Large Cookie Order - How to Execute the Project?? 750 Cookies!

Hi all,

I've received a prospective enquiry about providing 750 royal-iced cookies for next year. I haven't accepted the order as I'm completely stumbled as to how to go about executing such a large number of cookies so I would appreciate any feedback for the following questions:

1) I cannot bake that many cookies at home, so I'm trying to find a commercial kitchen with a large oven I could use. I've contacted local community centers and a couple of restaurants to no avail. Any ideas on how else to go about this?

2) I've attached the logo of the company who wants these cookies - I would appreciate some ideas on how to efficiently a) decorate these b) create the middle 6 point star in a large quantity. My initial thought was to stamp out fondant stars in the color - but I cannot find a cutter with 6 points that would be small enough.

3) any other ideas or suggestions on how to execute a project this large would be much appreciated ! Thanks in advance.

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You could try church kitchens or caterers. The former usually have commercial kitchens, at least here in the US. The latter may allow you to share space during their slow times. Also, you could always have a custom cutter made - Truly Mad Plastics just made one for me and did a great job. There are other 3-D printers of cutters who make custom cutters too.

While I hate freezing cookies, I would make them in batches and freeze them.  If you are doing royal icing I would also decorate in batches and freeze.  Another option for decorating is to buy the custom cutters from truly mad plastics:  the outline, the star and the funny color things.  Then do the cookie in fondant.  Fondant will go much faster.  That said I have never frozen fondant.  Good luck and let us know how it goes.

I would make the stars and all the color sections ahead of time as royal icing transfers.  You could have those done weeks ahead of time.  Then you are only dealing with white icing. 

750 cookies is quite a number to make in a kitchen that is not your own.  Transporting all your supplies and  if you use RI will they need to dry several hours.  Do you leave your cookies there overnight drying??  Do you have to RENT your borrowed commercial space?  If so I would rather take that money and invest in some additional baking equipment like more trays or something that would help me complete the task at home.

Think about your space.  Do you have enough freezer space to make the dough in advance?  What about storage containers in case  you bake a day or so ahead of decorating.  

How are you packaging them?  Individually wrapped will keep them fresh and allow you some additional "make ahead time" 

I would start 7 days before. I would make a schedule that had me baking 150 a day.  Decorate with RI and transfers. Dry overnight and package in the morning.  Repeat for 5 days. This will give a 1 day cushion if something goes wrong.

Day 8 Open a bottle of wine! and avoid looking at anything that has rainbow colors or triangle patterns!!

Thank you Heidi for the tips! I never thought of doing the transfers, so maybe that's the best way to go. 

i do have an extra freezer, so freezing the dough would definitely work. I think that the client wants all of them wrapped individually and tied with ribbon.

i called around a few places today and most of them were a no. However the one place I did find wanted to charge $165 for 3 hours! So I was just debating whether or not I'll be able to do the project at home, and if it's worth it. And I totally agree about the logistics of managing a project like this when renting the space.

i usually only bake one sheet of cookies at a time, but have 3 oven racks. I was wondering whether I could perhaps bake 3 trays at once (approx 36 cookies) but would I then have some that bake uneven?

I do also have a three shelf dehydrator so that may speed up the process a little!

Personally I couldn't pipe 150 cookies a day for 5 days, but it I'm older and had shoulder trouble this year.  How about a stencil that has only triangle missing.  You can then either do thick royal icing or airbrush.   imagine starting with one color and doing it for all the cookies and then go onto the another color.  It would be much faster the piping and easier on your shoulder. 

Cookies posted:

I would love to know Julia's thoughts on which medium to use for this volume of cookies: RI transfers, stenciling or hand piping ?

thank you again!

Hey! I am glad I saw this - An aside: please use the new tagging feature to alert me, or other members, who you'd like to draw into a post. (Simply click the "@" symbol and start typing the name of the person you want to tag, and then select the right person from the options that automatically come up. When properly tagged, the person's name will show up in pink.)

Anyway, to answer your question, I would use stenciling for this many cookies. Making transfers is as time-consuming as hand-piping (if not more so, because you then need to hand-place all of the transfers). If you were to airbrush the colored parts, the stenciling would go super fast (faster than with royal icing, which usually necessitates more stencil cleaning between steps). Perhaps, for a little dimension, you could then stencil the central star with royal icing. I have several videos that address stenciling on my YouTube channel, as well as a long Stenciling 101 video that digs into stenciling with royal icing in great detail.

Hope this helps.

Cookies posted:

Any airbrush make / model suggestions would be awesome! 

Hi, there is already a long forum topic on this subject, so please check it out: http://cookieconnection.juliau...-the-best-one-to-get

Please also get acquainted with the Advanced Search function (magnifying glass icon) at the top of the site; it allows you to quickly search any part (or all) of the site for very specific topics just by entering relevant keywords. I selected the forums as the area to search and then searched on the words "best airbrush", and this topic popped right to the top. It's a very powerful search feature!

Janplum posted:

Just a thought, even though it might seem like "cheating": could you use preprinted icing sheets with the colored logo? You could adhere them to the wet flooded cookie, then when it dries pipe a beaded border.  

 

I thought about that, but around here they cost $13 a sheet.  

Julia M. Usher posted:
Cookies posted:

I would love to know Julia's thoughts on which medium to use for this volume of cookies: RI transfers, stenciling or hand piping ?

thank you again!

Hey! I am glad I saw this - An aside: please use the new tagging feature to alert me, or other members, who you'd like to draw into a post. (Simply click the "@" symbol and start typing the name of the person you want to tag, and then select the right person from the options that automatically come up. When properly tagged, the person's name will show up in pink.)

Anyway, to answer your question, I would use stenciling for this many cookies. Making transfers is as time-consuming as hand-piping (if not more so, because you then need to hand-place all of the transfers). If you were to airbrush the colored parts, the stenciling would go super fast (faster than with royal icing, which usually necessitates more stencil cleaning between steps). Perhaps, for a little dimension, you could then stencil the central star with royal icing. I have several videos that address stenciling on my YouTube channel, as well as a long Stenciling 101 video that digs into stenciling with royal icing in great detail.

Hope this helps.

Thank you so much! I will check out the videos - would you recommend a source where I can have a custom stencil made?

also, do you think that baking this many cookies at home is feasible? I'm not having much success at finding kitchen space which has a big oven .

 

 

Cookies posted:
Julia M. Usher posted:
Cookies posted:

I would love to know Julia's thoughts on which medium to use for this volume of cookies: RI transfers, stenciling or hand piping ?

thank you again!

Hey! I am glad I saw this - An aside: please use the new tagging feature to alert me, or other members, who you'd like to draw into a post. (Simply click the "@" symbol and start typing the name of the person you want to tag, and then select the right person from the options that automatically come up. When properly tagged, the person's name will show up in pink.)

Anyway, to answer your question, I would use stenciling for this many cookies. Making transfers is as time-consuming as hand-piping (if not more so, because you then need to hand-place all of the transfers). If you were to airbrush the colored parts, the stenciling would go super fast (faster than with royal icing, which usually necessitates more stencil cleaning between steps). Perhaps, for a little dimension, you could then stencil the central star with royal icing. I have several videos that address stenciling on my YouTube channel, as well as a long Stenciling 101 video that digs into stenciling with royal icing in great detail.

Hope this helps.

Thank you so much! I will check out the videos - would you recommend a source where I can have a custom stencil made?

also, do you think that baking this many cookies at home is feasible? I'm not having much success at finding kitchen space which has a big oven .

 

 

Again, tagging me would be helpful, as I don't follow every thread on this site. I only stumbled upon this comment, so please tag me next time.

My new stencil partner will be able to make custom stencils by the fall (Stencil Ease); in the meantime, I recommend Designer Stencils. Their acetate is the heaviest gauge out there (10 mil versus 5 to 7.5 mil), and so the stencils are quite durable and less prone to getting damaged (bending) over time. Stencil Ease will also be making my new stencil line out of 10 mil food-grade Mylar.

I can't speak to whether making cookies out of your home will be practical for you, as I have no idea what your oven and storage space are like. I suspect it's doable, but I would also expect that cookies would occupy a lot of space (not just in the oven, but all over the house as you ice, dry, and store them). Your house and housemates need to be able to accommodate the cookie overload.

I'd keep trying to find space; it can take a while, but patience usually pays off. Also, have you looked into cooperative kitchens? Some cities have these sorts of spaces, specifically designed for temporary shared kitchen use for businesses that are just starting out.

Anne Marie Adams posted:

Wow Julia I am so impressed with you and all of the other experienced Bakers taking the time out to help a cookietier in stress I myself have learned so much well (COOKIES) now I think you can do it good luck to you and let us all know how it turns out

Part of my mission in starting this site was to encourage sharing and learning, so if I don't contribute actively to that mission, then I have failed the site and its members. I try to answer every question where I think I have some relevant experience.

@Julia (hope I've tagged the correct Julia! Using my iPad so a bit tricky)

Thank you for all the feedback and useful advice. Until I found the replies and help on this site, I was going to turn down the order. It's beginning to seem like a project I may just be able to take on!

thanks again to all for your time and help!! :-)

Cookies posted:

@Julia (hope I've tagged the correct Julia! Using my iPad so a bit tricky)

Thank you for all the feedback and useful advice. Until I found the replies and help on this site, I was going to turn down the order. It's beginning to seem like a project I may just be able to take on!

thanks again to all for your time and help!! :-)

Good luck!

Econlady posted:
Cookies posted:

@Julia (hope I've tagged the correct Julia! Using my iPad so a bit tricky)

Thank you for all the feedback and useful advice. Until I found the replies and help on this site, I was going to turn down the order. It's beginning to seem like a project I may just be able to take on!

thanks again to all for your time and help!! :-)

Good luck!

Great news about taking on the challenge, but you did tag the wrong person. If you click on the pink area, you will be taken to the member's profile whom you tagged. My user name is "Julia M. Usher", just as it appears next to all of my comments on this page. 

Cookies posted:

@Julia M. Usher

I think I've mastered it! I needed to wait a couple of seconds for the drop down to refresh before your name came up!

Thanks again for all the tips. I'm going to be watching your videos this weekend about the stenciling.

I shall keep you posted with the progress ! :-))

Yep, I got tagged! I look forward to seeing your stenciling results!

Hi there!

Know how that feels!! In april I have been asked to give a budget for 1000 cookies!

The origin of this request was that I gave 6 delicious cookie samples to the Director of a large school. These cookies had several colurs, about 30 tiny letters handwritten and were hand cutted too! And were all made in RI. She loved the taste, presentation, everything in those cookies, so, at first i answered that wouldn't be possible. I don't do massive works, as i dedicate lots to each cookie and it's a very artistic work. If you need a smaller order, i will be pleased in helping you out.

(Wll continue in different posts cause i'm afraid what i write dissapears) haha

After two days and after seeing that nothing is impossible and this would be a great opportunity for me. I returned to this person and told her that for end of the week, i would give her a budget and that i would work together with another person and will be helped out.

First, for this year, i have decided as the year started, that i would work for the price i felt i deserved and never ever find myself making cookies and complaining i could have asked for more. Since i have the same dedication for each cookie and that the design would some time bore me: i won't give it in much a lower price. Let"s say i went from my usual price of 22 to 18.

I made an excel with every cost in grammes also, packaging, boxes, tags, smaall bags, gas, electricity and decided to invest buying a fridge so as to being able to freeze my dough as i always do for overnight cause if not i wouldn't have enough space, decided to also buy a special oven, that is to say a professional oven with several trays and perhaps one more dehydrator. Yes, cause my cookies would get to 1000 people i should start thing in expanding

 

So i calculated my cost, a nice price for them and i, my investment on necessary equipment and i had some volounteers. Mom would help me out bagging cookies and cutting tags or cooking some. Another friend with added cost will help in whatever i needed, she loves baking. And, the biggest move and confidence was in: having a partner in this: i would do 500 and my new partner: other 500 and we planned how to sort it so it could be possible. We finally agreed in making then with printed rice paper and later handwritten cookies and an outline around printed paper.

At first she told me she would be ok with 14. So that would be ok for me since i would have 4 for each cookie i delivered of those 500. She was a person living 45 mins away and i have learnt making cupcakes with her for a bit more than a morning. I felt she was the right person because of something.

Ok. I made a budget and after seeing all these details regarding cookies with her and in the middle, also receiving my husbands support and that he would help also, i delivered a detailed budget of how it would be, prices and all.

Saturday this lovely cookier told me she thougt it over and she would ask 20 for each cookie!

 

 

So i told her i have already delivered the budget for 18 that is less than her price, so she told me it wasn't fair i received more than her and that in that case she would ask me just 18. So ok, at this point i told her ok.

Then thought it over and decided to do it by myself as i was thinking in paying her 50% of the job to start as i have asked that ammount to the company so as to start working. I noticed i really didn't know this person and it would be far too risky and wasn't going to win a cent with 500 cookies. I was giving her a large order for 500 cookies for nothing in exchange and what if she turned out the order a week before.

I gently told her the situation and decided doing 1000 on myself.

For the budget i though giving lower price if requested too. Already calculated this option.

A pair of weeks later, this person told me, the directors loved the cookie idea, the yummy cookies, everything but they didn't accept the budget

 

 

 

I left with a big smile in my face and relief, it was a pity but i was already getting stressed out and it would be so massive and so tyring. I also have kids and well, i would be exhausted really. So i took this as an experience of learning how to analyze my costs, thouht of the possibility of investing in this and having a nice money for me. And i remembered again how is the people of failing one... but, i had a good experience.

 

Some months later i received the cookie that won me; hard cookie with no flavour but lemon, falling from a stick, made with paste and no details on it. This was for a school, my kid just said it was not a tasty cookie. My boy neither liked it or i. It went to the garbage and i felt myself better cause i noticed the price they wanted was so low for sure, we never knew who did them so for me it wouldn't have never been marketing myself. And i would have left a big part of my life and kids time for some bucks an oven and a fridge afterwards perhaps i would have to sell

 

My conclusion:

- ask for a price you desserve

- be sure about all the time and space you will need

- make them pay 50 percent of the work in advance

- be sure you want to make them

- and go ahead. For a yes or no, you will win so much experience trying it out.

 

Afterwards, tell us how it has been for you. Sorry for your eyes that perhaps got tired of so much i wrote, perhaps something of what i wrote will be useful but nothing better than your own experience. Afterwards, pls let me know! I am interested in reading about this always.

 

 

I watched all this remembering last year how I made 1100 cookies for a local charity.  It was over 9 months, plus 3 wedding plus other things.  By August my shoulder was hurting and then I had a bicycle accident.  I ended up in 9 months of physical therapy (half of it with a frozen shoulder).  I backed off on decorating sand only did a minimum of decorating.   While resting I realized that I was losing the love of decorating.  I have decided to only decorate for myself and to try new techniques.  Maybe I'll find my passion again.

Econlady posted:

I watched all this remembering last year how I made 1100 cookies for a local charity.  It was over 9 months, plus 3 wedding plus other things.  By August my shoulder was hurting and then I had a bicycle accident.  I ended up in 9 months of physical therapy (half of it with a frozen shoulder).  I backed off on decorating sand only did a minimum of decorating.   While resting I realized that I was losing the love of decorating.  I have decided to only decorate for myself and to try new techniques.  Maybe I'll find my passion again.

Oh my! Taking a large order by our own is really complex. Have you got photos? It's like breaking a record! That's a large production for just one person!

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Sil Quiroga *Ricas Cookies*Teri Pringle Wood
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