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Cookier Close-up: Bridget Edwards of Bake at 350, Last but Not Least in Our CookieCon 2015 Series


In this month’s Close-up, we’re back for an in-depth conversation with Bridget Edwards of the popular baking blog Bake at 350 who, as you may recall, chatted with us just prior to CookieCon.

Her chat covered a smattering of cookie and non-cookie topics, ranging from her choices for powdered sugar and vanilla flavoring to how writing books differs from blogging. As a two-time cookie book author (Decorating Cookies: 60+ Designs for Holidays, Celebrations and Everyday and Decorating Cookies Party: 10 Celebratory Themes) and full-time blogger, Bridget is, naturally, an authority on said topics! 

Here, though, we’re going to focus on her CookieCon experience (she was a first-time attendee and instructor there this year), her tips for blogging success, and the future of her cookie work, among other things.

JMU: Hi, Bridget! Welcome back! So, seeing as you’re fresh from CookieCon, the cookie event of the year, I’d love to start by exploring your time there in more detail. OK? First, a softball : What was your most memorable moment at CookieCon?

BE: Well, it was a series of moments actually . . . it was meeting all of these fabulous and FRIENDLY cookiers. I was a little (a lot) nervous going in, and every time I met someone new or put a face with a name, those moments were my favorites.

JMU: What was the biggest cookie epiphany that you had there?

BE: That I NEEDED an airbrush. 

cherries on yellow-4

JMU: Don't we all?!  

I heard through the grapevine (via a Periscope broadcast with Callye of Sweet Sugarbelle, to be exact) that, in your CookieCon talk, you emphasized the point that cookiers shouldn’t let “perfection be the enemy of good.” Can you back up a bit and provide us with your motivation for sharing this bit of advice? Do you think it’s especially applicable to cookiers for some reason? And, more practically, can you give the cookiers here (many of whom I suspect are perfectionists! ) some concrete ways that they can apply this tip day to day?

BE: Sure. That quote was part of the photography section of my session. We’re so hard on ourselves . . . in so many ways. Specifically with blogging, we feel we have to be everything . . . a recipe developer, a cookie decorator, a professional photographer, a social media guru, a natural on video . . . all while having good hair and a 19-inch waist. I know I’m not perfect. It’s OK that my pictures aren’t professional; it’s OK that my cookie has an air bubble; it’s OK if there was a typo in my blog post . . . we’re not perfect. We’ve all seen the looks on people’s faces when they receive our cookies . . . they love them. They don’t see the flaws. I have to step back sometimes and remember why I started decorating cookies (and blogging) . . . it wasn’t to be perfect.

JMU: There's certainly pressure to be perfect when one's work is out there for all to see on the Internet - I know, I feel it. But we all need to find ways to release some of that pressure, and yours is good advice.

Now that you've got some hindsight, what, if anything, would you do differently if you were to do CookieCon again for the first time?

BE: I would definitely come early to take some of the pre-classes. They sounded amazing.

JMU: Yes! I heard that they were great, and some of the pictures I saw from those classes certainly confirmed the rumors! So, onto blogging, one of your clear areas of expertise. Can you tell us what and/or who motivated you to start your blog in 2007, and how you determined your focus for it?

BE: I had been decorating cookies for a few years and learned really through trial and error. My cousin had a craft blog, and I thought I would start a cookie blog to share with my sister, aunt, and cousins the little tips and tricks I had learned. It wasn’t until several years into blogging that I added in more dessert recipes. I love to bake ALL things sweet, so that was a natural extension of the cookie decorating aspect.

JMU: Just to give us all a little more context, how much of your time, on average each week, is spent blogging versus doing other things? And how much of your blogging activity is focused on decorated cookies, and why?

BE: There really is no average week in blogging for me. Some weeks I’m baking; other weeks I’m decorating cookies; and there are weeks where I do almost no baking. I really try to balance REAL life with blogging life. This, for me, started as a hobby . . . and although it’s now a job, it’s most important to me that I’m available for my family and for things like volunteering and spending time with friends. The recipe development portion has turned into the largest chunk of the blog versus decorating cookies. I don’t take cookie orders, so I’m not decorating all of the time. The blog is really a reflection of what I’m doing in my kitchen.

double-decker hearts

JMU: What are the three most significant ways that food blogging has changed since you started, and how, if at all, have you adapted your blog or blogging strategy to account for those changes?

BE: I think the main change is that people are getting into blogging as a business now. In the early days (i.e., in the olden days when we were walking to school in the snow uphill both ways, ha!), people blogged as a hobby . . . to document what they were doing. To give an example, I think I’d been blogging three years before I even knew I could put ads on my blog. Two, social media has also exploded since I started. And three, there are SO MANY blogs now. I used to be able to sit down in the afternoon with a cup of coffee and read ALL of the blogs I followed. No more.

As far as changing my blogging strategy . . . I really don’t have one. (Is that bad?) I definitely spend more time now with my photography. That’s a major change from the early days.

JMU: Interesting. Yes, blogging definitely seems to have gotten more competitive and focused on the bottom line. In your recent Cookie Connection chat, you mentioned that, despite the added competition and the fact that blog ad revenue has diminished over the last few years, you still feel that new cookie blogs can be successful. Is this an accurate paraphrasing of what you said, and, if so, how do you personally measure the success of your blog, or others’ blogs? Are there certain metrics that you watch more closely than others, or levels of ad or sponsorship revenue that you think are needed to justify the time investment?

BE: That’s a great point . . . everyone’s definition of “success” is different. For me, that success is that I’ve inspired someone - whether to make a new recipe or to give cookie decorating a try. I do look at analytics for the blog, but not like I used to. I don’t check them every day. (I like to use StatCounter for this versus Google Analytics.) I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about what does well and what doesn’t. Like I mentioned earlier, my blog is really a reflection of what I’m actually doing at home. I’m not creating content just to have better stats.

JMU: Good points. Where, specifically, do you see opportunities for new cookie blogs? What unmet needs or niches do you think new cookie blogs would be wise to address?

BE: As long as you’re open to sharing your process and techniques, I think you’ll find readers. Most importantly, you have to connect with people. Read and comment on blogs, reach out on social media. Obviously, those connections should be with people and companies who you genuinely like . . . not just because they are popular. I mentioned at CookieCon and I believe this strongly: we can’t do everything. I stopped taking cookie orders years ago, because I knew I couldn’t blog, and write a book, and volunteer at my kid's school, AND take cookie orders. There’s only so much time in the day, and I know I can’t do it all.

JMU: Agreed, though sometimes I find that balancing act far easier said than done!  Clearly, I'm interested in the money angle of these things, as I've got another dollars-and-cents type question for you! But part of the reason I ask these sorts of things is because I recognize that one can't do it all. For many of us, in addition to being true to what we want to do, we also have to allocate our scarce time to get the biggest bang for the buck. For me, anyway, it's not practical to spend a lot of time on something that is only a hobby.

So, here's that money question . . . You also mentioned in the chat that you thought the greatest source of income for bloggers now comes from sponsored posts (versus ad revenue through networks or affiliate programs). But sponsored posts can get dicey, especially if they are perceived by readers to be overly advertorial, or if the present any conflict of interest to the blogger. After all, it’s tough to be completely objective about a product when one is being compensated to blog about it (said from limited experience). How do you feel about sponsored blog posts, and how do you handle some of these issues I’ve raised? For instance, do you actively solicit deals with companies you admire, or do you vet sponsorship offers in some other way?

BE: You have to remain true to you and your brand. I limit my sponsored posts to very few and delete 90 percent of the emails that I receive asking me to promote a product. I’m a brand ambassador for two companies: one butter, one sugar. They were both brands that I already used and loved, so I can talk about them from the heart. It’s so flattering when a company reaches out and wants to work with you. I was so flabbergasted when I got my first few emails from companies when I was a new-ish blogger . . . I said yes to everything! (Don’t be like me.) I learned my lesson . . . but, if you scroll way back in the blog archives, you’ll find a post about a patriotic pancake pan. (And no, they didn’t even pay me.)

JMU: LOL. I'm envisioning Uncle Sam wielding a spatula and sporting a chef's hat! I'll have to check it out in a bit!

I imagine the going rate for a sponsored post varies greatly with blog traffic and the blogger’s social media following, right? Should new bloggers expect to secure sponsorship deals early on, or do their blogs need to hit a certain traffic level before offers will come? If the latter, what is that ballpark level? And what’s the ballpark range one can expect to be paid for a sponsored post? For instance, what’s typical for a new blog with relatively low traffic versus a blog that’s more established?

BE: First, do make sure that you’re compensated for working with a brand. Your time is WORTH something. You’ll be creating a cookie or developing a recipe, taking pictures, editing pictures, uploading pictures, writing the post, and promoting on social media . . . that is worth compensation. Brands don’t always look at straight page views. They want to see that you have a connection with your readers and engagement on social media. A ballpark range for a single sponsored post would be from $250 to $600, with very big blogs going up into the thousands.

JMU: Good to know. Thanks! What are the three most important tips that you would give to cookiers who want to launch blogs for the first time?


1. Don’t believe all of the blogging “rules.”
2. Let your personality shine.
3. Connect with other bloggers.

fried chicken bucket

JMU: So, I don’t know about you, but I find the plethora of cookie (and other) content now available online to be overwhelming. And all of the various ways we now have to connect and market our businesses on social media can be daunting – not to mention, a downright time suck. There are days when all I wish is to be device-free, and to never ever have to check email or Facebook or YouTube (or . . . ) again! Do you ever feel the same way? How do you manage online/social media overload to still have enough time for the things you really love to do, and those you love?

BE: I don’t feel obligated to use ALL social media. I love Twitter and Instagram, so that’s where I spend the majority of my social media time. I don’t love Facebook, so I just do the minimum there to keep up a presence. I choose not to do Snapchat, and I really don’t feel comfortable on video, so I don’t foresee spending a lot of time on Periscope. Like we talked about earlier, we can’t, or I can’t, do it all. My advice is to find where you feel comfortable and to spend most of your time there. And yes, turn it ALL off every so often.

JMU: As a corollary to my last question, I noticed you regularly post Trader Joe’s product reviews with your son. Is this mother-son blog project a decisive strategy to bring your work and personal lives closer together, or to achieve a more satisfying personal-work life balance? Or am I just reading way too much into what I see?

BE: For years, my son and I had a series on the blog called Kiddo in the Kitchen. He would choose a recipe, we’d make it together, and he’d rate it. Well, as time went on, he was more interested in EATING the food than making it. Trader Joe’s opened in our area, and we thought it would be fun to review their sweets on the blog together . . . from a mom and teenager perspective, it’s a way we can do a little something together. I have to say, we get asked about those posts A LOT. Readers seem to enjoy them. (Side note: Trader Joe’s is not involved with the blog in any way. It’s just fun for us to do the reviews as mom and son.)

fall floral 2 (1 of 3)

JMU: It definitely seems like fun for both of you, from what I've seen in your posts!

Lastly, what new cookie-related or other projects do you have on the horizon? Over the next few years , where do you see yourself and your blog going, both within the cookie world and beyond? Knowing you, your plans are bound to be super exciting!

BE: My son is a junior in high school, so I’ll definitely be soaking up every minute he’s home until he goes to college. My latest project is contributing over on The Pioneer Woman’s blog in a new section she just added called PW Food & Friends. I love Ree so much . . . she’s the ultimate food blogger and a super star, all while being so down-to-earth and generous. As far as cookies go, I’ll be breaking in that new airbrush! 

JMU: Ahh, what did I tell you, everyone?! That feature with Ree is especially exciting - congrats! And from the looks of your last photo, above, I can see that your new airbrush has already been put into service - and beautifully at that! Thanks again for spending time with us here on Cookie Connection, Bridget. I wish you all the best!

All cookies and photos by Bridget Edwards.

Interested in learning more about Bridget? Yes, I knew it! Please check out her blog and visit with her on her favorite social media spots: Instagram and Twitter!  

Cookier Close-ups is the place on Cookie Connection where we celebrate the change-makers of the cookie decorating world. Whether forging new enterprises, inventing novel decorating techniques, or consistently charming us with their cookie decorating prowess, each of our featured thought leaders has redefined in his/her distinctive way how we interact, create, or otherwise do business here in cookie space!

If there are other cookiers you'd really like to get to know, please post requests in this forum. We'll do our best to round them up for an upcoming Cookier Close-up! Thanks!



Images (5)
  • Bridget Edwards Close-up Banner: Photo and Logo Courtesy of Bake at 350; Graphic Design by Julia M Usher
  • Cherry Cookies: Cookies and Photo by Bake at 350
  • Double-Decker Hearts: Cookies and Photo by Bake at 350
  • Fried Chicken Bucket: Cookies and Photo by Bake at 350
  • Fall Floral: Cookies and Photo by Bake at 350

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Comments (6)

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Originally Posted by CHELY Morales:

Excelente entrevista y muy nutrida de información!

Gracias! Bridget was a wonderful interviewee!

was so captured by this chat   a great read   very nicely done   love reading both of you    yes, i fit in with some of the descriptions -  maybe all of them   lol     loved the pics   well done julia   thanks so much bridget!   

Ha sido una fantástica entrevista! Siempre aprendo cosas nuevas. Por eso me encanta Cookieconnection, siempre ofreces algo nuevo.

Espero muchas entrevistas como esta con otras lindas mujeres galleteras.


Loved reading this! I know as a very new blogger I got a ton out of Bridget's Cookie Con class, and she is just the nicest most down to earth lady! I'm a big fan and it was great to hear more about her!

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