Monday, June 16, 2014

Miette Bakery ... The Fine Art of Cookie Decorating.

On the edge of Oakland, California is a well known location known as Jack London Square. JLS, my abbreviation for the spot, is where locals converge day and night to relax and have fun. Walk the promenade and admire the boats anchored and casually drifting to the silent waves. Turn around and stop by "The Last Chance" for that midnight drink. Turn left and visit countless restaurants that have opened up within the last couple of years. Or, take a walk and see a Soulful show at Yoshi's or see a movie. Or, find the end is near by going to the Fat Lady for that perfect burger. Jack London Square is named after the American Arthor who was known to walk the very same promenade and write. Could he have known that the quaint area would turn into 70 blocks of entrepreneurial spirit, passion and waterfront joy.

Magic happens in JLS every weekend. And on this special weekend I was venturing into unknown territory. Decorating Cookies at Miette Bakery. And boy-oh-boy... I truly didn't know what I was in for. I met the owner, Meagan, while taking French 1A at Piedmont Adult School. By the end of the class Megan revealed a few of the delectable bits from her Shop/Factory in Oakland, by showering us with salted caramel, chocolate sables and the fan favorite at the Ferry Building location in San Francisco, chocolate eclairs.
What is amazing is the ingredients are all natural and organic. Now, having made one desert organically, I bowed down to her creativity and devotion to producing daily a consistent product with temperamental ingredients. How did I not know about this place?
Cookie decorating with Royal Icing sound simple, huh? I'm hear to tell you .... it is not.  But, for those who have a creative, artistic side and love of food will have a great time at this class.
The cookie decorating class is offered during fall and spring for a minimal price compared to the knowledge you gain. Our artist in residence was Jeff Gosche who took his students on a journey of making your own royal icing from scratch, making a handmade piping bag, flooding and so much more.
The part I enjoyed the most was mixing colors to make the perfect yellow for a pear shaped cookie and the red for the perfect apple-red. It's not as easy as it sounds. Mixing the base color red with brown, yellow and a touch of green meant focus, dedication and determination. And, I'm not an artists.
Many tests later, we sampled our wares. Freshly baked cookies were sampled by the participants. By the end of the class I was full and actually had a tooth ache from eating one cookie after another. Good thing I didn't go on an empty stomach. My flooding and decorating wasn't pure genius, but with practice I could get used to decorating cookies for loved ones ... or even doing it for a career. But, what I loved the most of the creativity of making the colors to match the spirit of the cookie.
Find the time to visit Oakland, stroll the Jack London Square and take a class at Miette or sip a glass of wine while watching the sun rays bounce off the water. You'll never forget it.
For details about Miette, the retail store locations and the Royal Icing Cookie Decorating class go to The candies, cookies and pastries are one of the best in the Bay Area.

Remember cooking with love makes any recipe taste better.... and expanding my knowledge of the culinary arts and my skills is life changing.