Transient Treasures

Intricate piping makes holiday cookies (almost) too precious to eat
Sweet Heather Anne's Cookies
For the cookie art pictured, Leavitt looked to handwoven tapestries in neutral hues.

There’s something ceremonial about decorating cookies. Embellishing, bejeweling, poring over, what is not only perishable, but humble in its essence — unlike its equally short-lived, but more ostentatious relative, cake — must be a labor of love for the artisan behind the work. (Or perhaps perverse, depending on your perspective.)

For Heather Anne Leavitt, owner and one of two designers at Sweet Heather Anne bakery in Ann Arbor, it’s a culinary craft. Leavitt, who identifies more as an artist than a baker, is drawn to the idea of “feeding others” through her art and it’s one of the reasons she chose dough as her medium, as opposed to clay or paint.

Even to Leavitt however, a decorated cookie takes that idea to an extreme. “I think with cookies there’s the opportunity to make them so beautiful,” she says. “But when you get into that much labor, it’s hard to price them. On a cake you make a logo one time, but on cookies it’s 300 — that’s why we don’t make them very often.”

She spent two days designing the beautiful textile-inspired brown-sugar cookies with maple royal icing pictured. And they were devoured soon after.

920 N. Main St., Ann Arbor; 734-913-2025; 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tues.-Sat. Closed Mon.