Crazy for Cookies

Cookie designer Dawn Turner

Cookie designer Dawn Turner

Cookie designer Dawn Turner has a secret: she doesn’t care to eat sugar cookies. And who could blame her? The California native, now Cozad resident decorates an average of 50 dozen sugar cookies each week. The treats are purchased locally or shipped nationwide. Adorned with intricate details, the cookies are often a point of conversation at baby showers, weddings and other events.

Dawn Turner's Christmas themed cookies included three Christmas light bulbs, Santa, a tree, two snowflakes and three ornaments.

Dawn Turner’s Christmas themed cookies included three Christmas light bulbs, Santa, a tree, two snowflakes and three ornaments.

Turner is the owner of The Daily Scoop, Espresso and Ice Cream in downtown Cozad. She opened the coffee shop in 2013 after resigning from corporate management.

“I moved to Cozad to be closer to family and to raise my son in a small, Midwestern town,” Turner explained. “I can’t function without coffee, and when the local coffee shop closed, I felt this was my opportunity to start my own business.”

The Daily Scoop serves various coffee drinks, smoothies, ice cream, malts and classic cookie flavors like chocolate chip. About five years ago, a customer requested decorated sugar cookies.

Turner's cookie decorating studio. She uses a lazy susan stacked with round trays to quickly decorate cookies and move them without disturbing the icing as it dries.

Turner’s cookie decorating studio. She uses a lazy susan stacked with round trays to quickly decorate cookies and move them without disturbing the icing as it dries.

“I had no culinary training and my first few batches were not the best, but I guess I’m stubborn,” Turner giggled. “It just grew from there.”

Turner taught herself the art of cookie decorating through “trial and error” and watched YouTube videos to develop her technique.

“What used to take me three hours to complete now takes about 30 minutes,” she said. “It takes practice, practice, practice to master any skill. I have been decorating cookies for five years and I still learn new techniques and improve my existing skills all the time. For every new set of cookies I attempt, I decorate the set several times before I ever get out the camera or offer them for sale.”

From Halloween to New Year’s Day, Turner puts in 16-hour work days seven days a week to complete her orders. She even stopped serving lunch at The Daily Scoop to concentrate on cookies.

“I decided to name the cookie business Crazytown Cookies after Richard Scarry’s Busytown because it’s happy chaos all the time,” Turner said.

It seems people are crazy for Turner’s cookies. Online sales through the Etsy Shop grew 1,200% in 2019 compared to 2018 and have reached 45 states. She has three support staff to run the coffee shop, prepare cookie dough and complete other tasks.

Dawn Turner pauses to observe a student's technique during a cookie decorating class. She plans to offer monthly classes in 2020.

Dawn Turner pauses to observe a student’s technique during a cookie decorating class. She plans to offer monthly classes in 2020.

“My true love is decorating cookies and customer service,” she said. “We work hard to make The Daily Scoop our customer’s happy place.”

Focusing on the Crazytown Cookies business, Turner spent the fall of 2019 promoting her cookies through local craft shows and offering cookie decorating classes. Each class has met capacity. In December, the demand was large enough to accommodate a second class. Turner plans to offer monthly cookie decorating classes at The Daily Scoop in 2020. Although the cookie dough and icing recipes are top secret, she offers similar ones shared by LilaLoa, a respected decorating instructor, to her students.

Turner’s cookies are something to be marveled and, perhaps, a little crazy about.

 

January 2020

What our customers say

An informed customer is our greatest asset.