Over the last year I have immersed myself into the foodie world by meeting and interviewing some of Colorado Springs most talented women in the culinary industry. Through this venture I have also made some wonderful friendships. One of these friends, Liz Deen of Cotton Blossom Caramels, mentioned that I needed to meet Jennifer Choi and try her amazing cookies. Liz said, “Not only are Jennifer’s cookies beautiful, they are delicious!” I am a sucker for a good sugar cookie and made it my mission to reach out to Jennifer so I could meet her and try some samples.
My first impression of Jennifer was that she was warm and approachable. We had arranged to meet at Jennifer’s booth at the Backyard Market. She has set aside some delicious samples for me and was very open to telling me about her creative process. Her seasonal cookie was a caramel apple and it legitimately tasted like apples, caramel, and fall. This was a very pleasant surprise! This was my first experience eating a sugar cookie that was not a basic vanilla sugar cookie recipe. I asked her how she developed her flavors and her answer blew me away. You see, Jennifer has a gluten intolerance. She can’t even eat her own gorgeous cookies! She has and depends on “tasters” to give her feedback on the flavors. (I want this job.) Knowing this information, I realized just how talented Jennifer really is. She really knows flavor and has an innate ability to combine ingredients and create one of a kind flavor profiles. For example, in her caramel apple cookies, she added caramel bits, dehydrated apples, cider, and various spices to perfectly nail the taste. To say I was impressed is an understatement. I suddenly understood and agreed with Liz – her cookies are as delicious as they are pretty.
Tell us about your background.
Although I’ve been baking as a hobby since I was young, I spent most of my career working in accounting and finance. I started my own accounting firm in 2016 and although I was successful in doing so, I didn’t feel the work was fulfilling and the thought of crunching numbers all day for the rest of my life seemed like a dreary fate. I had gotten really into cookie decorating during Covid lockdowns and used the extra time at home to focus on this skill and ultimately decided that I’d be more happy decorating cookies than I would be counting beans. I sold my accounting firm and decided to become a full time cookie artist!
What inspired you to create Craft and Crumbles?
Mostly friends and family encouraged me to sell my cookies and start a business. I was always the crafter, baker and “DIY-er” but when people saw my cookie art, their amazement inspired me to do more and be better. Sharing my work through a small business seemed like the perfect opportunity and the amount of support I continue to receive motivates me to learn and create better and more beautiful work.
What makes your cookie business unique?
My business only has one product. With this one product however, I am able to offer endless possibilities by using it as a canvas for producing unique and personalized designs. Whether it be from standard royal icing work to hand painting or chocolate modeling, I can turn a cookie into a piece of art with meaning and intent.
Do you focus specifically on cookies or do you make other baked goods?
I am admittedly not a very good baker of other things besides sugar cookies! I spent a significant amount of time working on my recipe so that the cookie remains strong enough to stand different design mediums but also tasty enough that people will actually want to eat it! I prefer to hone in on perfecting one product so that it becomes my signature specialty.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your business?
People interpret art in different ways but those who find meaning and inspiration and appreciation for art in the form of my cookies are the ones who make me feel most fulfilled in my work. I often get very lovely notes from my customers who say I was able to bring their vision to life or even that my cookies made them cry – who would have thought a cookie could do such a thing!
Besides your beautiful website, how can we purchase your cookies?
I am a regular vendor amongst the amazing community at the Backyard Market in Black Forest where you can find my decorated cookies and seasonal flavors. You can find my cookies at other local events that I update on my website regularly.
What are your future plans with Craft and Crumble?
I never had any intent to do more than what is Craft and Crumbles at this moment. Every cookie is decorated by hand and I fear larger production may compromise the unique aesthetic I’ve been able to create with my work. For now, I am happy being able to offer my cookies at local events but also be challenged by those customers looking for more personalized, custom work.
What advice would you give a woman thinking of starting a culinary business?
You do not have to have all the answers right now! Having consulted many small businesses through my accounting firm, I find that most new business owners have no idea what they’re doing! As long as you have a product you believe in, everything else will fall into place as you learn and make mistakes throughout the process. Have humility and find those who inspire you so that you can learn from them, ask as many questions as you can and know that success comes from hard work and perseverance through all the ups and downs – there will be many!
Please share any relevant tid bits or a fun story that our readers might like.
The one comment I hear most from people who see my cookies is “It’s too pretty to eat!”. Although I am always flattered by the comment, it truly makes me sad that all the time and effort that went into producing an edible product may never be eaten! Take lots of pictures and EAT. THE. COOKIE. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
While gazing at Jennifer’s socials, I came across some brilliant collaborations, custom orders, and gifts that she has done with some local businesses. I love and appreciate the fact that she is a localist. These not only show support for others but also highlights her ability to fully customize a cookie to meet any theme, event, and/or celebration. I can imagine these cookies put a smile on every business owners face and filled them with pride.
As I stated earlier, Jennifer is not only an amazing cookie chef, she is an artist. She has taken a hobby/passion and turned it into her fulltime career. We can all aspire to be like Jennifer. I love how she said, “You don’t have to have all the answers right now…most new business owners have no idea what they are doing.” That personally gives me more courage and motivation to continue on my own personal journey as a food writer and recipe developer. Figure out what it is that you really want to do and GO FOR IT! And while you are pursuing your dreams, do yourself a favor and order some cookies from Craft and Crumble. You will be so glad you did!