Vanilla Pine Baking’s specially-designed cookies to celebrate the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta. Courtesy photo
Christin Whitton designs cookies for all occasions including engagements and weddings. Courtesy photo
BY MAIRE O’NEILL
Christin Whitton (neé Stradling) was born at Los Alamos Medical Center and lived in White Rock for the majority of her childhood, except for a six-year stint in Washington, DC. In 2014, she returned to Los Alamos with her husband and oldest two children.
“I have loved to bake since childhood. I especially enjoyed making angel food cakes, and went through dozens of eggs at a time as I perfected my technique. When I was 11, I took samples of cookies and bread around my neighborhood in Vienna, Virg., along with a flyer carrying the catchy tag line ‘Are You Too Busy to Bake?”’, Whitton said. “My mother supplied the ingredients, helped me with the baking and allowed me to keep all of the money – pretty much an ideal business situation for me.”
Whitton said she has continued to bake throughout her life. She used to make doughnuts and cinnamon rolls for her high school friends. She experienced an extended sourdough bread obsession while living outside of London with two small children during her husband’s graduate school experience.
“I fell down the beautiful rabbit hole of royal icing decorated sugar cookies about a year ago. I love how they look, how they taste, and the extensive process of designing and decorating them,” she said.
Whitton noted that mixing colors, experimenting with icing consistencies, testing recipes and trying new techniques are all exciting parts of the process.
“The process starts with the design, often including making my own cookie cutters, and can stretch over 3-4 days. Because of their time-consuming nature, one dozen cookies starts at $60/dozen,” she said.
If there’s a theme out there, Whitton can produce cookies that match. With the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta in full swing, she has designed some cookies to note the occasion. Of course, Halloween is a time when she can let her imagination go crazy and she has all kinds of amazing treats planned.
Whitton said the New Mexico cottage food laws were quite restrictive up until the Homemade Food Act passed last March.
“It went into effect on July 1 and I put out my shingle as soon as I could after that. I chose the name Vanilla Pine Baking for my business after the beautiful ponderosas all over in our community. There is absolutely nothing that compares with their fragrance,” she said.
Whitton said royal icing sugar cookies are an absolute joy to make and she is happily leaning into the creation of fall and winter cookies. To see examples of her work and order custom cookies, go to https://vanillapinebaking.square.site. You can also follow Whitton on Instagram @vanillapinebaking and on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/vanillapinebaking or reach her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A bucket of ghost cookies for Halloween. Check out the details on Vanilla Pine Baking’s Facebook page. Courtesy photo
More Halloween-themed cookies by Vanilla Pine Baking. Courtesy photo
A selection of cookies designed and created for a dentist’s birthday. Courtesy photo