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Meet-up with Manu aka Manuela Pezzopane

Hello, Manu! It's so great to have the opportunity today to chat with you! (I promise not to ask you about your next tutorial!) Though I certainly have some tutorial "best practices" type of questions to ask you, if others don't ask them first.
Good morning to everyone joining us as well! I encourage everyone to jump in with questions. These chats are always more fun and informative when people don't hang back on the sidelines!
Though . . . before we dive into Q&A, just a few housekeeping notes for newbies to our chats: questions are answered in the order received, but they will not post to the public/viewable area of the chat until Manu reads and answers them. We'll work through questions that were logged in advance first; then start working on questions asked live during the chat. That said, please be patient and do not re-post the same question. It may take some time to answer your question, depending on where it sits in the queue. But I will personally make sure every question gets answered before we're through.
Also, please just ask one question at a time (per post); it's easier for our guests to keep up and others to read the chat transcript if they're not hit with too many questions at once. Thanks!
Hello Julia! Thank you for inviting me, I am so honored to participate as a guest.
Hi ladies!
Everyone, by way of introduction to Manu, I encourage you to click on the "i" icon next to the title of this chat (at the top of the page); there you'll see her bio. But, in a nutshell, she's been a longstanding member of Cookie Connection, and she is now one of the site's amazing tutorialists. I will post some images from her latest tutorials in a sec, to give you some food for thought for questions! But, first, here's a link to all of her tutorials on the site: http://cookieconnection.juliau...lection/made-by-manu
Here's an image from one of Manu's most recent tutorials . . . I love the clever composition here!
Her embroidery hoop cookies made a splash on the site when they first debuted . . . they make creative use of SugarVeil edible lace.
And let's not forget her charming 3-D Easter vignette!
Hi, Manu! I am very excited to have you as our guest. If I tell you how happy I am, it is going to be really long so let met go straight to my question for you. You give very interesting, easy-to-understand, and cute tutorials to us, for which I would like to say thank you and I always look forward to them. What are your criteria for beginner, intermediate, and advanced level techniques for the tutorials when you think and prepare?
RYOKO - Hi! Thank you so much for your support! Cookie Connection has established definitions to classify tutorials by their level; those definitions involve the mix and difficulty of techniques used and the number of steps. You can check this post here: http://cookieconnection.juliau...vel-definitions-here. So I follow the directions of this post, but it is not so easy. And I am still learning. I rated my second tutorial, the Easter Scene, "intermediate", but having so many steps and techniques, it developed into "advanced". It was anyway too long, so for the following ones, I tried to keep them as easy as possible to read and to make, no matter the reader's level. The "Nautical Cookie Platter" tutorial was designed especially for newbies. I thought about me when I started decorating and my desire to make something that looked like more than a set of single cookies made by using basic techniques (in this case flooding small surfaces and piping lines). More generally, I usually think about a theme and a design. Then I see how it can be developed, and I do my best to stay in one of the level definitions.
Hi, everyone, we have a ton of advance questions and answers in the queue, many of which are VERY long. So I am going to try to give you some time to read each before I post the next one.
I really miss your cookies in the Practice Bakes Perfect Challenges. I have always looked forward to your entries, but yours are labelled "non-entry" now. Except for challenges by Christine of Bakerloo Station, what kind of media and techniques would you like to try on your cookies? And why?
Ryoko: Just a clarification about "non-entry" designations on Challenge entries. Once someone becomes an official contributor to Cookie Connection, like Manu, they also help Christine select the featured entries that she spotlights. There would be an inherent conflict of interest if "judges" were allowed to evaluate their or other judges' entries, so we don't allow that. The "non-entry" designation just makes it clear to "judges" which photos they should not evaluate for this reason.
RYOKO - I am a huge fan of the Practice Bakes Perfect (PBP) Challenges, and I am glad that I can still participate as a contributor with "non-entries", because I would have missed that feeling of "thinking outside the box" that Christine (Bakerloo Station) triggers with her inputs. My enthusiasm is the same and I like to see every entry and read the comments of fellow cookiers. My first "tentative tutorials" were born in the comments to my PBP Challenge clips with the purpose to share tips or techniques, but also difficulties and challenges encountered, because this is also what the Challenges are about. And this is still the spirit of my tutorials, on top of sharing an idea or a design. Back to your question (media and techniques I would like to try on my cookies and why) . . . I like royal icing very much, and many are the techniques that can be used with this medium which I still need to practice, like piping flowers or letters, or frills.
Manu, you are from Italy which is full of art and artistic things. You also have experiences living in foreign countries. Do you think those experiences give you ideas for your tutorials and cookie designs? If so, what are they? If not, where do your ideas come from?
BTW, everyone, Manu just moved to Dubai and is still settling in there, as we chat!
RYOKO - In my cookies there is a lot of me, and I draw inspiration from my memories and experiences. Actually there is a cookie that I have had in mind for a long time, inspired by the work of an Italian artist. It is a cookie-copy though, and I will need to ask permission. There is Italy in my sunflower cookies, inspired by those that you can see in summer especially in Tuscany or in the Marche (another beautiful Italian region). There is Germany in one of my autumn cookies (the one with the lantern and the pumpkin) that we made in our collaboration. The lantern in the cookie is a mini-version of a tall lantern that I bought there. And then the pumpkin, because I had my first experience with Halloween in Germany and I carved my first (huge) pumpkin ever. There is Germany again in the "Egg Hunt on a Cookie" tutorial. And last but not least, Christine's challenges have been a great source of inspiration for most of my cookie designs. Challenge #21 (lace) inspired me to use the SugarVeil needlepoint lace mat and to develop the "Embroidery Hoop Cookies" tutorial.
Hi, Manu! I'm so glad that we have the opportunity to get to know a bit more about you! Firstly, I know that this is not cookie-related, but I've seen so much breathtaking, modern Dubai architecture via online photos, and am wondering what it's really like in person - a definite change from the "old-world" charm of Italy, for sure! You must have a ton fresh inspiration all around!
SWEET PRODIGY - Hi, Christine! Dubai is beautiful and, yes, the architecture is amazing! Actually this question is cookie-related, as everything around us could be a source of inspiration for our cookies. My favourite building is still the "Burj al Arab" (the sail) which is quite "old" (1999) but so elegant and modern and timeless. I took lot of pictures and have already sketched cookies. I only need to settle in and start cookie-ing again. And I just thought of you the other day as I was looking at the replica of the "Dubai Creek Tower", which is going to be the new tallest building in the world, because I saw your perfect geometric crossing lines in the cables that support the structure:
We've learned so much on Cookie Connection about ingredients varying so much around the world. Have you encountered any differences - or challenges - with the sugar, flour, etc. in Dubai vs. what you're familiar with in Italy?
Yes, for those you don't know, we have a series on our blog, called Toolbox Talk! In that series, written by Liesbet, we explore ingredients all over the globe!
SWEET PRODIGY- Yes, Christine, these were my biggest fears: ingredients, new oven, and weather conditions. I managed to prepare my latest tutorial while I was here, but I had to go through trials and errors for a couple of days. I think I finally found the right flour. Meanwhile, I moved into our new apartment where there is a gas oven, which is something I have never used in my life. I baked my butterfly cookies for the challenge, while unpacking boxes, and they turned out almost ok. I stocked up with royal icing mix and food colors in Italy, but I found a couple of great cake supply shops here that will be my backup once I run out of my supplies! Now it is just a matter of practice.
I wished Liesbet had already covered the topic “floor” in her Toolbox Talk http://cookieconnection.juliau...lection/toolbox-talk
She is addressing flour in the next edition; I start editing it in a couple of weeks! I'm working on yours first!
I love how creative your cookie designs are, and I always love your color choices. How do you decide upon a project for your tutorials?
SWEET PRODIGY - Thank you, Christine. As I said to Ryoko, there is a lot of me in my cookies - my memories and experiences. For example, I thought about the "Love Seat", my first tutorial, while I was skiing last winter. Actually, my feet hurt, and I just wanted to rest in a chalet and, in my mind, a Tyrolean chair developed into a rocking "love seat". The typical heart notch in the backrest gave me the idea to use a heart cookie cutter set to cut the cookies - it's easy to find worldwide, not so expensive, and perfect for Valentine's Day. And then the colors, red and grey, happened to be perfect. A red table cloth and the wooden "Love" lettering for the staging closed the circle. Anyway, it is not so easy to come up with a new cookie project. A lot has been thought, made, and posted about cookies, way before I even knew about cookie decorating. And I should only thank those cookiers who shared their work and all their techniques, so I was able to learn this art, and transform my ideas into cookies. I try to never forget to give credit to them whenever it is due.
BTW, everyone, here's a link to Manu's "Love Seat" tutorial that she just mentioned: http://cookieconnection.juliau.../blog/loveseatbymanu
And here's a picture of the love seat in that tutorial!
love seat
I love that cute little seat!
How do you decide which techniques and mediums will be used for your tutorials?
Thank you julia
SWEET PRODIGY - As I said to Ryoko above, after I have the project in mind, I try to stay within the site's definitions of skill levels for tutorials. I love royal icing - many are the possibilities and techniques which I need and want to learn with it, and it is fun. Sometimes, though, royal icing is not the best medium for my project, like in "A Cookie Box for Dad", where I had to think about a different technique and ended up tinting the dough. Another time, it was the medium and the tool - SugarVeil and the SugarVeil needlepoint lace mat - that gave me the idea for the tutorial. In that case, my "Embroidery Hoop Cookies", the needlepoint lace reminded me of the fabric used for cross-stitching.
Everyone, here's the un-iced "Cookie Box for Dad" that Manu just mentioned . . .
Dad Box
Your written tutorials are wonderful, to say the least. I'm wondering if you plan on making video tutorials in the future as an additional means of teaching the techniques that you use?
SWEET PRODIGY - Thank you again, Christine. I should thank Julia who gave me this opportunity to write on Cookie Connection (I still pinch myself to be sure it is true). And, since I have learned so much from this site, my tutorials are also a way to give something in return. I have thought about adding a quick video at the end of the tutorials, and I have "played" with "Splice" (an app to edit videos or make slideshows) but with only the purpose to wrap up the tutorial in a different way, more than teaching a technique. . . unless it would be a technique never seen before or if the pictures are not enough to express it.
Thank you for being such a dedicated tutorialist (I think I just made up that word ), Manu! It's truly an honor to have you writing for the site.
Ripl is also a cool app for making mini videos out of still photos. It has a ton of different layouts and ways to customize the graphics and music!
Can we expect any in-person master classes from you some day down the road?
SWEET PRODIGY - Who knows! At the moment, I just moved to a different country, and my kids will be both away in college in less than one month. I will have more time to dedicate to cookies, and there are many cookie projects sketched and left behind on paper during the last two months that I would like to cookie-fy. Right now, I'm enjoying thinking ahead to new tutorials. . . and settling in! Let's see what will happen. That said, preparing for a class and teaching are not at all easy, and not for everybody!
I meant that it is not easy to teach...
I'll second that comment about classes! Though they are the most rewarding thing I do, they take a ton of time, especially when bridging language differences across countries.
Yes, you said that!
Your photo layouts are becoming nicer and nicer. The last one, "Nautical Cookie Platter," was particularly nice. How do you come up with layout ideas and then arrange everything so that it looks just right? Is photography one of your many hobbies?
and all the prep work
Everyone, the "Nautical Cookie Platter" was one of the images I posted at the start of the chat. Just scroll back on up to see it, if you missed it.
SWEET PRODIGY - The picture is the more difficult part of cookie decorating and also the only thing that will last of this ephemeral art. Thank you for your words. I think I am learning as I go. The cookies are the stars, and the staging should only be a frame. For that nautical set, I had at home a mini tray made with wooden planks that reminded me of a nautical style. Its color was grey, the same shade you get if you mix the red and the sky blue I used for the cookies in that set (a trick from the Practice Bakes Perfect color challenge to ensure color harmony). Then I had cups with a pattern that reminded me of a fisherman's net. And then the sea urchins, one in the shade of pink and one more blue. The lucky combination of all of those elements, along with the colors, the flying seagull cookies, and the lighthouse, probably helped to make this very simple set look a little bit special. I had imagined those cookies as a treat to be shared with a friend with a cup tea or coffee while enjoying the sea view, and I hope the photo gave that feeling . . . and I hope some cookiers thought about trying to make those cookies.
Yes, I loved the staging on that photo too!
I meant natural light though and not lighthouse
There are a lot of cookie artists whose background is anything but artistic (doctors, lawyers, engineers, etc.) who use cookie decorating as a creative outlet. Are you one of those types or do you have formal training in art?
La Shay - Just a quick note to say I got your question! We still have 14 advance questions and answers to post, so I will get to yours in a few minutes!
SWEET PRODIGY - No, Christine, no formal training - mine is just a passion for everything handmade, and arts and craft. I have tried every possible hobby. My mother is good at sewing, knitting, cross-stitching, etc. My father had his hobbies as well, so I always had a lot of material around and I loved to watch my parents. I always wanted to try new things and techniques. Cookie decorating makes me happy, and I love the cookie community and the connections made through this site. I also love the ephemeral aspect of this sugar art, although I keep as a precious treasure the cookies received as presents from cookie friends and those I made when I attended cookie classes.
Oops, I meant to post the following link when on the subject of the nautical cookies . . .
Everyone, here's a link to Manu's "Nautical Cookie Platter" tutorial, where you can find a bigger version of her photo that I posted above with all of the staging she just described: http://cookieconnection.juliau...tical-cookie-platter
Okay, we have a series of long questions coming up from Sil, so I am going to give you a little more reading time. Has the pace been okay for everyone, or should I slow down or speed up?
Ciao Manuuuu! I am so happy you are here in the chat today! I love the neatness your cookies have, especially the creativity in your work!!!!
Every single work you do is a cookie or image I have never ever seen before. I love your work! Well, and those Manu letters are outstanding! Are there some tips you could give us for having this outstanding creativity, and for how to get inspired by everything we see out there and not by images that have already been created, avoiding for example character cookies?
Okay, I didn't hear from anyone, so I am assuming my posting pace is okay. But if it needs to be slower or faster, please say so.
SIL - I think it is normal to want to make characters cookies. I am sure I would have made Star Wars cookies, Snoopy, Hello Kitty (she can't be reproduced in any medium), and all the characters I grew up with. Cookies gives a good feeling and characters cookies evoke memories of our childhood, so the feeling is even better! ( My English is awful I hope you got what I meant.) I made character cookies though, the B. C. cookies, and asked permission of John Hart Studios. When they say "yes", I was in paradise!
Thanks, Manu, for underscoring the importance of securing permissions before copying copyrighted characters. This is a hot button of mine - too many people don't do it!
Pace is fine Julia - Thanks
Sorry, but more questions, have you studied some career that influences in your work? Or have you got a professional career that influences your works, and in what ways? And do you do this just as a hobby? Have you ever sold one of your creations? And what would you advise for those of us who sell them so as our work, or a piece of art like your creations, gets the right price? People love them but, if we would like to sell these masterpieces, people often want to pay no more than simply the cost of ingredients! People will never believe the time and work we do! I continuously say to myself, keep it simple. They love my work but will never ever pay for it. Well, really, the right customer is out there, perhaps we just have to be discovered. LOL!
Good questions, Sil! No need to apologize! We love getting questions here!
Oops, I forgot to post Manu's answer to the earlier question from Sil. So here goes . . . two answers in a row.
Hi, Sil! I love those letters too! Sooner or later I have to stop hand-cutting them and buy the cutters! Thank you so much for all of the compliments! Actually creativity has always been an issue for me, but with cookies, it seems to be different. As I said, participating in the Challenges has been really inspiring and I am sure I couldn't have made those cookies out of the blue otherwise! And after the Challenges, the inspiration and the things learned led to other cookie projects. That is why I also advise the newbies to participate, because it is such an amazing journey.
SIL - Cookies are just a hobby for me, although I thought at the beginning about selling them, but I wanted to improve my techniques to do so, and I took a different path. Friends and relatives had to eat my first experiments! I agree there is a lot of work behind them and people are not willing to spend so much for cookies yet (I speak for my country Italy). I have never sold cookies, but I was asked to make them for some friends who were willing to pay me, though I couldn't sell them anyway on top of not having the time. I have also learned from many cookiers about how important it is not to underestimate our own work. But I have gotten all the information about how to sell homemade food (in Italy) just to leave that door open. I am in Dubai now and I don't have any plans for selling now.
Now, regarding the subject of this chat, I had always photographed my works on my dark square table that I love with all my heart, LOL. Besides I thought that the dark background highlighted my colourful royal icing (RI) work. I just love how my cookies can spread out on my table, and I have made funny animations with them more than once. When I went to some classes of entrepreneurship, everyone told me I have to change the background for a lighter one. I did it and my Instagram got much nicer, and I bought a photographers' light box (is this the correct name?) to erase shadows. My photographs got gorgeous in my Instagram, and got better highlighted with no shadows, but I lost my possibility of expanding on a large surface ( to avoid darkness, which perhaps I could change with some type of scrap paper). But shadows will be always there. Is that so bad, really? I do not love cookies being framed inside a light box for my big orders. Is it really necessary to change the dark background? If I use a background, for example a piece of paper with white wood printed on it, what should I put in between my cookie and that paper surface so it does not get stained from the butter in the cookies? Sometimes I ask myself, why have we all got to photograph on a clear surface? Doesn't this make all of us equal where we should strive to stand out? If the context or background is neutral, why should we move away from the dark types? LOL, is the background really important?
SIL - I think you should choose the background you like. I mean, after having baked and decorated all those cookies, you should arrange them the way you like the most. They are an expression of you and your art. The picture is part of the process, in my humble opinion; otherwise every time you look at that picture, you will regret it, because it is not what you really wanted. I leave my cookies on paper towels so part of the butter bleeding is absorbed, and I will have less stains on the background. Otherwise, I put some acetate cut in the same shape of the cookie under the cookie to protect the background. But as you sell your cookies, I think you should do none of that.
Manu - what did you mean by "But as you sell your cookies, I think you should do none of that" in your answer to Sil, above? Wouldn't she still want to do those things if photographing the cookies she is selling?
Just 4 more advance questions in hold. But I'll pause here a bit so Manu can answer my live question! Sorry if I caught you off guard, Manu!
JULIA-I meant that she shouldn't put them on paper too much, to risk to ruin their fragrance, or manipulating them too much
Got it, thanks!
What about shadows, should they really be eliminated?
SIL - I hate shadows too, especially when I take pictures of my 3-D cookies. But I just use my phone and natural light and I don't like filters that much...
I am not able to use filters that much
I hate shadows on 3-D cookies too. I am by no means a photo expert, but I also use natural light. But I also use big white boards as reflectors to bounce light into shadowy spots to even out the lighting.
But I also = And I also
Also, Manu, I am changing the name of my cookie business, so when I asked the graphic designer what colour I should now use for the square I put in my publications, she told me I should not use them - just my name and that is all, as all the attention should be drawn to the photograph of the product itself. What do you think about that since I love my squares? I have attached this photo as an example. Should I avoid using text on its side to avoid this (the square)?
JULIA-Yes but sometimes their are there in the pic anyway!!!
the shadows
Sometimes they are nice, if they help to set the mood. But when shadows obstruct the detailing on a cookie (or when too much light overexposes other parts), I find it necessary to even out the lighting with reflector boards.
And, after that brief aside, here's Manu's answer to Sil's last question . . .
SIL - You sell your cookies, so I think you should do what helps sell them, and the graphic designer is there to advise you in the best way. The cookies are the stars; all the attention should be drawn by them. But I love the text close to the cookie; it catches my attention. But again, this is my humble opinion... and I like to add frames too . Usually when I take pictures, I do it in a way that I know exactly where I want my name and in what size. I know, I am crazy.
Phew! We're through the advance questions! We had a lot. Onto the live, fresh ones now. Please, everyone, just ask ONE QUESTION PER POST NOW. It is very hard to read and answer a bunch when in the same post. Thanks!
Hi Manu, it's lovely to have a live chat with you. Hoping that we'll meet in person one day. I'm especially amazed how you get inspiration from what you have seen and where you have been and turn those memories and experiences into beautiful cookies. Remember how I got to know you? A cookie set which you've been inspired by Blue Mosque in Istanbul. They were lovely... I also admire your free hand cookie cutting. I would like to try free hand cutting, especially letters, but unsure how to do it. I don't know where to start. Would you like to give some advices on this please?
LASHAY- Well chilled dough and sugar craft knife, that’s it! I like very much hand cutting, and I really hope it want be annoying for people reading my tutorials.
LASHAY- I like handcutting because I can really make the project I like
Hi, everyone! Hi, Julia and Manu! Dear Manu, you are special, as a person for the first thing; your works reflect absolutely the way you are: professional and very sweet all together. Many interesting questions have been done. In fact, I am just enjoying the chat aside as well. Watching your amazing tutorials it seems you have done this work for your whole life. You really have a natural talent in this and of course you are a very original and talented cookier. I am glad that Julia has chosen you as CC (Cookie Connection) tutorialist. I can't wait to see your next project! I wish you all the best in your cookie career (I see teaching in your future too because you are the right person to teach: patient, sweet and professional) and in your private life, and I hope to meet you very soon in person again! ❤️
LASHAY- That would be possible only for small cookie project though
Hi, Evelin! Thanks for the lovely words.
We are out of questions now, so those watching on the sidelines need to get cracking on question-writing! Please send some along. We have 15 more minutes on the chat, and surely can answer a few more. Thanks!
It's a pleasure to be here Julia! And don't annoy us, you enchant us! 😂
EVELINDECORA-Thank you my dear teacher I have learn so much from you! I am receiveing so many nice words tonight, , thank you ladies!
Any questions, anyone? I know we've already covered a lot, but there must be something else!
Okay, some from me.
What have you discovered so far about the "cookie culture" in Dubai? How does cookie decorating there differ from what was happening in Italy?
I must say I have learned so much from you too! You are amazing! You are an encyclopedia of everthing: photo tips, cookies, polymer clay and anything craftsy! Love you ^^
Kristine - thanks for your question. Just waiting to post it 'til after Manu answers the last one!
JULIA-I moved here at the beginning of July and I avoided to go out as the heat was umbereable. I follow some people on Instagram that make cookies in the UAE. I also found out and visited to amazing cake decorating shops, so I assume there is an interest this way.
Hi Manu, Julia! Thanks for this chat! I agree with Evelin, the only difference is that I never met Manu in person. I wish we meet one day. I love everything you do here on CC.
And then recently Marta Torres and Dolce Sentire came here to give classes, I missed them for few daays
last April
Well, I hope the heat eases up so you can explore the cookie world some more. I'd love to one day learn more about the differences you see between cookie decorating in these two places.
As a baker I experience sheer pleasure when I see the reaction people have in eating my goodies. But when they see such beautiful cookies, they hesitate to bite into them. How and what do you do to encourage people to fully enjoy the cookies you make with all their senses? Not just for "eye candy."
Yes, now it is much better, I can't wait to start exploring
Hi Zara!
10 more minutes in the chat, everyone. There's still time for a couple of questions!
Just waiting for Manu to answer Kristine before we get to the next two questions. I'm going to extend the chat a few minutes to make sure we can get to them. I hope that is all right for everyone, especially Manu?
Manu, not sure if you saw Kristine's question, so posting it again here: As a baker I experience sheer pleasure when I see the reaction people have in eating my goodies. But when they see such beautiful cookies, they hesitate to bite into them. How and what do you do to encourage people to fully enjoy the cookies you make with all their senses? Not just for "eye candy."
Just did a member search here, and it looks like there are about 20 members on CookieConnection from UAE... just FYI ...
Thanks, swissophie! Good to know - hopefully Manu can use that info to quickly meet some cookie friends!
KRISTINE-It is strange to hear sometimes "are they cookies?" I try to use soft colors for cookies for my friends, in Italy we are not anyway used to strong colors, but they say it is a pity to eat them. I told them that the photo will last forever and to enjoy them
Hi, all! Hi, Julia and Manu 😊! Most of my questions have already been answered, but I’m wondering how much time on average you need to plan and put together a tutorial? They all are super fabulous and look so involved! Thanks so much for all of your work!!!
SWISSOPHIE- It takes me a whole week to work on a tutorial, the perfect picture takes so much time and I take a lot of pics, plus there is the time spent on thinking, that i can't quantify as it keeps playng in my mind during the month
Again, I so appreciate the incredible amount of time you spend on them; it certainly shows in their quality!
I hate when people say "too good to eat". Yes, it's cookie art but also edible... Some of the cookies I see are really a piece of art, taking lots of time and effort. Almost impossible to dare to eat. What do you think about these cookies? Should cookies be for art or for eating?
What I do once I am sure about the design is to sketch every step and the pics, so it will be more faster putting it up
Thanks Manu - a friend at work asked me to just bring Oreos to his funeral. I wasn't sure how to take that??? It's been a pleasure learning from you - must get ready to go punch in the old time clock. Best of luck - Thank you for taking time out of your schedule for us, Manu & Julia.
Thank you Kristine
Manu - Did you see La Shay's second question, about two posts up. It's the next one for you.
I'm copying her question again here: I hate when people say "too good to eat". Yes, it's cookie art but also edible... Some of the cookies I see are really a piece of art, taking lots of time and effort. Almost impossible to dare to eat. What do you think about these cookies? Should cookies be for art or for eating?
Lashy- Yes I agree totally! I like both kind though. I like challenge myself with Practice bakes perfect and I like also simply cookies to be eaten like the Nautical platter
I do want to add that your tutorials are amazing! It's obvious a lot of time and effort goes into them. We're lucky to have you as a contributor!
Not to eat decorated cookies because they are too pretty might be just an excuse to not have to eat them because of too much sugar and artificial food coloring? It's the reason I rather toss my cookies than eat them... yeah, I know, I have the wrong hobby !
Hi! I open my eyes and follow the chat (it is midnight here). Manu do you have any favorite cookie cutter material? Some are plastic, some are copper...
Sonja, Christine, Ryoko, thanks for being here! Ryoko, I like metal cutters, but the plastic ones have the cutes shapes
I only make "art" cookies now, as I am no longer in the business of selling cookies (selling the same designs over and over quickly got boring for me). I also feel it's easier to sell classes and to teach multiple techniques at one time when the cookies are more involved. So I think there is room for both simple and complex "art" cookies depending on what you do.
Why do you prefer the metal cutters, Manu? Can you give us more explanation?
You're right, about the plastic ones! I never noticed that.
Cookie Cutter Kingdom has a HUGE selection of very cute cutters. I must say, I tend to prefer the 3-D printed plastic ones. They are somewhat less durable over time, but they are very fixed in shape, whereas many tin ones bend even as you cut with them, thus changing the cookie shape.
Manu, can you please re-post your last remark. You posted it in "whisper" mode so no one but me can see it.
The perfect cut, while plastic cutters tend to last less, at list those that I have. I wish I had a 3D printer
Hi, Manu, I think I've seen mostly sugar cookies in your tutorials. Do you prefer them or would you ever consider gingerbread? I think Julia prefers gingerbread when making dimensional cookies.
SWEET PRODIGY - To clarify what I do: I don’t necessarily prefer gingerbread; I use it primarily because it’s the only recipe from my books that I’ve released for free for public consumption. I don’t want to release all of my recipes for free, as then no one will buy my products. Plus, my gingerbread recipe has been specially formulated to spread minimally without having to refreeze the dough after rolling and cutting it. I roll it chilled, of course, but it requires no other special (and time-consuming) handling. My sugar cookie recipes could be reformulated (tweaked) to behave similarly; I just haven’t done this, for reasons of not wanting to release those recipes more broadly.
Thank you, Julia, I am too sleepy to ask that one. I am glad you did.
Yes Swissophie, that's really bothers me a lot. I love to use royal icing to decorate my cookies. But sugar content and artificial colouring really make me worried especially for children. I wish there was a more healthier option.
I need to learn how to make the gingerbread recipe. I will soon. There is also Crisco available her
La Shay - There are some better natural colorings emerging on the market now, so you now have more options.
Julia, colouring yes but what about the sugar????
LA SHAY - "All in moderation" - that is my philosophy. I ate sugar as a child, more often than I'd like to admit, but I think I ended up okay!
La Shay- yes, color and sugar, but a treat sometimes...
Ryoko- goodnight. ryoko THAnk you for having attended
We have just 3 more minutes in the chat, and since we've already gone over time, I would like to wind down by thanking Manu for her time today - and every month as she prepares her wonderful tutorials. She truly is a terrific asset to this site.
Thank you for this beautiful chat Julia! A big hug to you all...can't wait to see your 'Burj Al Arab' cookie Manu, sounds very interesting!
Not sure about that "Burj Al Arab" reference, but perhaps Manu can let us all know!
Thank you everyone, thanks Julia!
Thanks to all on the chat as well for your terrific questions.
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