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In the Kitchen with... Brittney Haskins
By Carol McGarvey
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Brittney Haskins
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Check out these recipes from Brittney Haskins:

Butter Cream Icing

Royal Icing

Cream Cheese Icing

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Her One Sweet Kitchen business focuses on a universal love of cookies.

“Baking is in my blood,” says Brittney Haskins of Des Moines. Growing up in Adel, she often was on a chair next to her mother, Teresa Wichtendahl, helping and learning as her mom baked.

“It’s funny, though. She never wanted me to help her with decorated sugar cookies. She thought that would be a mess. And that’s, of course, what I focus on now. She created a monster,” Brittney says.

Even from age 8, Brittney had a mega role model besides her mother. “I loved Martha Stewart, and I still do. I was mesmerized by the cover of her magazine that had cut-out snowflake cookies with royal icing. It was magical.” She even met Stewart once when the baking queen was speaking at an event in Des Moines.

Her dad, Kevin, designed a website for his daughter when she was 11 because she was always baking treats for friends.

The baker went to the University of Iowa to major in journalism and international studies and worked in the corporate world for a time. But even on the side, she was often asked to make her sugar cookies for friends and events. She decided she could make a business out of everyone’s love of cookies and pies, so One Sweet Kitchen was born.

Licensed bakery

She is fully licensed as a home bakery and sometimes rents commercial space for especially large orders. “I learned quickly that baked items aren’t just for holidays. Halloween and Thanksgiving are short seasons, and Christmas, of course, can be celebrated all December. Valentine’s Day is a busy time, and bridal and baby showers go throughout the year. Graduation parties are huge cookie times, and Father’s Day is a busy time for pies.”

Corporate orders can be huge. Many companies want cookies made in their logo shape and colors, often for grand openings, corporate events, and client gifts. Her biggest order ever was for 900 cookies for a corporate event.

As a regular standing weekly order, Brittney bakes cookies for Crème Cupcake at 28th and Ingersoll Avenue in Des Moines. “Just as I do, many people just like to pop in to purchase one cookie to eat.”

Her sugar cookies, soft and thick, are the result of adapting and modifying a recipe from the red plaid Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book.

500 cookie cutters

She estimates that she has more than 500 cookie cutters. If she needs something super-specific, such as a logo, a cookie-baking friend has a 3-D printer and can make custom cutters.

It’s also fun to note that there’s a group called Des Moines Cookiers, all cookie bakers. “We literally ‘feed’ off each other,” Brittney says. “We share cookie cutters and ideas. It’s great.”

Besides decorated sugar cookies, her other cookie offerings include Vegan Sugar, Monster, Frosted Pumpkin, Double Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Chip, and Gingersnap. Prices vary from $18 to $36 per dozen.

Pie offerings include French Silk, Apple, Key Lime, Pumpkin, Cherry, Blueberry, Rhubarb, Peach, Pecan, Strawberry Rhubarb, Lemon Meringue, Banana Cream, and Coconut Cream. The cost is $25 for a 9-inch pie.

Buys in bulk

She buys ingredients in bulk. “For example, the other day I bought $200 worth of butter and 150 pounds of flour and sugar.” She has part-time help from a young woman who is a graduate of the culinary program at Des Moines Area Community College. Her husband, Marc, sometimes helps with deliveries. “He got fired, though, from dealing with curling ribbon for individual cookie packages,” Brittney says with a chuckle.

Brittney also has hosted cookie painting classes, much like wine tasting and canvas painting events.

Why does she like cookies? “I’m a cookie person for sure. They are easy to eat, and they are so creative and fun.”

And she still has her loyalties. High on a shelf in her kitchen is a photo of Martha Stewart, always watching over the baking process.

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