There’s a reason this Seabrook house is popular with neighborhood kids
It’s no surprise Kristie Vitovsky’s Seabrook home is a popular hangout for neighborhood children. Her home always is filled with the scent of fresh baking and her freezer always is stocked with at least a triple batch of cookies ready to be thawed, then baked for hungry visitors.
Vitovsky is the owner of Simply Smitten Bakery, a home-based bakery known for custom-designed cookies that are both adorable and delicious.
There are plenty of other temptations, too. Vitovsky has three rooms devoted to cookie production and design. Her decoration room is stocked with the tools of her trade, including a projector, an airbrush and bottled dyes in a rainbow of colors. An adjacent room is lined with jars of sprinkles as appealing as any sweet shop, and in her office there are hundreds of cookie cutters in every design imaginable.
“My house is definitely the neighborhood hangout,” she said. “I always seem to have hundreds of kids dropping in and out. Yesterday, one boy told me he noticed my house always smells like vanilla.”
Since 2012, Vitovsky has delighted customers from Galveston to The Woodlands with her custom designs. She makes cookies for birthdays, anniversaries, engagements, bridal and baby showers, as well as themed sets for holidays. In October, she sold
hundreds of cookies in Halloween sets featuring cartoon-like characters.
“I just love my customers,” she said. “Many have supported me for years. It’s common that I will make cookies for their engagement party and end up baking for their baby shower, too. When they come to pick up cookies, we chat like old friends.”
Vitovsky grew up in Dallas and as a child was interested in baking, she said. But she earned a finance degree and worked as a financial analyst before marrying and having four children.
The genesis for the business came when she was living in Germany with her now ex-husband and she couldn’t find local cakes suitable for their children’s birthdays.
“German cakes are not that sweet,” she said. “If I’m going to eat cake, I want it to be sweet and I love buttercream. I couldn’t find what I wanted, so I made my own.”
When the family moved to Seabrook, her desire to work from home was encouraged by a friend who asked her to make a baby shower cake.
“It was very last minute, and the worst thing happened, I had the cake drop,” she said. “Luckily, she was completely understanding when I had to salvage the cake by making it into cake pops.”
Cake pops kept her busy for a while, but didn’t offer enough of a creative outlet, so she turned to cookies and taught herself baking and frosting techniques with the assistance of YouTube videos and plenty of practice, she said.
“I can’t draw to save myself, but put a piping bag in my hand and I can do it perfectly,” she said.
Vitovsky still spends hours researching food and baking fashions to make sure her color combinations are on trend and look as good as they taste. Llamas and cactus were fashionable cookie choices, but now foxes and other woodland creatures are in vogue, she said. Chevron was the go-to pattern but now plaid is trending along with floral designs and impressionist watercolor styles.
She loves working with clients to ensure the shape, designs and colors are just what they want, she said.
“I know their events are special and my cookies will add to that,” she said. “So, I will spend time painting a special pattern, almost like a wallpaper behind the design, and I will pipe their names to each cookie because I want people to know that these cookies were made just for that event. It gives me such joy to play a part in their special day.”
Not surprisingly, Vitovsky has an impressive collection of metal and plastic cookie cutters. She’s lost count of how many, but they are organized in boxes separated by shape and theme. Twice a year, her children, Tori, 12, Nate, 11, Abby, 9, and Eli, 7, will help her check through the boxes and reorganize the cutters. Her eldest daughter, Tori, who is studying Culinary Arts at Seabrook Intermediate School, also will help package cookies around holiday time.
Vitovsky is experimenting with baking and selling cakes again under her Simply Smitten brand. She has started selling mini layered cakes in a cup and also will bake a big celebration cake with enough lead time, she said. But cookies remain her passion.
“The next trend is to use a 3D printer to print your own cookie cutters and I’m seriously thinking that might be a great Christmas present to myself,” she said.
She’s not sure what design she would print first, but whatever the new shape, there are plenty of neighborhood children and loyal customers ready to devour that first batch.
Simply Smitten Bakery can be found on Facebook or by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org