Friday, February 18, 2011

Miette Cookie Class ...Or ...Wasted Weekend

Oh my little Miette, how I once cherished you.

Miette, is an adorable pastry/candy shop found around the Bay Area of California. When I walked into their Hayes Valley shop last year, I felt like I was 7 years old in Willy Wonka's candy shop. Their brightly painted furniture and fun wallpaper make it feel so inviting you want to pull up a chair and spend the day gazing at the picture perfect displays of candy, cookies, and cupcakes.

Who can take a sunrise
Sprinkle it in dew
Cover it in chocolate
and a miracle or two?
The candyman
The candyman can
The candyman can cause he mixes it with love and makes the world taste good

In November my friend found that Miette was offering classes on their sugar cookies, (I love the cookies that match their adorable wallpaper.) and we eagerly signed up for the next available class. 
The long awaited class was finally here. Last weekend we made our way to Miette, excited to see their 3rd location, and anticipating the wonderful things we would make in class. After a few minutes of wandering around the waterfront looking for the sugary jewel, we finally found Miette, but it was a far cry from what we were expecting to find.

We walk into the tiny corner shop to be greeted, or not greeted, by stark warehouse looking walls, a small half empty case of lonely cupcakes,  two small tables with candy displayed, and an indifferent employee behind the counter. This was not the Miette I fell in love with. Where was the charm, this was what I would call a hole-in-the-wall. Oh well we were still excited for the class.

We waited in the small shop for the class to begin, when the "chipper" employee at the counter notified us "he's ready for you" and pointed toward the open door that lead to the bakery. (I love warm welcomes)

We walked into the bakery, ready to learn the secrets of Miette's gorgeous cookies, and... it was like going to Disneyland as a child and seeing Mickey remove his head, exposing some sweaty teenager. 

The instructor, Jeff, was very friendly and you could tell he enjoyed what he did. He showed us examples of his amazingly detailed cookies, and began to tell us step by step how we could frost cookies to look like his. We spent most of the class talking about the basics, rolling pins, cookie cutters, food coloring, and piping bags. Making our own piping bags was one of the most informative parts of the class, and Jeff's instructions were extremely clear. Then the wheels fell of the bus, and by no fault of Jeff's. When asked about the cookie recipe used we were told it was not given out. Instead we were given a recipe by Betty Crocker. (No joke. It seemed a little shady to me.) We then began learning about how to make the royal icing. Jeff explained that royal icing could be made two different ways, with egg whites or with meringue powder. Miette uses meringue powder for safety concerns with using raw egg. I was glad to hear this, because although I eat my fair share of dough and batter, but I wouldn't serve raw egg to other people. We went to our stations to make the first step of the royal icing, but for some reason we were given egg whites. Why weren't we making the same icing they use on their cookies?

Finally it was time to learn how to decorate the cookie. After a brief lesson on applying the icing, we went back to our stations with about a hour left of class, rushing through decorating the 6 cookies we were given. We didn't even have enough time for our cookies to dry before it was time to leave. We boxed them up and left out a side door because the actual store was closed. (At 4pm on a Saturday, during a class. Told you we were rushed.) We walked to our car shaking our heads. What just happened?

Why didn't they have us make the royal icing both ways in class? Why didn't they give us the recipes? Why didn't they give us more time for the actual decorating? Why was the shop closed when we left? Why did this class feel like a spur of the moment idea?  I could have signed up for a local class at Joann's or watched a youtube video. I came to this class and spent $65 (And $11 in parking.) because it was Miette.

This experience has only made me realize that the $250 I spent at C.I.A was well worth it. (5 hours, C.I.A apron to take home, you eat what you make and still have some to take home, you get the recipes, and you feel like you are doing something special. (Let me add, parking is free too.) 

This has completely changed my view of Miette, their shops seem to have an innocence about them, but behind the curtain is just a man (or woman) pretending to be the powerful Oz.

*Update - Funny thing, the $65 Miette cookie class didn't want to share their recipes, but look what I found today on Amazon. It looks like my instincts were right, it's all about how to make a quick buck.


  1. What and where is CIA? Im glad I read this before I paid my money. Thanks

  2. What and where is CIA? Im glad I read this before I paid my money. Thanks



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