CHENNAI: Thin lines of sugar dangle from the piping bag to the cookie. Quick, confident and rapid strokes quickly cover the dough with colour. A cartoon of the DC superhero Wonder Woman looks back at you and the only thing preventing you from sinking your teeth into the delicious treat is how cute it looks.
From Harry Potter to your favourite football teams to tiaras to Hey Duggee characters, Sweet Heavens! offers cookies in all shapes, sizes, colours and designs. Although it was officially established in December 2018, this has been a pet project of founder Sonali Philip for over two years now, after leaving her job as an HR consultant.
“I was familiar with baking, as I did a lot of it while growing up with my sister and mom, but never took it seriously, not to the extent of establishing a brand, starting a business and selling products,” said the mompreneur. Some of Sonali’s beautiful off-beat cookies are inspired by TV shows like Adventure Time and Peppa Pig, movies like Moana, and unicorns and puppies. She also designs cookies based on events like a baby shower or a wedding.
Each cookie is hand-piped with royal icing and left to dry overnight so that they remain firm in all weather conditions. “Some people don’t get why cookies are expensive. Everything is custom-made, from the shape to the colours. I put in so much effort, love and dedication into each one. I want people to experience the wow factor every time they take a bite, hence the name Sweet Heavens!,” said Sonali, who gets orders from customers in US, UK and across India.
The process is as fascinating to Sonali as the finished product. Using differently-coloured royal icing, usually with custom colours for each client, is one of her favourite pastimes. Other techniques like stamping different shapes onto the cookies, or designing with edible food colours or airbrushing also bring her joy. She is entertained by the amount of fun one can experience with just a small piece of dough.
Each cookie is designed after a discussion with the client about their requirement. She helps clients come up with designs based on the occasion. She sketches out the tentative look of the cookie and sends it to the client for approval before starting the baking process. “I consider it a privilege to be a part of their celebrations. What I make affects people, and they are amazed and happy to see something pretty and edible. Sweet Heavens! needs to grow from a one-woman army to many but it will take a while. It also helps that I run my business out of my home as I don’t have to worry about security or spending time away from my kids. I love every aspect of my job right now,” said Sonali.