thinking about a taste of home, Maple Grove resident and owner of Minnie’s Cookies, Amanda Luecke, reminisces on the times when her mom, Mary or “Minnie,” would bake enough holiday cookies to cover the entire dining room table and every kitchen surface in between. “Baking has always been one of those things where if I am feeling stressed out or I just feel like having that comfort I turned to it,” she says.
After her mother passed in 2016, Luecke quit her job in hopes of spending more time with her two daughters. Looking for a source of remote work, she began exploring ways that would utilize her passions for creating. Starting her cookie-making journey by researching general baking ideas online, she stumbled upon royal icing sugar cookies. Fascinated by the way these cookies fused something sweet with art, she knew that she had to dabble with it. “I had never seen such detailed cookies, and that is what intrigued me,” she says. With a background in art and communications, Luecke began to teach herself everything with the help of the noble world-wide-web. Researching countless techniques and watching hours of YouTube videos, she was determined to perfect her newfound craft.
Finding inspiration for new designs all around her, Luecke says she gets ideas from browsing the aisles of craft stores, looking at home décor and even her daughter’s clothes. Her desire to experiment with designs stems from her passion for learning. “I always want to improve and try to get better at my skills, which pushes me to look for and search for new things that I can try out,” she says. “I always like to try new techniques and try to do something that I haven’t seen done before.”
Luecke will make anything from Jurassic Park-inspired dinosaurs, flowers, farm animals, rainbows, holiday-inspired collections, various foods and even Mickey Mouse. For her, the possibilities are endless. “If you give her the chance to run with it, you really wind up with something more sentimental and a work of art,” says longtime customer Kory Roe. “They are like little mini masterpieces on their own, and you feel bad eating them, but they are definitely worth eating.”
Though she works to create new and exciting designs each batch, the one thing that remains constant is the recipe of the cookie itself. Using a recipe inspired by her grandmother’s, the cookies are a take on a classic sugar to which Roe compares the taste to angel food cake.
“I think what is so exciting about [Luecke] and what she has to offer is that they literally taste as good as they look,” avid customer Lisa Zahn says.
Discovering Minnie’s Cookies through a Facebook giveaway she was tagged in, Roe decided to enter her name without intending to win. To her surprise she won the contest and was gifted a set of Minnesota Twins- themed cookies. Upon receiving the delivery, Roe was blown away by not only the attention to detail, but the fabulous taste as well.
Realizing the true talent that Luecke had, Roe has since turned to Luecke for help with celebrating all her life events from birthdays and anniversaries to weddings. “It excites me to see what she is going to create. I am just excited to know that whatever comes our way, she will be a part of those little and big moments,” she says.
Ode to Mrs. Claus
Using a variety of cookie cutters, Luecke finds that a majority of her designs stems from true imagination. Though the universal shapes are the backbone of her work, she finds that cookie designing is most fun when she can reinvent the intended purpose of the cutter into something new and innovative.
One of her favorite cutter designs is a two piece of Mrs. Claus. Consisting of a simple torso and head with her hair in a bun, she can transform this simple North Pole icon into a myriad of different characters. Finding joy in creating new outfits for this character, Luecke has created over 10 versions of Mrs. Claus for a variety of themes and holiday-inspired looks.
“She is almost like my own dress-up paper doll,” she says. “It is pushing the envelope as far as what she is intended for and what I can push her to become. I really enjoy it.”