Michelle Roper has come a long way in a little over 10 years when she initially baked cookies for a family member’s baby shower to having her specialty cookies ordered, unbeknownst to her, by Jada Pinkett-Smith and retailed at The Island House.
What was to become known as Goldensmiths, came to be after Roper came across a picture of decorated sugar cookies and decided to make some for the baby shower. She posted her creations to her social media page and friends and family started clamoring for her beautiful cookies soon afterward.
Roper now creates decorated cookies and cakes for any special occasion, and for those that just love every day indulgences. From children’s birthday parties to a diamond anniversary, baby shower or wedding, Goldensmith’s provides delicious, eye-catching baked goods for every taste and occasion.
“The fact that I can be a small part of [family, friends, and customers] important occasions is special to me,” said Roper.
“I started baking when I was working at a previous job. I brought in pumpkin rolls and banana breads and shared it with my coworkers and they loved them and kept asking for more. So, I kept at it, mostly as a side thing, but eventually decided to give it more attention as the interest grew. While I started out baking all sorts of things, after a while, I decided to focus just on the decorated cookies and that became what I’m known for.”
The home-based baker perfected her craft with the help of YouTube and online classes and as she said, lots of trial and error, and many sleepless nights.
As for who enjoys a Goldensmiths’ creation, Roper said “everyone”.
“Cookies are so versatile, and can fit every occasion. I think there hasn’t been any type of occasion that cookies have not been requested. Although women are my largest customer base, they order for everyone. I’ve been told how much their children, husbands, fathers and friends have enjoyed receiving their cookies.”
The home-based baker loves when her customers give her free rein to create.
“I try to not only meet but beat their expectations every time.”
The most creative thing she feels she has done to date was actually a cake where she used cookies as decorations.
“One of my regular customers said her soon-to-be four-year-old wanted a dinosaur cake but wanted lava more than anything else. There had to be lava!”
Roper created a volcano made out of cookie dough and made sure the birthday boy got his lava.
“Another recent favorite project was a set of “Trippy Summer” cookies I did for a mystery customer. They were colorful and funky and really fun, and I enjoyed creating them. But I was overjoyed when I found out they were ordered by Jada Pinkett-Smith for her son Jaden’s 22nd birthday! And she featured them on her Instagram stories! I was so thrilled!”
Roper mainly offers vanilla sugar cookies, year-round. During the fall/ Christmas season, gingerbread, which she said is a must-have, and other seasonal flavors including pumpkin spice and hot chocolate, make an appearance.
She has also started experimenting with vegan versions of her cookies because she has seen an interest in what she offers from that niche market.
Goldensmiths offers cakes as well, but Roper said she simply loves decorating cookies. And her offerings are incredibly detailed.
“While cookies are labor intensive, they are my favorite thing to make. I also make cakes and I try to incorporate cookies wherever I can.”
Roper generally produces between 10 to 12 dozen cookies per week, sometimes more.
She has no idea as to how many hours she spends baking and decorating cookies in a day. It really depends on the details of an order. But she said making dough, rolling and cutting shapes (sometimes by hand) baking, mixing and coloring icing, then decorating, takes hours.
Roper has made cookies that took her up to three days to complete due to the amount of detailing involved.
During holiday seasons like Christmas, she can find herself typically baking and decorating over 1,000 cookies in a very short period.
Anyone considering ordering should give Roper ample time. She said that she feels for her to do her best work that she needs at least two weeks’ lead time.
While Roper’s neighbors are often treated to the delicious scents of cookies baking that waft out of her house, she said she is not certain they know exactly what is happening behind her doors.
“They know that I bake. But I don’t think they know exactly what’s happening behind these doors! They do know when I’m baking because they can smell the cookies a few houses away.”
And while everyone has their own way of enjoying a Goldensmiths cookie, Roper said her creations are delicious as is. She prefers her treats plain with coffee or tea.
“I try to limit my cookie consumption mainly to taste testing because my waistline will get [even more] out of control.
Roper’s treats can be had by accessing her on social media – Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, goldensmiths.com, or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
She said she is always thinking about and exploring new options and ideas but that she currently has no plans for a brick and mortar storefront.
As for how she came up with the name Goldensmiths, Roper’s maiden name is Smith. Her late grandfather’s name is Robert Golden Smith. She paid homage to her family patriarch because the influence he left on her family, she said, is indelible.