Get Your Sugar Fix with These Sweet Treats

With the holidays right around the corner, baking season will soon be upon us. Whether you enjoy the challenge of doing it yourself or prefer to have an expert do it for you, the plethora of bakers in Kingsport have got you covered.

We asked a few of these confectionery connoisseurs to share their tips for creating delicious desserts. Read on to learn what the pros recommend for making your sweet treats the talk of every holiday gathering!

Cookie Queen

Jess Bertasso is a mom of six with a serious cookie addiction. 

After baby four, she felt the desire to have an outlet for her creativity. So she started her own business – Sugar Cookie Momster.

“I love making my vanilla sugar cookies,” she said. “There are a lot of memories making these cookies with my mom, who got the recipe from her mom.”


What’s the biggest mistake people make when decorating cookies?

The biggest mistake people make is having more tools than they have skills. When you’re first starting out, it is so tempting to buy all the fun tools and gadgets that are available.  

When it comes to decorating cookies though, it is about having a delicious and stable cookie that can take the weight of the icing, it is about having the right consistency icing, and it is about a small handful of tools: piping bags, a scribe, and cookie cutters. You can buy the other tools as you learn new skills.

Are sugar cookies the easiest to decorate?

Thicker cookies that have good structure, like sugar cookies, are the easiest to decorate, but that doesn’t mean you’re stuck with vanilla. I’ve seen just about every flavor of sugar cookie. I’ve found chocolate and snickerdoodle recipes that are perfect for decorating and I sometimes offer around the holidays.

Can you give us 3 tips/tricks to achieve a professional look?

  1. Having the right consistency in your icing
    This is one of the hardest things to learn. You want thicker icing for creating crisp edge details. You want thinner icing to flood areas you have outlined so it settles into a smooth finish. Too loose and it is running off the side of your cookie. Too thick and your hand will cramp before you get anything done – that is if the piping bag doesn’t burst first.

     

  2. Plan out your cookie
    We all know we need to plan, and cookies are no different. Before I even start baking, I trace my cookie cutters onto a sketch book. I try and fit all the cookies I will have in the set on one sheet. Then I start drawing and designing the set. As I sketch I’m figuring out what colors I want, what techniques I want to use, and really start to create steps for how I will decorate. I always use pencil because I have a lot of different ideas that I explore before I settle on the final design.

     

  3. Practice
    Everything takes practice to get better. There are so many great “cookiers” (that’s what we call ourselves). Check Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok; find others that you like and learn from them. When you’re decorating cookies, bake extras for practice. You can always scrape off mistakes from your practice cookies.

Is there a recipe you can share? 

This isn’t my recipe, but it is a popular and basic recipe to get started. Georganne Bell, also known as Lilaloa, is also a great baker to follow, watch, and learn from.

Lilaloa’s Sugar Cookie Recipe

Interested in ordering from Sugar Cookie Momster?  

Hopefully these tips can give you a head start with your holiday cookies. But if baking isn’t your specialty, you’re in luck – Sugar Cookie Momster offers year-round treats.

For the upcoming season, Jess has 24-day advent calendars, personalized stockings, and several cute treats for your “Elf on the Shelf.”

Follow her on Instagram or Facebook @SugarCookieMoMster, or visit sugarcookiemomster.com.

Cake Master

Ava Wetherington started baking when she was 12. A woman at church saw what she had made for a friend’s birthday and was interested in ordering something similar. 

From there, more people kept ordering, and Ava started the Swingset Bakery.

What’s the biggest mistake people make when decorating cakes?

So many people overthink decorations. Some can be very elaborate, but I honestly always love simple and classic looks. And I’ve realized a lot of other people feel the same way. 

What’s your favorite cake to make?

I like classic flavors and elegant designs. Some of my most popular flavors are chocolate-covered strawberry, red velvet, peanut butter chocolate, and pistachio.

Can you give us 3 tips/tricks to achieve a professional look?

  1. Take your time
  2. Practice
  3. And don’t forget it needs to taste good, not just look good!

Can you tell us about your cinnamon rolls? 

My mom and I have been making cinnamon rolls for Christmas every year since I was really little. We like to layer the bottom of the pan with a mixture of butter, brown sugar, and some spices so when you turn them out onto a plate, the caramelized mixture covers the top and sides. It’s a recipe we got from my great-grandmother that she used to make often for their large family to enjoy. 

Is there a recipe you can share? 

Our family makes fresh eggnog every year and it’s delicious. 

Egg Nog

  • 3 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract 
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • Generous pinch of ground clove
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup rum (optional)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg

Over low heat combine the first 4 ingredients. Raise heat to a slow boil then take saucepan off the heat and add the cinnamon stick to steep.

In the bowl of a mixer, combine yolks and sugar until light and fluffy. With mixer on low, temper milk mixture into the egg yolk mixture. Pour back into saucepan and heat on medium for about 5 minutes, stirring gently. Stir in cream, rum (optional), and nutmeg. Serve warm or chilled.

Interested in ordering from the Swingset Bakery?

Ava loves creating custom orders. Each one is individual and special. The pumpkin praline cake with whipped cream buttercream and cinnamon rolls are crowd favorites. Visit @theswingsetbakery on Instagram to place an order. 

New Bakeries in Town

Two new bakeries have just opened in Kingsport – T’s Spilled Milk Bakery and Uptown Family Bakery.

Tiffany Trent, who owns T’s Spilled Milk Bakery, invites everyone to come down and try her baked goods. 

She recommends the mini cheesecakes, which are small, bite-sized artisan cheesecakes decorated with cute toppings. But her favorite is the handmade eclairs. The bakery will be taking holiday orders for pies, mini cheesecakes, and other desserts. 

Check out T’s Spilled Milk Bakery for more dessert ideas or to place an order.  

Just like the name states, Uptown Family Bakery is a family-owned operation. Lynette, Jacqueline, and Israelle work together to create a delicious experience for their clients. 

Israelle recommends the cream cheese rolls (especially the Kingsport cream cheese roll), Oreo cookie whoopie pies, lemon cookies, and specialty cakes. Several desserts will be available for the holiday season including apple pie, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, sweet potato pie, and rum cake. 

Visit Uptown Family Bakery for more information. 

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