Sharmila (Shar) Melwani of Cookies by Shar offers the following Frugal Baking Tips.
Frugal Baking Tips
There are many ways you can save money when baking. Here are some tips I find useful. Enjoy!
1) I like to buy flour in larger quantities (eg. 10 lbs) and with the excess used from a recipe you can put the bag in a Ziploc and then put in the freezer. It not only extends shelf life, but for instance in mixing a basic sugar cookie recipe- cold or frozen all purpose flour can make the dough firm enough to cut cookies out right away as opposed to refrigerating the dough before you cut them out.
2) I use parchment paper a lot. You can actually reuse parchment paper a few times to bake cookies before you throw it out. It is sturdy and holds its consistency for multiple uses. I also use it to roll dough out as in between 2 pieces of parchment and you can store it like this in an airtight bag or container.
3) When rolling out cookies, instead of buying a special cutting board to ensure they are the same height and thickness, you can roll out cookies between 2 ¼ inch thick pieces of wood resembling a ruler on each side. This will allow all your cookies to come out the same thickness and no need to invest in a more common yet expensive solution.
4) Inexpensive craft sticks make a great tool to spread thin glaze or icing on to a cookie. You can get enough control to create the effect you want and at the same time have a disposable and inexpensive tool.
5) For piping icing onto a cookie, you can put some icing into a small Ziploc bag and tie the top with a rubber band. Cut a tiny hole in the bottom and you can pipe letters numbers and other designs directly onto a cookie. Dip in different color decorating sugars and you can achieve dazzling effects.
6) Cookie cutters are readily available at most Craft and cookware stores and are fairly inexpensive. You can find different shapes of cutters for under a $1.00.
7) Adding a tbsp of Sour cream or cream cheese to a basic sugar cookie recipe, can increase its shelf life and make up for the humidity’s effects on the dough or baked cookies.
8) Decorating cookies is a GREAT idea/theme for a birthday party where you can bake sugar cookies and your guests can decorate and take home their own party favors. This is a fun activity for children of any age!
Cookies by Shar, Inc. based in Davie, is taking specialty cookies to a whole new sweet level. Reputed for her intricate and lavishly decorated creations topped with royal icing, owner Sharmila (Shar) Melwani was not only tapped to create a special cookie line sold at all Florida Whole Foods Market stores, but her custom-made delicacies have been requested for prestigious companies such as Ferragamo, BMW and Neiman Marcus for special events, in addition to the South Beach Food & Wine Festival.
A former financial advisor, Melwani started her small customized cookie business in 2004 when she was dissatisfied with cookies she ordered for her daughter’s birthday party. Today, Cookies by Shar is a regional, national and international sensation.
â€œI feel that just like art, food has to appeal to the senses,â€ said Melwani. â€œI’m very particular about the way something looks before I want to eat it it adds a lot to the experience. With each cookie I create, I place a lot of importance on the â€˜wow’ effect.â€
All created in Melwani’s new bakery in Davie, the individually decorated cookies are available in more than 150 exclusive themes, ranging from holiday to princess to wedding/shower. Additional gourmet cookies are offered in varieties such as chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin, as well as the company’s signature chocolate chip cookie pops and brownies.
All Cookies by Shar are made with premium ingredients, and are attractively presented in food-grade cellophane bags (preserving freshness for up to three weeks) and tied with a bow.
â€œCookies gave me a way to express my creativity after having my children,â€ said Melwani. â€œI also love seeing little children decorating cookies, because it gives them so much confidence in their creativity and abilities.â€
With her sweet success, Melwani feels it’s important to give back to help others she donates five percent of all Cookies by Shar proceeds to Share Our Strength, a national non-profit organization that aims to end childhood hunger, and its offspring campaign, The Great American Bake Sale. Cookies by Shar was the only cookie company selected to participate in the upscale 2008 and 2009 Taste of the Nation Miami event, benefiting Share Our Strength.
Baked in her own commercial kitchen in Davie, Cookies by Shar products are available at the new Cookies by Shar bakery, located at 6323 Stirling Road, Davie, 33314; at all Florida Whole Foods Market stores, World Famous Epicure Market in Miami Beach and Sunny Isles and at www.cookiesbyshar.com. For additional information, please call Cookies by Shar at 954.689.2205 or visit www.cookiesbyshar.com.