I've discussed my disdain for running before. I've gone in depth on how crazy I think the people who do run are. No need to revisit that. But, some friends have recently started running. Hell, even dooce ran a marathon. Yesterday two friends ran the St. Jude marathon. One did the half marathon, the other finished the full one.
That is not my style. The only time I will ever run like that is if I were being chased and honestly I'd probably try to take the 'hide somewhere until they're gone' tactic. So, no the marathon I did had nothing to do with running.
It was a cookie marathon.
Arkansas Children's Hospital is celebrating their centennial. An amazing accomplishment. 100 years of hope and healing. I spent many summer days there myself waiting on appointments with my youngest sister. We knew where all the best waiting rooms where. We knew which ones had the best toys and the coolest stuff. So when a friend approached me to put in a bid to make some cookies for their centennial kick off event, I was intrigued. They wanted each employee to have a cookie with the logo on it.

How many employees, you ask?
Why 4,000.
Yes. Marathon indeed.
I knew I couldn't pipe a detailed logo on that many cookies in a short amount of time, so I opted to use edible images 'glued' down with icing on sugar cookies. I bought a printer at Staples and edible ink cartridges from KopyKake.
So, how much stuff goes into making that many cookies?
Glad you asked.
My typical batch of dough yields about 75-80 cookies, depending on the size. Meaning I needed to make about 48 batches of dough. I ended up total making 53 batches.
- 53 pounds of butter
- 265 eggs
- 100 pounds of sugar
- 140 pounds of flour
- a gallon of vanilla and almond flavoring (for cookies and icing)
- 112 pounds of powdered sugar (for icing)
and a few other ingredients in smaller amounts.

105 pounds of the powdered sugar
It took about 6 hours just to mix all the dough. (Would have obviously been much faster if I'd had access to my giant mixer).

It took about 14 hours to bake them all.
This is only 800 of them.

And another 20 hours to decorate and box them.

Granted, I did not do this all alone. I had several friends (and future employees) come in and help me. Plus my awesome husband. I seriously could not have done this without them.

Boxed and ready to go. Only half would fit in my car. Brad didn't think
we would actually finish.

From what I understand, there are two ways to put an edible image onto a cookie. You can use the KopyKake edible 'frosting sheets' (similar to the Wilton Sugar Sheets) or your can print on rice paper (fun fact: it's not actually rice). I opted for the frosting sheets as I had heard they tasted a bit better. BUT I found that for whatever reason, they just didn't dry well. When we stacked the cookies, the butter from the next cookie melted the sugar in the icing sheet and it then stuck to the back of that cookie. Basically the picture started peeling off. I did some looking around the internet trying to see what I did wrong, but I couldn't find anything. Apparently I'm the first person to encounter this problem. Really, I was looking for a blog post titled "I tried to stack 4,000 cookies with edible images on each other and they stuck, this is how I fixed it." Let me tell you, no such blog post exists.
Until now.
There is no fix. Or the fix we decided on was just to lay the cookies flat so they didn't really touch each other. This resulted in the use of several more boxes than originally planned, but also no sticking. So I call that a success. Because of the large scale of the order and the EXCEPTIONALLY difficult nature of the awful KopyKake frosting sheets, we wasted a lot of them (and they were expensive). One entire package of 24 sheets was so thin and sticky that we couldn't peel them off their backings. They rolled into balls of goo when we tried to cut them out. Another half package was so dry that they broke off in the printer and cracked while printing and would fall off, printing on the backing page instead (and wasting my very expensive edible ink). Since so much of it was wasted, we needed more paper but can't really get any locally (outside of one page at a time at Kroger or Walmart), I opted to try some of the rice paper for the rest of the cookies. I had no choice.
Can I say that was ridiculously easier. So much so that I wanted to cry. They cut out like a dream. I could cut up to five sheets at a time. They printed beautifully and didn't rip. They didn't stick together like the frosting sheets. They didn't stick to the other cookies and peel off making me cry. AND? They were so much cheaper. Like 40 cents/sheet instead of $1.25/sheet. And, if I'd had time to buy them online, you can get 100 sheets for $20. And, Brad said they tasted the same. Completely.
So, cookie conclusion: Buy the kopykake ink refills for your [new] printer and find some rice paper.

This was a crazy learning experience for me. I didn't get much sleep. I believe Monday I got about 6 hours (before the madness started, I was just unable to sleep). Tuesday and Wednesday nights I got 4 hours, Thursday I got 3 hours. And then Friday night I was finally able to sleep for 12 hours straight. They say you can't catch up on lost sleep, but they lie. You can, so if I don't answer my phone or reply to an email or tweet quickly it's because I'm still catching up. Until next weekend, when we will be painting the bakery and laying the flooring!
I'm beginning to think I'll never sleep again.