a peek inside the fishbowl

29 Nov, 2008

More about those cookies

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Ottawa|Photography|Recipes and Food

I have had several deadlines this week, some company (more about that later) and am finally caught up. I can finally tell the story behind the cookies. Phew!

If you followed the comments in that post you probably figured out those cookies weren’t actually made by yours truly.

Awhile back I saw that regular Fishbowl reader Karen started her own home-baking business called Sugarplum Fairy Homebaking. It tweaked my interest, not only because I like to support local mom-run businesses, but because I kind of hate baking. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy cooking and baking bread, but baking batches of Christmas cookies is not something I truly enjoy.

There are several reasons for this:

(1) I don’t have the patience. Rolling, cutting, decorating and icing, ugh!
(2) I don’t have very many good (read: idiot-proof) recipes. I FEAR THE COOKIES.
(3) Shopping for butter and sugar and flour, and then cleaning up bits of butter and sugar and flour that get strewn all over our tiny kitchen and stuck to the bottoms of my socks? In a word: depressing.
(4) When Cookies Don’t Turn Out They Go in the Garbage and this is a Dreadful Waste of Time and Butter

But there was Karen! Like a little ray of homebaked sunshine! Offering her cookies for sale at reasonable prices!

I made her an offer to trade photography for cookies. A pretty sweet (haha) deal, don’t you think?

When Karen came over here to drop off her goods for the photoshoot I learned that I’m the first bloggy friend Karen has ever met in real life!  I think I freaked her out A LITTLE BIT simply because I STARTED TALKING AND WOULD NOT SHUT UP. I think the thought of all those cookies was giving me a premature sugar high.

Karen was perfectly delightful AND she brought us lattes from Bridgehead.

We chatted. She left. And I was left to my own devices with a kitchen counter full of cookies.

This photoshoot was probably my most challenging. I used an oldskool macro lens which is NOT auto-focus. It was manual all the way. There was more setup (I now have a better understanding of food styling) and I also had to take a lot of extra care with focusing. (I think I need to get my eyes checked. I actually found it more difficult to do this than ever before. Ack!)

I spent several hours taking the photos, and then some more time going through the photos in Photoshop and uploading them for her review. By the end of it I was ABSOLUTELY DYING TO EAT A COOKIE. I didn’t dare nibble until I got word from her that the photos were okay. (It was torture.)

Here’s what she brought over :

Bishop’s Hats

Bishop's Hats

Caramel Pecan Cookies

Caramel Pecan cookies

Cherry Squares

Cherry Squares

Chocolate Mint Truffle Cookies

Chocolate Mint Truffle Cookies



Gumdrop Jewels

Gumdrop cookies

Marble Discs

Marble Disks

Caramel Toffee Squares

Caramel Toffee Squares

Chocolate Truffles

Chocolate Truffles



Drooling yet?

My favourite was a five-way tie between the cherry squares, the truffles, the shortbread, the caramel pecan things and the toffee squares.

You know what is the best thing? Her prices are totally on the mark and YOU CAN PRETEND YOU DID THIS BAKING ALL BY YOURSELF. She promises she won’t tell. Ever. So go check it out.

13 Responses to "More about those cookies"

1 | mrsgryphon

November 29th, 2008 at 11:36 pm


wow – does she any fantastic baker-friends in Alberta?! So delicious looking, thanks in part to your awesome photography!

2 | porter

November 30th, 2008 at 12:51 am


beautiful! beautiful cookies and beautiful pictures. nice trade, i love that the most.

3 | BeachMama

November 30th, 2008 at 8:03 am


Fantastic. Both your photography and her cookies. The last three years I have been doing boxes of cookies for Hubby’s work, last year I did close to 2000 cookies! This year I hope to scale back a bit as I found some smaller boxes. My girlfriend suggested I sell them, but I thought, who would buy my cookies?? Now I know :).

4 | smothermother

November 30th, 2008 at 8:09 am


So excited for Karen that you liked the cookies. An endorsement from you is huge, considering your reader base in Ottawa. I for one will be ordering a pie and perhaps some cookies. And the photography, well it goes without saying.

5 | Natalie

November 30th, 2008 at 11:08 am


Omg Andrea how did you restrain yourself from not eating those delicious little morsels of pure yuminess? You are a stronger woman than I.

6 | Shan

November 30th, 2008 at 1:17 pm


This is the kind of stuff I love best about the blogosphere! Great trade. The pictures are mouth watering!

7 | Marla

November 30th, 2008 at 9:09 pm


Josie and I were the company, and we did get cookies, and they were teh awesomest.

8 | Lex

November 30th, 2008 at 10:17 pm


Beautiful photography and great styling. I’m blown away (not surprised mind you). WRT your comment about focusing, I’ve been having similar issues for the last couple of years and it makes macro photography that much more a joy and a misery. A mystery sometimes too, since you don’t always know what you’ll get out the other end. The caramel pecan cookie shot is true food porn.

9 | Kindred-Spirit

December 1st, 2008 at 5:50 pm


Hello from Australia.

I’m new to your blog. I ‘hopped’ my way over from JavaMom’s. I’m glad I visited the fishbowl.

A great post. My two favourite things combined into one. Cookies AND photography. I am very envious of this project of yours.

I don’t suppose Karen has an Australian counterpart?


Wonderful job on the photos.

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas!! Hurray.

10 | This is what I did for most of Friday >> a peek inside the fishbowl

February 28th, 2009 at 12:44 pm


[…] This fresh, delicious, melt-in-your-mouth slice of Key Lime goodness can be yours!* Karen from Sugarplum Fairy is the home-baking master. I had the good fortune of taking a second round of baking photos for Karen but this time the focus was on pies and squares. (Remember last time?) […]

11 | 25 days of Christmas: days 7 - 9 >> a peek inside the fishbowl

December 12th, 2009 at 9:35 am


[…] time and some baking (although to what extent, I’m not sure yet.) The girls still miss “the cookie lady” and ask whether or not I’m going to be photographing cookies this year or […]

12 | Hilda

October 21st, 2012 at 6:57 pm


where are the recipes for these cookies?

13 | andrea

October 23rd, 2012 at 12:39 pm


I don’t have them Hilda, sorry. These are from a photography job. :)

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The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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