In the Kitchen With: Meaghan Mountford of The Decorated Cookie

| Mar 11, 2010 Food & Party

  • The Family

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    meaghan mountford

    Meaghan with her husband, Greg, and daughter, Maeve. (Photo by Jonathan L. Kang of Infinite Monkey Theorem.)

    This is our family: My husband, Greg, myself, and our 2-year old, Maeve. The three cats are hiding in the basement.

    I'm from New Jersey, but I've lived in Washington, DC my entire adult life. I was a cookie decorator for 10 years, during which time I also earned a couple of Master's degrees. Greg is a lawyer for the government and an army reservist. Maeve is hilarious, demanding, and way too smart.

  • The Blog

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    cookie pops

    "Space Invaders", featured in Cookie Sensations. (Photo by Jason Keefer.)

     

    I'm best known for my decorated cookies. Here in DC, you're often surrounded by government employees, lawyers, lobbyists, and politicos, so when I say I'm a cookie decorator, I'm an instant novelty. And it's a good party trick to try and come up with an item I've NOT put on a cookie—gin and tonics, dishwashers, canoes, space aliens, T-bone steak with baked potatoes, human organs (both internal and external)—all done on cookies!

    But while I'll put anything you name on a cookie, I rarely have anything that complicated on the decorated cookie. Not only is it time-consuming to create intricate designs in a home kitchen without the resources of a commercial kitchen, but simpler designs are more user-friendly for my readers. 

  • The Kitchen

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    meaghan mountford's kitchen

    Meaghan's kitchen. (Photo by Jonathan L. Kang of Infinite Monkey Theorem.)

    I've never ever had a nice kitchen. Until now. We bought a fixer-upper last fall and needed to replace the kitchen quickly. While we had little time to plan a dream space, I have all kinds of lovely things in my new kitchen...[cont. on next slide]

  • The Kitchen

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    meaghan mountford's kitchen

    Meaghan's kitchen. (Photo by Jonathan L. Kang of Infinite Monkey Theorem.)

    ...like appliances (I haven't had a dishwasher in 20 years.) And I have subway tile. And a sink with a curved faucet. And dish towel curtains from Anthropologie.

  • The Kitchen

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    meaghan mountford's kitchen

    Meaghan's kitchen. (Photo by Jonathan L. Kang of Infinite Monkey Theorem.)

    Our former row-house had 12 inches of counter-space. I made hundreds of cookies for my book, Cookie Sensations, by rolling out tiny pieces of dough and cutting out two cookies at a time.

    Now, I have actual square footage, not inches, for rolling cookie dough. My KitchenAid mixer, bowls, and rolling pin can live on the counter within reach and never need to be stowed elsewhere.

  • The Kitchen

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    meaghan mountford's kitchen

    Meaghan's kitchen. (Photo by Jonathan L. Kang of Infinite Monkey Theorem.)

    And I can store my flour and sugar (and much-needed coffee) on the open shelving above.

  • The Kitchen

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    chalkboard wall

    Chalkboard wall in Meaghan's kitchen. (Photo by Jonathan L. Kang of Infinite Monkey Theorem.)

    Painting the chalkboard wall was one of the first things I did after we moved in. The top is mine, the bottom is Maeve's. It's perfect for jotting notes, shopping lists, recipes, and doodles.

  • The Kitchen

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    cupboard

    Built-in cupboard from Meaghan's kitchen. (Photo by Jonathan L. Kang of Infinite Monkey Theorem.)

    Our house's original 1935 kitchen was not usable, but I begged our contractor to salvage one built-in cupboard that I loved. It was in horrid shape, but I fixed it up and now it's in, well, slightly less horrid shape.

    We moved the piece to the dining room, and it houses all of my baking and cookie decorating supplies, except for my cookie cutters. I have hundreds, so they've been banished to another floor.

  • The Cookies

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    cookie pops

    Swirly sparkly cookie pops, featured on the decorated cookie.

    My mother is a wonderful cook and baker. I grew up helping her mix cookie dough and stir brownies. She still has our pint-sized aprons in her kitchen drawer.

    The single most important quality I learned from my mother is just that: Quality. Real butter, real extracts, real everything. I had never tasted margarine until I went to college. The cookie recipe I use religiously (the same one that's in my book) is from my mother.

  • The Cookies

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    flower cookies

    Red and blue flower cookies, featured on the decorated cookie.

    I adore my magazines for inspiration. I have boxes full of Martha Stewart Living and Better Homes and Gardens from more than 10 years ago. But the boxes are ridiculously heavy, so I wizened up and started clipping recipes and photos from my magazines and storing them in file folders, recycling the rest. And fortunately, I more and more turn to fellow bloggers for inspiration. Bookmarking web pages takes no storage space. 

     

  • Cookies and Beyond

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    marshmallow village

    Marshmallow Village, featured on the decorated cookie.

    Inspiration also comes from necessity. I had never picked up a bag of frosting until I started working as a cookie decorator. When customers came into my former shop, Bundles of Cookies, and made unusual requests—women in yoga poses, Scottish terriers in plaid sweaters, Strawberry Shortcake, you name it—we had to find a way to translate the requests to frosting.

    Likewise, when we were without a kitchen, I had to come up with oven-less ideas for my blog. So I started drawing on marshmallows, and now my marshmallow posts are some of my most popular.

     

  • Cookies and Beyond

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    ice box cake

    Ice box cake, featured on the decorated cookie.

    I have many indulgences, and I don't police them too well, but my favorite is not cookies. It's ice box cake. I love ice box cake. My mom has always made it for special occasions, and I make it for special occasions now. Easy. Decadent. Perfect.

  • The Favorites

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    popcorn cookies

    Popcorn cookies, featured on the decorated cookie.

    I'm the Edible Crafts Editor at Craft Gossip, so searching for great food blogs is part of my daily existence. My favorites are Bakerella, Cakespy, The KitchnSweetopiaI am baker, and Martha Stewart.

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