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Vine + Table: Queen City Cookies

Vine + Table: Queen City Cookies
This local bakery produces a cookie so beautiful, so divine, that it belongs in a museum, but it’s much better in your mouth. Learn more about the lady behind these couture cookies.


It all began with a magazine --
Martha Stewart Living’s December 2008 issue, to be exact – that transformed the trajectory of Peggy Shannon’s future. Inspired by a picture of artisan molds, a passion for baking and unbridled flavor combinations, her company, Queen City Cookies was born into existence.

Fourteen states, 32 stores and various catalogues later, Queen City Cookies continues to break the mold of artistic, delicious, edible, perfection.


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During my first encounter with the buttery shortbread cookies, I found myself in a unique predicament: To eat, or not to eat? I was holding the most beautiful confection ever – a hand painted cookie caressed with porcelain “fairy dust” icing, surrounded with white piping and shaped to perfection from an incredulously detailed mold. It was more than shortbread and sugar. I caressed a work of art; a hand-painted masterpiece. Carefully, I placed the artisan cookie between my lips. The soft, sugary icing with crisp tender buttery shortbread was exquisitely divine.


“Our ingredients are fresh, local and organic whenever possible,” says Shannon, whose cookies are made to order, from scratch, using prime, natural ingredients of wheat flour, rich European butter, sugar, farm fresh eggs, salt and Lemon zest. 



Many say that the cookie is simply “too beautiful to eat,” but I profess that by not consuming this treat would be to miss out its true essence and artistic splendor. 



“The cookies are a work of art, but I don’t think anything is ever too pretty to eat,” says Amy Hunter, Queen City Cookie’s publicist. “The beauty is part of the enjoyment. A perfectly ripe strawberry is beautiful, but no one would ever hesitate to eat it. What I love about Queen City Cookies is that because of the artistry you can taste the butter and in the case of my favorite cookie, the rich white chocolate icing. I love knowing that each cookie is handmade and packaged by someone who loves what they do.”



Shannon has a cookie design for everyone and every occasion. She even offers personalized molds. All of the information can be found on her Web site www.queencitycookies.com. 



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Regarding the artistic expression of each design, Shannon’s Web site says it best:
We do not offer mass-produced products devoid of personality or artistry. Each cookie is meticulously created for you and should be considered an original work of art. Like an original masterpiece, each cookie expresses its own unique beauty. Queen City Cookies are hand made from replicas of historic molds carved by artisans as far back as the 14th century.”


 


Even the facilities surrounding the bakery contribute to the overall enchantment of the Queen City Cookie brand. Shannon’s business originally started in the basement of her home – a statuesque piece of Cincinnati history, one of three remaining Jergens’ Mansions, built in 1890, located on millionaires corner in eccentric Northside. 




“As the company grew, we needed more room, and moving off the property just didn’t feel right,” said Shannon. “So we began the renovation of our carriage house, a beautiful space boasting 11 foot wide windows. The building overlooks a pristine yard blooming with 100 rose bushes, nine-foot wind chimes, and the dogs who come to work here, too; it’s a beautiful, peaceful, inspiring setting that translates into everything we do.” 



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No detail has been spared when it comes to the cookie’s brand. From the double-sided silk ribbon, biodegradable peanut packaging to the enchanting story on the back of every cookie clad greeting card. Every last detail is purposeful and well thought out, adding to the overall enchantment of Peggy’s products. 




“I have the best graphic designer in the planet,” boasts Shannon of designer, Lisa Ballard. “Lisa completely brings such energy and beauty to everything we do in a way that reflects the fun and approachability of our cookies, all of my employees do.”

 

Blessings that Make up the Queen City Cookie Story

The success of Queen City Cookies is made up of chance encounters, talented artists and trustworthy confidants.


Averse to appearing vulnerable, one of Shannon’s greatest qualities is her willingness to say, “I don’t know,” and ask for help. This character trait led her to reach out to friends, even strangers, who ultimately helped shape the success of today’s product. Shannon noted that Doug Faulkner, co-owner of Take the Cake, recommended an icing that she says, “radically changed the design and flavor of our cookies, and I’m so grateful for his recommendation.”

 

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When it came to refining the overall flavor of the cookies, it was the honesty of a friend that made all the difference. “Anne Evans, Executive Director of the Governor’s Mansion for state of KY came in to pick up an order. I wanted to share our latest cookie with her. She tasted it and very honestly told me she hated the flavor. Instead of being devastated, I began brainstorming; this moment led to the shortbread base that make our cookies so popular today,” says Shannon.


And finally, when perplexed about how to go forward with new packaging, Shannon reached out to Liz Grubow, vice president/group creative director of LPK Beauty. “Liz kindly came in and gave me really great ideas about how to display cookies. Shrink wrapped as a piece of art, which really started the ball rolling on our designs and overall shelf-life,” said Shannon.

 

Today, the cookie is divinely perfect from its pristine packaging, to its tantalizing flavors and gorgeous moldings.

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Perfect for all occasions, including weddings, corporate gifts and fundraisers, cookies are made to order. Price is based on size and type, ranging from $4.50 - $10, even $20, per cookie.

 

Order online at www.Queencitycookies.com. Available locally at NEST Hyde Park on Michigan, Joseph Beth booksellers, Nordstrom’s e-bar, in Northside, at Sidewinder Coffee & Tea, and the Picnic & Pantry. 


 

Call (513) 591-0022 or email her at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for gift suggestions and to place an order.

 

To see pictures from Terrah’s tour of the Queen City Cookie Bakery and read a story from the adventures of Queen City Cookie’s elephants, please visit herblog: Corkstories, Terrah’s wine and food blog .

Terrah Kocher -

Terrah Kocher is the food and wine columnist for Cincy Chic and owner of TK PR & Marketing in Cincinnati, specializing in online marketing for small businesses, non-profits and gourmet food and wine stores.  Contact her at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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