Dear Martha

Dear Martha:

Hi there – My name is Karen Collins. I am a self-taught pastry chef and owner of a small wholesale bakery called Bisousweet Confections located in Stow, Massachusetts. I’m writing to you today because I would like to express my deep gratitude to you and your team. I cannot begin to count how many times I have used your cookbooks, tools or ideas over my many years in the kitchen.

I would like to share one particularly special story with you today.

My favorite cookie of all-time is a linzer heart cookie. It’s very different from most people’s concept of a linzer heart cookie. Instead of a sandwich, it’s open-faced. The cookie has a butter dough heart-shaped base, a piped border of almond meringue, and is filled with seedless raspberry jam. It’s difficult and time-consuming to make, but the end result is worth every hand cramp. The finished product is perfect –the tender cookie base & slightly crunchy almond border combined with the bright raspberry flavor is blissful.

Cookie-love aside, the main reason for this letter is not about the cookie, but about the cookie cutter.

Many years ago, I purchased a set of assorted heart-shaped cookie cutters from Martha by Mail. It was love at first sight for me – a whimsical collection of various heart shapes. My story for you today is about one of the smaller members of this cookie cutter crew.

This particular cookie cutter recently received MVP from our baking team. Petite but mighty, this cookie cutter has been solely responsible for cutting out thousands of hearts, with just a little help from one or two human hands.

For anyone who knows me well, they know that I shop in bulk; I don’t purchase only what I need, I purchase lots of extras…just in case. It’s my way of disaster planning. I have multiples of almost every utilized tool in my bakery – off-set spatulas, pastry tips, whisks, knives, etc. What I realized the other day as I stood for hours cutting out hearts, is that I only own one of this size/shape heart cookie cutter.

This realization stopped me in my tracks, and made my brain start spinning and calculating.

How many hearts has this little cutter popped out for us?

Collecting data is not one of my fortes, and trying to find this information dating back to 2005 seems rather impossible. And so, I decided to see how many linzer heart cookies we sold just last year.

The number?

Over 32,000.

32,000 hearts in 2013, all cut with this small but mighty cookie cutter.

I couldn’t experience this moment without reaching out to you…knowing full-well that ‘you’ will most likely never see the words in this letter. I needed to recognize not just what you have ‘given’ to me, but to so many: the opportunity to thrive in a creative life.

Many many heartfelt thanks –

Karen Collins

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Owner, Baker,
& Storyteller

You know that friend who has it all together? Yeah. That’s not me. What I can offer you instead are my experiences, insights, and passions. Pithy observations about making cookies. Wry commentary on running a business. Loving (if slightly sarcastic) parenting advice. And if that doesn’t interest you, I have dogs. Cute ones.

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