Larissa Codr spent her formative years in Sitka, Alaska, watching artisans sell their wares to throngs of tourists emerging from docked cruise ships. The young woman stoked her own artistic tendencies by attending local fine arts camps and music festivals but didn’t explore baking until several years later.
Adulthood found Codr in Nebraska, where she excelled in managing successful sales teams. In recent years, feeling overwhelmed and overworked, the businesswoman took a step back from management and refocused on sales. In her newfound free time, she began tinkering with a new art medium: royal icing. Soon, crafting meticulously decorated cookies as thank you gifts for clients bloomed into a full-blown business, and The Finicky Cookie was born.
Alluding to the business name’s inspiration, Codr shared, “I’m a huge perfectionist, very particular to my own detriment.” The most minor imperfections aggravate the cookie artist, but that only benefits her discerning customers.
Mastering the new medium while working full time wasn’t easy, but Codr doesn’t do anything halfway. She spent hundreds of hours absorbed in YouTube videos, learning and practicing new techniques.
Her penchant for perfection led to a vanilla sugar cookie made with organic, high-quality ingredients. According to Codr, the key to a great sugar cookie base is not just taste and flavor but the way the resultant cookie behaves after cutting and baking. “It doesn’t crack at all—people ask if I file the edges, those things don’t move in the oven.” That said, taste is critical and not something the baker is willing to compromise.
Codr cherishes stories from customers who appreciate her hard work and attention to detail. Some have gone so far as to save one or two cookies to admire but not eat. “I want customers to feel elated when they first see my cookies. It brings me joy to bring other people joy.”
In December 2021, Codr was browsing Facebook messages when one stood out: a query from a headhunter asking if she was familiar with and interested in interviewing for the popular Christmas Cookie Challenge on the Food Network. “I thought I was getting punked!” she exclaimed. Despite her healthy skepticism, she agreed to the interview process and was not only cast in the show but emerged victorious.
Codr is constantly learning and searching for ways to improve and finds inspiration everywhere. A strong marketing background melds with her self-described “if it looks pretty I’ll buy it” consumer approach to take her packaging to the next level. She studies new techniques and ideas, striving to become more efficient at every step.
In a sea of many cookie makers, Codr knows the smallest of details matter. She strives to set her products apart by seeking out unique cutter vendors and taking liberties with the design. For example, she adds layered dimension by further embellishing a Santa toy bag with gingerbread men, presents, and candy canes created from icing transfers.
Codr is also no slouch in the savory kitchen and savors the preparation (and eating) of a home-cooked meal with her school-aged sons. In addition to cooking, she finds peace in a good workout. “I work out every day to relieve stress and take off the cookie pounds,” she shared.
In late 2022, Codr joined a women-owned cooperative that provides kitchen and retail space, collaboration opportunities, and support. Future expansion ideas include gluten-free cookie development, more flavor options, and teaching classes in the new space. Despite feeling occasionally overextended, she remains grateful and enthusiastic. “With any passion or hobby, don’t be afraid to go out on a limb and believe in yourself. If it makes you happy, do it,” she said.
With limited time, Codr doesn’t personally mentor other local bakers or designers, but she records instructional videos. Her advice to budding cookiers? “Practice, practice, practice. Be ready for late nights and long hours. It’s not a glamorous life, but the joy is worth it.”
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