Food | December 2014
The cotton-candy pink brick of the Whimsy House hints at the syrupy-sweet atmosphere inside, and the glistening counters packed with freshly baked sugar cookies bring out the giggles in everyone. This holiday season, though, is sure to be extra special at the Whimsy Cookie Company headquarters as co-owners Laurie Suriff and Collins Tuohy prep their shop for Santa and his admirers.
“We are on a nonstop sugar high, pun intended,” Tuohy says. “If we could have it this way year round, we would love it. It’s high energy, non-stop.”
All December long, a mailbox will be set up in the front room of the bakery, right by a glamorously glitzy Christmas tree. “If your kids want to come drop off their letter to Santa, we will ship it to the North Pole, and your child will receive a letter back from Santa,” Tuohy says.
The weekend before Christmas, the “real-deal” Santa will make a stop by the Whimsy house to take photos with local children and share his milk and cookies. “Because you know Santa chooses Whimsy as his official cookie place,” Suriff says with a smile.
Suriff, who founded the company six years ago, got the baking bug–and Whimsy’s famous sugar cookie recipe–from her mother. “It’s not your typical sugar cookie because it’s soft and thick,” Suriff says. “There are a lot of sugar cookies that look fabulous, but they don’t have that special taste.”
During the holiday season, the “Whimsy Fairies” are hard at work baking more than 20,000 cookies and decorating them by hand for corporate orders, special gift packages and the expansive counter in the front. “Our pink and white striped Whimsy boxes turn to red and green striped for the season,” says Tuohy. “We want to be your one-stop shop for all your holiday treat gifting needs.”
Since moving into their new storefront, previously the Gift and Art Shop, Suriff and Tuohy say that business has only gotten better. “People who have been here their entire lives and knew the shop before loved the idea of what we brought to this location,” Suriff says. “They have so many fond memories of what it was before, and they just want to come in and see.”
For Tuohy, the ultimate goal is bring fun to the forefront of everything they do. “We tell all our employees that if kids leave here and don’t feel like they’ve left Disney World, we’re failing as a company.”
As part of that goal, they’ve added a party room in the back, which they will use to host cookie decorating parties with Santa and Mrs. Claus on Dec. 20 and 22 at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
“We’re pitching this as an opportunity for moms to let us entertain their kids,” Tuohy says. “It gives them two hours to do some Christmas shopping, go sit at Starbucks and answer emails, get lunch with their husbands and friends, whatever they want to do.”
Children who register for one of the four parties will be able to decorate three cookies along with an apron and chef hat while they enjoy hot chocolate and “The Charlie Brown Christmas Movie.”
A Whimsy Christmas
The Whimsy Cookie Company brings holiday cheer with visits from Santa and homemade sugar cookies
Story by L. Taylor Smith
Photos by Casey Hilder