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McLendon teaches cookie decoration at Female Factor

Donna McLendon’s decorated sugar cookies look so good you don’t want to eat them … until you take a bite, then they’re gone.

That’s the best way to describe the homemade cookies that McLendon bakes and decorates at her home here in Troy.

McLendon was the program guest at the Wednesday meeting of Female Factor at The Studio in downtown Troy.

Although McLendon grew up in a military family and has lived all around the United States, she found a settling down place in Pike County. She taught school in the county system for 30 years and then eight years with a state program.

McLendon said her love for creating and baking came from her mother who was an excellent cook.

“My earliest memory of my baking was in an Easy Bake Oven,” McLendon said, referring to the original Easy Bake toy with a light bulb for “heat.”

“I was sent to the basement to do my baking and for good reason” McLendon said, laughing. “Growing up, I loved to make cakes and cupcakes look pretty. I enjoyed baking cupcakes and cookies for my children but I became very interested in baking when my daughter became engaged and I decided to make her wedding cake.”

The engagement lasted two years so, McLendon, laughingly, said she had ample time to learn more about decorating cakes. She took a class and the rest is history.

“Cookie decorating came into the picture years ago when I first saw a cookie bouquet and started playing with cookies. That’s when I was really hooked,” McLendon said, And, that’s when she gave birth to “Sweet Reflection.”

McLendon doesn’t consider  “Sweet Reflection”  a business, rather a hobby.

“I call my hobby ‘Sweet Reflection’ because this sugar art is a reflection of the beautiful times shared in the journey of my life and others.

“I bake mostly for family and friends since this really is a hobby. Baking and creating sugar art is my creative outlet and it’s also a way I can lose myself when life gets a little stressful or boring.”

When McLendon bakes she almost turns her entire house into a bake shop with flour flying. That’s when her husband, Jerry, heads for cover.

“Jerry says the house looks like a cocaine factory and he goes to the other end of the house,” McLendon said, laughing.’

McLendon enjoys sharing the secrets of her “Sweet Reflection” with others just as others have shared with her

She demonstrated the art of baking and decorating cookies for the ladies at Female Factor. She gave them tips on how to make icings and on icing techniques – flooding and outlining,  piping and writing in detail and stiff, which will keep its character. She gave the ladies tips on coloring the icings and how to put icing on without the cookie crumbling.

The ladies were appreciative of McLendon’s talent and for sharing with them.

“That takes real talent,” one lady whispered and all around her said, “Amen!” to that.

“So, how much are your cookies a dozen?”