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March 25, 2009

Cookie Time

Cookie Time
Brookfield sisters turn hobby into growing business

By Melissa Rigney Baxter, Special to the Freeman
Publication: Waukesha Freeman (Conley); Date:2009 Mar 21; Section: Front Page; Page Number 2A
BROOKFIELD - Sometimes a cookie is more than a treat - it's a work of art.
What started as a hobby has become a business for sisters Beth Grbich and Janet Melson of Brookfield.
Grbich saw Springerle cookie mold reproductions in a catalog a few decades ago and decided to try her hand at making the cookies with the historic German technique.
While the technique and recipes date back to the 1400's, the sisters use reproduction molds to create what are actually tiny pieces of art. Each cookie mold depicts images of holiday events and everyday life and were exchanged almost like greeting cards are today, Grbich said.
After relatives and friends enjoyed the unique cookies, Grbich and Melson founded Embossed Edibles a little more than a year ago, and now, their products are carried by an e-commerce site (Wisconsinmade.com) along with products created by more than 250 other Wisconsin artisans.
Melson and Grbich are crafty, artsy and musical, and their talents come together to create memorable designs, some hand-painted and some not. While some people say they almost hate to eat the beautiful cookies, the sisters emphasize they are both for enjoying artistically and for eating.
"They're so elegant," Grbich said.
While traditional Springerle cookies used an anise flavoring, Embossed Edibles are lemon-flavored.
Although Melson and Grbich hope people choose to eat the cookies while they appreciate the design, they also mentioned that some people air dry the cookies to create a keepsake ornament.
Martha Stewart featured a Springerle cookie on the cover of her December magazine, and mold makers have told Melson and Grbich the publicity was a boon for business.
With hundreds of molds, Embossed Edibles can be used for all kinds of gift giving or event favors. They've even been part of a vineyard wedding. Special packages of Easter cookies are featured on the Web site, and the sisters are working on a "Wisconsin" package as well.
Melson said Embossed Edibles plans to return this summer to the Brookfield farmers market.


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