Julia Day started Miss Biscuit in 2012 as a small side business whilst running a household with two children and working 4 days a week as a speech pathologist. She very quickly discovered a whole new world and became completely hooked on piping! With the full support of her family, Julia took the plunge and gave up her speech pathology career of 20 years to focus full time on Miss Biscuit and hasn’t looked back.
Now with thousands of social media fans, decorating classes fully booked out months ahead and an online shop selling her amazing decorated biscuits, Julia is one of Australia’s top biscuit decorators. A typical week for Julia involves custom orders, a few decorating classes and managing and baking for her online shop. She runs her entire business from her registered home kitchen, which allows her to manage family life at the same time. Read on to be inspired!
Q: Julia, has baking always been a big part of your life, or did you have an ‘a-ha moment’ and fall in love with it? When did you first get into biscuit decorating?
J: I have always loved to create in the kitchen but I made a lot more savoury and international dishes early on. It has really only been in recent years that I have discovered a love of baking. I found some royal icing cookies on Pinterest in late 2012 and very quickly became hooked. I read everything I could about decorating with royal icing, learnt an enormous amount through trial and error and found very quickly that there was a growing demand for custom designed cookies in Australia.
Q: Do you have any time saving or planning tips you live by when it comes to decorated biscuits? We’re sure a few Queen Bakers would love to know a secret or two if you’re willing to share!
J: The fabulous thing about decorated biscuits is their shelf life. If stored in heat sealed bags and with the right recipes, decorated biscuits can last quite a few months. This means that there is no need to be decorating at the last minute. I like to work a week ahead of myself which allows recovery time if there are any disasters. I also like to cluster my time so that all of the baking is completed once a week and then I try to work on orders that have similar colour schemes at the same time. Anyone who has decorated with royal icing knows that the most time consuming part is prepping all of the colours and consistencies!
Q: For someone getting started in decorating, what would be your tips for achieving great results without investing too much money on equipment and tools?
J: The great thing about decorating cookies with royal icing is that you actually don’t need a lot of expensive equipment. Invest in a range of good tips and a few basic cookie cutters and you are away. Work on developing good consistencies for outlining and flooding your cookies as a start and keep practicing. My first set of decorated cookies was absolutely terrible! A bit of persistence and practice takes you a long way.
Q: Do you consider yourself a day baker or a night owl? Have you ever had a memorable kitchen disaster you’d like to share?
J: I’m actually a bit of a workaholic and so tend to get up early for emails/paperwork and then decorate during the day and late at night. Running a business is something that is so different to my previous life as a speech pathologist that I revel in the constant challenges. I haven’t really had many major kitchen disasters although there have been a few tears over dropped trays of finished cookies over the years.
Q: We’re excited to see you’re offering more classes in Melbourne, what does a typical Miss Biscuit decorating class look like?
J: I absolutely love teaching! I have now taught well over 250 people in my classes and we have a ball. People often tell me I’m very generous with how much I share in my classes but I want people to walk away armed with the knowledge and capacity to create their own beautiful biscuits. I keep in contact with everyone through a private Facebook group and I love seeing how far some of my students have come. It took me a good 12 months to work out all of the tips and tricks to be able to create beautiful biscuits. I give everyone all of those tips from baking the perfect biscuit (including all of my recipes), piping with perfect edges and outlines through to storing and selling biscuits all in a one day class.
Q: Lastly, what are your trend predictions for biscuits & baking for the year ahead? Will we be seeing crazier shapes, brighter colours or a return to classic flavours?
J: I think the trend to mix mediums with decorated biscuits will continue. There are some incredible cookie artists using a combination of wafer paper, fondant, edible lace as well as techniques such as painting and lustre combined with royal icing and their work is absolutely breathtaking. But whilst this style is fabulous for artists and for hobbyists it’s not overly realistic for those wanting to earn a living from decorating biscuits. I believe that there will always be strong demand for clean and simple designs in beautiful colour palettes.