As much as I prepared before launching Keep It Sweet Desserts, there is so much learning that I’ve done on the job over the last few months. Countless lessons learned, mistakes made, products changed and instances of thinking on my feet. I’ve been mentally making a list but I thought I’d share a few of the more important highlights*.
1) When you do anything for the first time, you won’t get it 100% right. Learn from the challenges and mistakes to do it better next time.
2) There is no one right way. Talk to people and get advice but figure out what is best for you and your business, one strategy does not fit all.
3) But still, talk to people. Take what pieces of advice you can and implement them when and how you can. I talked to someone in marketing a few weeks ago and was overwhelmed by all of the ideas she had because there is no way that I can do everything. However, I picked a few elements that I could act on right away and did that.
4) And along with that, there is ALWAYS more work to do; prioritize, prioritize, prioritize.
5) There is always more work to do, force yourself to take breaks (for me that is out of the kitchen and away from the computer). I spend a lot of my time working from home so whenever I am home I feel like I need to be productive. If I never take a break, I’ll burn myself out and that won’t get my business anywhere.
6) Be patient. Don’t hire people, build kitchens and buy equipment until you are over capacity. I actually learned this in my last job but constantly am reminded of how important it is to be conservative with my growth expectations.
7) Think long term and invest in the future, whether through time, money or people. Find a way to balance this with being patient.
8) Put yourself out there. Send emails, make phone calls, go to networking events. This is something I still need to work on. I’m always afraid of being too pushy, but no one made money waiting for business to show up at their door.
9) Give. The other day I was talking to the CIO of a major company. He is one of the most successful people I know, yet he is also one of the most generous. He is generous with his family, friends, community and colleagues in a way I constantly admire. He said to me, “the more you give, the more you get back.”
10) Stay months ahead of the holidays. Believe it or not, I’m already behind on Valentine’s Day. For someone who is a notorious procrastinator, It is almost a miracle that I’m getting you a Halloween recipe a few weeks in advance.
These cookies are easy and fun to make. I took a simple sugar cookie base and sandwiched it with one of my favorite buttercreams. Plus, I made them mini, which is always fun.
Mini Halloween Confetti Cookie Sandwiches
Makes about 3 dozen cookie sandwiches
13 7/8 ounces (3 cups) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon table salt
13 1/8 ounces (1 3/4 cups) granulated sugar
2 1/8 ounces (1/4 cup packed) light-brown sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
1 extra-large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cups Halloween colored sprinkles
Preheat oven to 350 degrees; line baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt; set aside
In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat together butter and sugars on high speed for several minutes or until mixture is light and fluffy; scrape sides of the bowl with a spatula
Add egg and vanilla and beat on medium speed for a 2 minutes; scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula
With mixer on low, slowly and carefully add the flour mixture; add the sprinkles and mix just until combined; use a spatula to fold the sprinkles completely into the batter
Use a small cookie dough scoop (about 1 tablespoon) to scoop the cookie dough onto prepared baking sheets with each cookie about an inch apart
Bake for 7-9 minutes or until cookies feel slightly firm to the touch
Set cookies aside to cool and prepare filling
Cookies adapted from Martha Stewart
6 tablespoons (3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
2 ounces regular or light cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
26 drops yellow food coloring
13 drops red food coloring
Beat butter and cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer on high speed or until light and creamy
Add 1/2 cup of powdered sugar and mix on low speed for one minute; add remaining sugar, vanilla and food coloring
Mix on low speed for one minute and then scrape the sides of the bowl; beat on high speed for several minutes or until buttercream is light and fluffy
To Make Cookie Sandwiches:
Match cookies in pairs so that each side is about the same size
Spread about 1 teaspoon of frosting on the bottom of one cookie from each pair
Top other cookie and press down lightly
Store cookies in an airtight container up to three days; may be frozen for up to one month
*In no specific order.