Katy woman quits day job to make sprinkles

By Sophia Beausoleil - Reporter

KATY, Texas - Christmas is almost two weeks away, which means bakers are whipping up their magic to make decorative cookies, cakes and treats for friends and family.

For one baker in Katy, this Christmas is all about the sparkle, especially when it comes to adding sprinkles to her creations.  

“They're really fun and I saw a need as a cake decorator myself," said Liz Butts. "I couldn’t find what I was looking for so I decided to make it and it has exploded."

Butts is the creator and owner of Sprinkle Pop, a couture designer sprinkle business she launched in March of this year. 

PHOTOS: Katy woman makes sprinkles for a living

She has been baking and decorating cakes for more than 15 years, but nine months ago she put baking on hold to pursue a new passion. 

“I remember exactly when I came up with the idea," Butts said. "I was looking online for sprinkles and I couldn’t find them, and so I decided I was going to make these sprinkles. I texted my husband and said, ‘What if I sold sprinkles and he was not enthused.'

The enthusiasm has since grown and the colorful packets of sugar and joy are making enough green for Butts to leave her oil and gas job. Sprinkle Pop will become Butts' full-time gig after this week and her house has become her company's headquarters.

"When I tell people what I do, it doesn't really register in their head what a designer sprinkle is," Butts said. "When you go to the grocery store you have your standard rainbow jimmies and maybe a few things that Wilton makes, and those are fine and great, but if you're looking for something a little different something that's going to spruce up a baked good especially if you're not a cake decorator and you want to make something you made at home look extra special, Sprinkle Pop is the way to go."

The array of color combinations, metallic and holiday-themed packets of sprinkles are appealing to the eye. That may explain why Butts' company continues to grow on visual social platforms like Instagram and Facebook, where she shares videos and pictures of the sprinkles. 

Butts said even though the sparkly, edible decorations have taken over her life, she enjoys the freedom that comes with being her own boss and having the ability to be creative.

"I've been a cake decorator for over 15 years and have always done that on the side and have been pretty successful at it, that has always been my outlet for creativity and I think it was just a shift for me," said Butts. "This is perfect because the colors are really appealing to me and I like thinking of ways to display them, and I get to use that decorating craft to market my product, so it's kind of the best of both worlds." 

Now she and her husband work as often as they can to fulfill orders from around the world.  Butts said her goal is to hopefully one day be in stores and bakeries across the country. 

Christmas cookie tips

Right now, people are making their lists, and of course checking them twice, to make sure they make plenty of cookies to share with family and friends. 

Butts said her best advice is to have fun and don't try to bake for a village.

“I think, just make it fun," Butts said. "Don’t do more than is necessary. I used to be that person, I thought because it was Christmas, I needed to bake 10 different varieties of cookies and 50 percent of them didn't get eaten." 

Butts said the best thing to do is to pick two favorite cookie recipes and stick with those. 

"I love just picking my favorite two or three cookies and making them really well," Butts said. "If we have friends doing a cookie exchange, it’s really fun and it takes a lot of the burden off of making different cookies." 

Recipe

Butts shared her favorite sugar cookie recipe that she said is perfect for decorating. 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp orange extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp milk

Instructions

  1. Place room-temperature butter, and 1 cup of granulated sugar in stand mixer with paddle attachment and mix on low until smooth. Creamed butter should be fluffy and pale yellow in color.
  2. Add 1 large egg and mix on medium in stand-mixer until fully incorporated. Scrape bowl when necessary to make sure egg incorporates.
  3. Add vanilla and orange extracts. Mix until just incorporated.
  4. Add Salt and 1/3 of the four. Start mixer on slow until flour starts to incorporate, then turn up to medium. Scrape bowl as needed to fully incorporate. Add in remaining flour in thirds. 
  5. Add 1 tsp of milk once the flour is fully incorporated. Continue to mix on slow until one solid mass forms and stop immediately. 
  6. Scrape out mixer bowl, wrap up sugar cookie dough in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to 1 hour. 
  7. Knead cookie dough only until pliable. Over-kneading causes toughness. Roll out dough to desired thickness (I like a ¼”) on top of a silicone baking mat. Cut out shapes, and remove excess dough. Place silicone baking mat with cut cookies in freezer until very firm (about 5 minutes).
  8. Place silicone baking mat on a baking sheet.
  9. Bake chilled cookies at 350ºF for 10-14 minutes depending on size of cookie. A Perfectly cooked sugar cookie is barely browned and firm to the touch while still hot. 
  10. Only reroll scraps 1 time. Re-rolling scraps multiple times incorporate too much flour and makes for a tough cookie. 

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