Milk and Cookies Bakeshop
By Athena Raypold

From Child Baker to Pastry Chef

Rachelle Germain’s mother instilled her with a love of baking. The Milk and Cookies Bakeshop’s owner and pastry chef spent her childhood in the kitchen baking with her mom. “We would decorate sugar cookies every holiday,” she says, “and we would make chocolate chip cookies all the time. That was our thing. We would do sugar cookies for Valentine’s and Halloween and Easter, basically any excuse. They were never like this, I never used piping bags, we used knives and spread the icing on and chucked some sprinkles on like ‘Tada!’”

The sugar cookie recipe that Rachelle uses for her business is an adaptation of her mom’s original recipe, and she still bakes with her mom today. Recently, she recruited her mom to help her with a custom sugar cookie order: 300 playing cards for a casino night. Other custom cookies have included snowflakes for an Ice Castle event, houses for a Rutherford House event and a herd of little moose for a book release event.

My mom always said that she doesn’t feel like she did anything with her day unless she’s made something, and it’s the same thing for me. I love seeing a finished product when I’m done. - Rachelle Germain, owner and pastry chef
Milk and Cookies Bakeshop offers signature and custom cakes, cookies, meringues and macarons.
Photo by Athena Raypold

Mastering Techniques

Supplementing her passion for baking with a business diploma and formal baking training at NAIT, Rachelle is a trained and experienced pastry chef whose determination and tenacity lead her to continually self-educate, adding a wealth of projects to her arsenal. The baking program only included one fondant cake, for example, so Rachelle worked tirelessly to master the art of fondant. “You think, ‘I can just ice this cake and cover it in fondant,’ but you have to ice it perfectly,” she says, “with sharp edges on your cake, so the fondant goes on properly and there’s no bubbles and so it’s not wonky, and then you have to smooth the fondant. It’s such a process – you don’t even know when you begin.”

Unlike many bakers, Rachelle doesn’t buy supplies wholesale if she can make it herself.  “I make my own fondant,” she says. “It tastes better than the stuff you get in a bucket. I make my gum paste, which is what the hard decorations are made of, because I don’t use preservatives or artificial flavours. I always use butter; I never use shortening. I try to use the best ingredients.”

Milk and Cookies Bakeshop offers signature and custom cakes, cookies, meringues and macarons.
Photo by Athena Raypold

Seeing the Extraordinary in the Ordinary

Drawing inspiration from the world around her, Rachelle is both creative and imaginative with her baking. “It’s just random inspiration," she says. “Like, today, I refilled my soap bottle, and it’s blue on the bottom and green on top and I was like, ‘Oh my God, that’s such a pretty colour, I need to make a cake that looks like that.”

Seeing the extraordinary in the ordinary, Rachelle makes custom cakes and cookies, as well as designing her own signature buttercream cakes, cookies, meringues and macarons. Signature buttercream cakes include peanut butter and jelly, salted caramel pretzel, Neopolitan, London fog (with real Earl Grey tea in it) and raspberry lemon. Rachelle’s buttercream is Swiss Meringue, which is a light, whipped, semi-sweet icing that is creamy heaven.

And, like learning fondant, Rachelle spent six months perfecting her macaron recipe and technique. “I almost gave up so many times,” she says, “but they are so pretty and you can do so many flavour options. It’s endless, I never get bored of them.”

Driven and enthusiastic, Rachelle is always trying out new ideas and techniques. But, her motivation stems from the joy and satisfaction of creation. “My mom always said that she doesn’t feel like she did anything with her day unless she’s made something, and it’s the same thing for me," says Rachelle. “I love seeing a finished product when I’m done.”

Milk and Cookies Bakeshop offers signature and custom cakes, cookies, meringues and macarons.
Photo by Athena Raypold
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