing. Most of the time, these issues can be fixed by not over-mixing the icing. When the icing is mixed on high speed for several minutes, it becomes very fluffy and those little air bubbles tend to cause a lot of problems later including breakage, color bleed, dull finish, and a sandy texture among others. It's best to mix the royal icing on low speed for no more than 5 minutes. The icing should be thick like a paste rather than light and fluffy like meringue.
If you've used Ann Clark Cookie Cutters in projects, can you describe the shape you've used and how you've used it?
My favorite shape from Ann Clark Cookie Cutters is the Long Fancy Plaque Cookie Cutter. It's such a pretty shape that can be used for all kinds of designs. Most recently, I used it for a set of ballet cookies.
Can you share any trends in cookies you envision in the near future?
Cookie videos are becoming more and more popular on Instagram and I expect that this trend will continue as more people discover the joy of decorating cookies.
How has social media influenced your cookie decorating?
While I used to spend most of my time creating elaborate designs, I've changed the way I decorate because I'm posting new content more often on social media. I still go back to the old style for my full length YouTube videos, but I get a lot of great feedback on my 60-second cookie decorating clips on Instagram that show simpler designs. Those are my favorite kind of videos to make!
How do you get inspired for creating new designs?
I find inspiration everywhere! I have a collection of vintage tea cups, fabrics and other items that have inspired a lot of my designs. I also come up with cookie ideas when I'm out and about. Just the other day I found a pretty set of paper doilies at the craft store that would make a beautiful cookie design! I can't wait to try it.
Favorite decorating tool:
Favorite cookie cutter shape:
Favorite decorator who inspires you:
Hayley Cakes and Cookies – Seeing her posts on Instagram makes me happy!