Who is Sweet Dani B?
Sweet Dani B is an awesome chick that I went to high school with. Okay, so she's a lot more than that. She runs an amazingly creative company called Sweet Dani B, and she creates the most adorable decorated cookies you could ever hope to see. She sells her own icing kits and cookie decorating tools, and is responsible for some of the coolest cookie cutter designs out there (in my humble opinion). She also designs favors and invitations and holds workshops where you can learn to do cool stuff, too. You can read all about her history here.
And as an added note, I had not seen Dani in many, many years, but one day I took my parents to a taping of the Martha Stewart Show in New York. As we were sitting in the front row, waiting for the show to start taping, I spotted Dani across the way, working on the set design! I was like, "Hey! I think I know that girl!" My mom told me to run up there but I feared they would arrest me if I dashed onto Martha's set, so I did what any normal person would do and hunted her down on Facebook when I got home. And I'm so glad I did, because it's been great getting back in touch with her and learning all about her fun business.
What is a Cookie Decorating Workshop?
Dani has some serious skills when it comes to cookie decorating. She has been featured on the Martha Stewart Show, The Steve Harvey Show and The Meredith Vieira Show just to name a few. During her workshops, she shares her techniques with you and shows you how to decorate your own cookies.
Are Sweet Dani B Cookie Workshops for Everyone?
Undoubtedly, yes. Although she holds different types of workshops, the basic themed ones (holiday related, mommy & me, etc.) are for all skill levels. The kids seemed to enjoy everything she was showing us, and Dani has a great rapport with the little ones (she is very patient and always smiling). Dani recommends her classes for ages 3 and up. She says 'tweens who love baking and decorating especially enjoy it, and it's a fun activity to bring friends to. I enjoy it as an adult- it's fun and delicious at the same time. I've also brought The Jersey Momma's boy to a class (I think he was 4 at the time) and he had a lot of fun (but his focus was more on eating instead of designing!).
If you have no skills whatsoever, never fear! You'll still enjoy these workshops. Let me tell you in a nutshell what the class is like.
The class we attended was a 'Hooray for Summer' Cookie Decorating Workshop held at Porta in Asbury Park. The road getting there was not an easy one, as my car broke down at the gas station on the way there (no worries, we managed to get my car home and took my friend's car instead), and then we battled the crowds of the NJ Pride Parade to find a parking space (let it be known, though, that this was a fluke- it's usually fairly easy to find a parking spot near Porta). Not only were we able to find a parking space, but a good samaritan also gave us his parking spot ticket, since his space was paid for through midnight (I thank you from the bottom of my heart, kind sir!). That left us some time to explore the Asbury Park boardwalk, and buy a strawberry-banana Nutella crepe from CrepeShop along the way.
|The old casino on the Asbury Park Boardwalk|
A place was set for each participant with icing bottles, cookie decorations, a plate, icing spatula, toothpicks and a box for us to take our completed goodies home in. We were also given extra candies to decorate with after the class started. We were scheduled to decorate three pre-made cookies (a wave, a shark and a fish) and one "bonus" cookie, which was to be a surprise. Yay!
Dani demonstrated each cookie separately and walked around to assist as needed. We cheated and took pictures of her finished cookies to look back at each time.
First up was the wave. I was psyched by how mine came out. It also took restraint for me not to eat it right away, because something about the shape of it made it look extra appetizing.
|My friend Selena icing her wave...|
|This is Dani's wave. Nice, right?|
Third was our silly shark, and this one was my favorite. I love the cartoony mouth.
|Dani's friendly shark!|
|Shakin' my shark so the icing sets.|
I feared this one would not make it home in one piece, since it was semi-delicate and we needed to drive all the way home on the Garden State Parkway. So I split him apart before we left. Sorry, little dude! When I got home, The Jersey Doggy took a liking to him right away.
|I can has clam cookie, Mama?|
The cookies were really yummy. Everyone always says they are too cute to eat, but I beg to differ. A cookie wants to be eaten!
Although, I can't lie, I have taken Dani's workshops in the past and attempted to preserve the cookies as long as possible (especially the ones Dani herself made, since she sometimes sells them at her workshops and I have purchased a few of those). I think I still have a preserved owl and I only recently had to throw away a cute little gnome who I saved in the box and put on display every Christmas! Here are some pics of my past classes with Dani.
|A Christmas cookie workshop from Sweet Dani B|
|Dani at the Christmas Cookie Workshop|
|One of Dani's Fall owls. I think I still have it!|
|Goodies for sale at Sweet Dani B's Halloween cookie workshop. I bought a yummy peanut butter bat (amongst other things!)|