Baker Alicia from 'Alicia's Delicias'
Alicia, 30, has been baking since she can remember. The full-time mom says her parents always encouraged her to be creative. And lucky for us, she's taken that creativity to the kitchen and managed to mesh Mexican traditions and cookies! On her Instagram account, you'll find cookies in the shape of conchas, orejas, lotería cards, calaveras, tamales, tequila shots and more. Her cookies range between $42 to $60 per dozen, depending on the size and design. Alicia talked to us about how she got started and who inspires her work.
How did you get started in the baking industry? I have been baking with my mom, Gina, for as long as I can remember.
Were you always creative as a young kid? Yes, my parents always encouraged and allowed me to be creative.
How did you decide that decorative cookies was "your thing"? It was when I made Halloween cookies for my daughter’s pre-school class back in 2011. I’ve done cookies before, but it was at this time that I felt the energy to want to do more.
Your Instagram profile description reads "this is my art, and it's edible!" Does this mean you're more passionate about the creative side than the food side? No, baking has always been a passion for me as well as art, so to put them both together just made sense for me.
You like to showcase a lot of Mexican traditions through your edible art - for example you made a whole series dedicated to Mexican pan dulce. What influenced you to focus on Mexican traditions as a theme in your baking? It started with my first pan dulce set I did for myself. I LOVE pan dulce and have always wanted to learn the craft, but since I can’t make the bread itself, I thought it would be fun to “cookify” them. Since then I've wanted to "cookify" everything I’m passionate about.
Do you work alone or do you have a team of people who help you create? I work alone. However, I'm hopeful that one day, my kids will share my passion for art and baking.
What is your favorite piece of edible art that you've made? It has to be my pan dulce sets. I get excited when someone places an order for them.
What ingredients do you use in your cookies? For example, if I bought a concha cookie would it taste like a concha? I use standard sugar cookie ingredients: flour, butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, etc. They do not taste like the actual food items, although that would be awesome to try one day.
How long does it take to create - let's say - a dozen of your intricate sugar skull cookies? It’s a 3-4 day process. Prep, bake, icing, decorate. One dozen sugar skulls can take up to four hours just to paint.
How many cookies do you make in a day's work? It varies. I’m a full time mom, so most of my work is done after the kids go to sleep.
Have you ever tried baking gluten free? Not yet…but I would like to try that soon.
What do you plan on baking this Christmas? Anything related to Mexican traditions? I'm making cookies inspired by a traditional Mexican posada this year!
We read on your Instagram that your mother is your teacher - can you share a little more on this? My mom, Gina, is an artist and she has always been an inspiration. She made all of my birthday cakes growing up. I remember her teaching me how to star tip a buttercream train cake at a young age. I’m pretty sure she taught me so that she wouldn’t have to make that cake anymore herself, but it was the best memory for me. She opened the door to this new world of baking and it felt awesome.
What advice has your mother given you when it comes to creating and baking? She has taught me patience and that sometimes, you just have to walk away from something and come back to it with fresh eyes. It works every time!
What did she bake? Did she own a shop? Can you give us a bit of background on her? She is a San Francisco native and the youngest of 13 siblings. My grandmother, Carlotta, passed on the cooking/baking torch to her. My mom baked all our birthday cakes. Every one of them was amazing. There were never any leftovers. She never owned a shop, although she should have. She can paint, sculpt, bake, cook, and craft. Anything she touches turns into art. Our home was always the hot spot for family parties and gatherings. My mom opened her home to all, and to this day, will feed anyone who walks in. She makes enchiladas, tamales, menudo, and posole, to name a few. Christmas time was her big baking season and she would make assorted cookies, quick breads, chocolate candies, fudge, toffee, peanut brittle and more. Her gift to neighbors and family was always a bag of home baked goods. People would look forward to it. I would look forward to it. Over time, she has passed that torch on to me and I hope I can reach the high bar she has set!
'Follow' Alicia on Instagram: @aliciasdelicias