Cookies are the new cupcake—especially if it’s Christmastime and you can make cookies like Judit CzinknÉ PoÓr can.
PoÓr, an amazing cookie craftsperson from Hungary, started out as a porcelain painter. Her delectable cookie designs look pretty much perfect to us. But she says, “There is no such thing as being perfect. One can always be better.”
Most people ordering from PoÓr’s cookie workshop, Mézesmanna, ask for treats intricately decked with Hungarian folk embroidery patterns. But PoÓr also enjoys painting cookies based on photos of people and animals—very small but intensely lengthy projects.
And after all that work, unbelievably, people actually eat these cookies.
“I can only smile at it,” says PoÓr. “It doesn’t bother me.” She has never bitten into one of her own finished projects . . . yet.
Cookies are—of course—consumable, and that’s precisely how highly artful cookie craft has earned so many adoring fans. Wouldn’t it be delightful to give such a masterpiece to someone you love? And wouldn’t you feel loved if you received one? Imagine someone spending all that time and skill (or paying for it) just for you, knowing you would eat the product! It’s like God inventing a new sunset every day with full knowledge it will give joy for only a few minutes.
PoÓr crafts every single gingerbread by hand, and even makes the gift boxes herself. She usually works alone at home, but occasionally takes the 45-minute trip to her workshop to teach decorating to others.
“People buy from me all year,” she says. Favorite cookie order occasions are birthdays, wedding anniversaries, and the biggest season of sweets—Christmas.
PoÓr says it’s challenging to run her own business. But she trusts God to help her. “Faith means everything for me,” she says. “I feel it's very hard to thrive in life without faith. . . . When there is no hope, people find it difficult to survive. God has been my main support since I was 16 years old. Without Him, I wouldn't be who I am. I got my talent and everything from Him.”
Just how does one learn to craft PoÓr-caliber gingerbreads—short of learning Hungarian and visiting her cookie class?
Start small. Pipe royal icing (a precise combo of powdered sugar and pasteurized egg whites) around a cookie’s edge. Then thin the icing to fill in, or “flood,” the cookie’s middle.
Next, practice. Sketch out designs on a piece of paper. Trace your sketch with the frosting. Start with straight lines, then learn to maneuver the icing bag and turn. Finally, try out your sweet new skills on the cookie once it has completely dried.
Remember PoÓr’s wisdom: You can always get better. And you can always eat your mistakes.