“Cookies are my life.”
That quote could be attributed to any one of us, but this week, those words were uttered by none other than the cookie queen herself, Emily Hutchinson.
On today’s episode of the L.A. Weekly Podcast, host and Publisher Brian Calle, along with Food Editor Michele Steuven, chats with Emily about all things baking.
Emily has built a brand around her expertise in creating and decorating cookies, as both a bestselling author of Creative Cookie Decorating and a regular on Hallmark’s Home and Family, including a seat as a judge on Hallmark Drama’s Christmas Cookie Matchup. Her YouTube channel has over 3 million views, and her Instagram – cleverly titled “@the_hutch_oven” – has a loyal following of 113K.
Most of us, even cake-hating Brian, like cookies. But how does someone turn a beloved dessert into a career?
“It started when I was little – way back when I was five – my grandma taught me how to bake in the kitchen,” reminisces Emily. “It was just so special and so fun and I caught on so fast. Being in the kitchen was like my place, we baked for everything – all sorts of desserts, breads, pies, she was the most incredible baker ever. She actually passed away when I was about 12 and so baking was really hard for me after she passed away and I put it on the back burner.”
Emily grew into adulthood, fell in love, and married her husband Mike. Soon after they welcome their daughter Reese and son Nick, who were elated to become big siblings to little Jennifer Louise, lovingly nicknamed Jenny Lou. Tragically, Jenny Lou passed away from SIDS before three months of age.
“It was beyond imaginable,” shares Emily, in a heartfelt interview with our hosts. “Every parent’s worst nightmare, beyond imaginable. It was devastatingly painful. I was really broken for a really really long time. Some friends noticed how bad my husband and I were struggling and invited my husband and I to church. And our lives started to change.”
In an effort to find peace and healing, Emily found herself back in the warm embrace of the kitchen once again.
“I started to bake again, I felt so much joy,” she remembers. “I started making buttercream frosted cookie tutorials and people received them like a beautiful gift and started to learn from my videos, and that was so special to me.”
As Emily continued to post, her views shot up and her popularity grew. With a natural knack for teaching, she compiled all her lessons into a book that would become an instant hit: Creative Cookie Decorating.
If her grandma hadn’t had that love and patience with her while teaching, she wouldn’t be the baker she is today. She passes that down to her kids, her followers, and anyone who needs to find the joy and peace she once lost herself.
Her biggest advice for trying things out in the kitchen?
“Always do it three times before you throw it away and say you hate it,” she laughs.
So, why cookies? “I love to bake memories,” she answers confidently. “Cookies are my life.”
Her life-giving cookies are on a recent cover of Bake From Scratch magazine, which is high honors for any baker. “The cookies that are in the magazine are incredible, so it’s really exciting,” she gushes.
She also has a new book coming out in 2021, filled with even more lessons on how to bake and decorate the perfect cookie.
What sets her apart? Her ability to frost, shape and flood with buttercream. While we’ve mastered this on a cake, the ability to do this on a cookie seems like pure magic. We can’t wait to devour her second book and absorb this knowledge for ourselves!