Today I’d like to introduce you to my amazingly artistic cookie friend, Ann Doyle. I met Ann last year when she attended Party McGoo 2: Electric Boogaloo. (What? You didn’t know I give my cookie retreats such “interesting” names?) Ann is a scientist by day, and an extremely talented cookier by night. I found Ann, and the touching story of how she came to be a cookier, inspiring. So without further ado, meet Ann!
Hi fellow cookiers! I am Ann from Atlanta, and am excited about the opportunity to contribute a little something to Arty’s blog.
I was asked to explain how I combine being a biotech scientist by day, and an insomniac cookie artist by night, so here goes! In February of 2016, I was not in a good place. My younger sister and my mom had died within weeks of each other and I was really sinking. Although I had a wonderful husband, a happy home, and a great career (more on that later), I was still just so darned depressed. While going through my FB feed, curled up in bed one day (eating cookies), I happened to see a cookie designed by Arty McGoo. I became fixated on it. My fantastic husband, who was trying hard to help me climb out from that dark place, said “you could do that”. So, after watching a few videos, and a trip (or 5) to Michael’s, I had completed some cute wet-on-wet heart Valentine’s Day cookies. The next thing you know, I’m outta the funk, and into the kitchen. Daily. Nightly. All weekend. I was hooked. God had thrown me a life preserver in the form of powdered sugar, Sugar Veil, a great teacher, and a bunch of other sweet stuff.
Ok, so onto the aforementioned assignment: By day I work for a biotech pharmaceutical company that focuses on new treatments for rare genetic diseases. After college, my graduate school work was in biochemistry, working with storage centers within our cells, and how enzymes can help clear out some of the gunk our cells accumulate, especially in genetically impaired children. So part of being a “curious cookier” (hey, that could be a catchy name for a cookie blog!) involves adjusting ingredients in recipes and concocting new cookie ideas…just the way a biochemist might do in the lab: maybe 1/2 of an extra egg might stabilize volume and leavening while decreasing fluidity. Or, if I use potassium chloride (fake salt) vs sodium chloride (salt), will there be a change in texture/flavor/outcome (NERD!)? And, for me, being an insomniac simply allows me to cookie constructively into the quiet, peaceful wee hours INSTEAD of lying in bed, counting Sweet Sugarbelle or Lilaloa sheep cookies. So, there you go. Biotechie by day, insomniac cookie artist by night.
I’m grateful for my husband, my career, the cookie community (and learning from all of you), and my new passion for creating tasty, creative (sometimes kind of weird) treats for family and friends. I don’t market/sell my creations: I do look for people who might need an emotional lift, and ship them cookies in hopes of helping them come out of their dark places as well-it’s my ministry (hey! another idea for a cookie blog title: “The Compassionate Cookier!).
Thank you for reading my story. If you’d like, please follow me @cookiewenches. Here are a few examples of my late night happy scientist cookie lab creations (the cookies in the bottom photo were influenced by Arty):