She turned her hobby into a business
It was Valentine’s Day when a then six-year-old Sophie Collins recalls first getting her hands in the dough.
Collins loved it.
Her mother had just taken a baking class and was putting it to use. Collins’ teachers got freshly baked cookies. As she got older, she also started baking them for parties before receiving the invite to make 60 cookies for a wedding shower.
“It seemed like a lot of cookies at the time,” she said. “I said, ‘I can do that’ and it was the event that opened the door.”
The Destrehan resident got her name out there, lending to her sweet hobby fast becoming a business called Sophie’s Sweets. She has a website and it’s helped her grow.
Although Collins is in her senior year at Nicholls State University toward getting her degree as a dietician, she’s still baking cookies for Café! Café! locations on Clearview Parkway and North Hullen in Metairie.
“I brought six or so and let them taste them,” said the 24-year-old.
They dropped their other cookie maker and went with her cookies.
She also does parties, events and weddings, but she likes the consistent weekly order (up to 10 dozen cookies) that comes with the cafes.
Overall, she bakes and sells about 16 dozen cookies a week.
Collins has a kitchen in a separate two-story building at her parents’ home in Destrehan. Her father’s office is on the second floor, but below their daughter bakes the cookies.
“It’s nice,” she said. “I can have my own space and I’m out of my mother’s way in the kitchen.”
Space is also important since she has six siblings.
But in her kitchen, Collins focuses on perfecting her successful cookie recipe, which she has doctored up for the nearly eight years she has made them.
“The only thing I can say is it’s a really good recipe,” she said. “And I have a different technique. Many people roll the cookie in flour but that dries them out once they’re baked.”
Collins’ secret is plastic wrap.
Rather than use flour, she rolls out her dough in plastic wrap and this has kept her creations moist. But she’s also learned through trial and error that using quality ingredients makes a better product, which also responds better to the weather.
“Sometimes the cookies come out perfect and sometimes the icing looks all smeared,” Collins said. “I learned that in cooler weather it’s drier. I got a dehumidifier and that helped.”
But what keeps her baking, even as she approaches her career as a dietician, is the creative side of her cookie designs. Decorating them for a particular event is fun, and she likes doing it even it means putting that design on 500 cookies, which has happened and took a week to get done.
“I do see myself doing it after school, which has been my main source of income,” Collins said. “I can see myself continuing to do it after college because it’s so easy to do.”