Updated: Mar 9, 2019
Photos and story by Veronica Perry
August 9, 2018
Baking is a meditative practice. It requires us to be completely present in the process and it activates every one of our senses. When we hear the mixer whirring, knead the dough, smell it baking, see the finished product and finally get to taste it, we experience the ultimate reward.
This reward is not necessarily the food itself, but the love, devotion and presence that are given to create it. It feels so good to create something that others can enjoy. Local baker, Nicole Martinez, taps into this expression of love and the practice of mindfulness through the art of baking.
Martinez knew she wanted to become a baker before she reached 1st grade.
“When I was 5, I told my grandmother that I wanted to be baker when I grew up,” Martinez says.
At first, her grandmother was skeptical of her career path, but Martinez continued to follow her passion. Once she started baking cookies, her grandmother acknowledged that her childhood intuition was correct. She is meant to spread joy through her baking.
This Sacramento local is not just a confection connoisseur, she is also a passionate professional. Martinez has worked at the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory in Old Sacramento for the past nine years and has a breadth and depth of knowledge when it comes to baking. Her expertise truly shows in the creation of her cookies.
She began baking themed sugar cookies in December of 2017 and is currently booked all the way through August 2018. She calls her business Lil's Mom's Cookies, referencing her 4-year-old daughter.
“Once I started making cookies, I knew this is what I wanted to do,” Martinez says.
Her cookies are unique in that she combines her extensive experience at the Chocolate Factory with her love of baking to provide the customer with a high-quality, homemade feel.
“Working with chocolate helped me to transition to cookies very easily because many of the techniques are the same,” Martinez says. And from the moment she took her first baking class she was immediately inspired to create.
“I took a class December 2017 and I was hooked,” Martinez says with a smile.
Martinez completes each order, on her own, from scratch. She creates consistently uniform and delicious cookies through strategic planning, hand drawn designs and an underlying passion for her work.
Typically, a customer will send a theme, invitation or decoration and Martinez will collaborate with her client to finalize designs for their event.
“I am a one woman show,” Martinez says. “I do all of the baking by myself.”
From birthday parties and anniversaries to bridal and baby showers, Martinez is responsible for the success of these sweets.
“I make everything from scratch,” she says. “I make the sugar cookie itself from scratch. That takes about 45 minutes to an hour to create depending how many. Then I make the frosting from scratch and color it all by hand. From start to finish, an order of two dozen will take about 5 hours to complete.”
Her customers come from all around Sacramento, but most of her clientele are people who have tried her baking first-hand.
“Many of my customers are people who have tried my cookies at a party and loved them so much they wanted to have them at their own party,” Martinez says.
Martinez is currently in the process of obtaining the necessary permit to sell her cookies at the farmers market, craft fairs and other community events. Her ultimate goal is to one day own and operate her very own cookie cart, serving her handmade cookies to the community everyday.
“I would like to have a pink cookie cart to sell my cookies and ultimately make people happier,” Martinez says.
She baked a batch of cookies specially for The Sacramento Spotlight and they definitely taste as good as they look.
“I wanted to do something that related to baking and that represented myself,” Martinez says. “The color scheme I chose for these cookies is the same color scheme of my business card.”
Pictured here are cookies in the shape of a piping bag, a rolling pin, and a Kitchen Aid mixer. These are her standard vanilla sugar cookies with royal icing.
“The cookie cutters I used I received as a gift for my birthday and I have been dying to use them,” Martinez says.
As you can see, each cookie Martinez creates is executed with precision and passion.
“One of the main reasons I love working with sweets is because people are consistently happy when they eat what I create,” she says. “That makes me feel proud.”
To purchase your own themed batch of cookies, follow Nicole Martinez @lilsmomscookies on instagram.