Cookie Swap - It's Pretty Sweet Cookie Book Cover Buy it! Cookie Book Cover Buy it!

"This really is the ULTIMATE cookie book. Whimsical, elegant, colorful, and creative!! What more could you ask for? You will not be disappointed.”

Colette Peters

Celebrity Cake Decorator; Owner, Colette's Cakes


Sep 16, 2014 2:58am

Julia Usher baking in her home kitchen
Noshes and Notions

Climbing Cookies :: Photo by Steve Adams

A Cookie Coming-Out:
Cookies Debut as the Life of the Party!

Ka-ching! Ka-ching! Not familiar with that sound? Well then, you’re as lucky as a kid in a candy shop, because most of us can recognize the sound of the cash register tallying up party damages from miles away.

There’s no denying: Throwing a party can burn a hole clear through your pocketbook by the time you add up the food and drink, not to mention the invitations, flowers, favors, and countless other party accoutrements. That’s why I’m always seeking ways for my party sweets, particularly cookies, to double as party décor. Cookies have a relatively long shelf life compared to cakes, so they’re ideal for dressing up and displaying beforehand, sampling throughout the party, and then handing out as keepsakes as guests leave.

Skeptical that a cookie can be eye candy, food, and favor all at the same time? Don’t be. Let me show you how I’ve taken cookies out of the box (and off their traditional plates) and made them the life of many a party . . .

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Suggestion of Summer :: Julia M. Usher

Hello, Summer!
An Easy Party For An Unexpected Arrival

Normally I’m not one to relish the unexpected house guest, but when summer descended on my little island home-away-from-home of Stonington, Maine fully three weeks ahead of schedule, I embraced the convergence of seasons with a giant bear hug - and a celebratory party, of course. (Did you expect anything less?)

After all, how often does one get to enjoy baby rhubarb stalks and the full blush of beach roses at the same time? Or inhale sweet lilacs along with salty gusts from passing bait trucks? Yes, it seemed that even the lobstermen, the best prognosticators of the changing tides, had been caught off guard. Thrust into a sudden race to drop their traps, they buzzed by our house on Memorial Day at a pace typically reserved for prime fishing time.

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Table Set for My Favorite Magazine :: Photo by Julia M. Usher

Tea Time:
Behind-the-Scenes at My Tea Party Shoot for Where Women Cook Magazine

Even though I’ve been food-styling for publications for a few years, it’s not everyday that a national magazine emails to say they want to photograph me doing my cookie thing.

Usually I’m hired to make someone else’s food or space look camera-ready. It’s fun, but there’s little glamour in it for me. While others get coiffed and prettied, I’m the one who buzzes behind the scenes, unkempt except for two thick schmears of under-eye cover stick and a manicure chipped by excessive prop-lifting.

So when Where Women Cook Editor Jo Packham asked me last fall if I’d like to be featured, I nearly lost my dragées - and you cookie decorators know how dangerous that can be . . .

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