These Hand-Painted Cookies Are Like Nothing You've Ever Seen
For Hungarian artist Judit Czinkné Poór, a cookie is so much more than a disk of baked dough; it's a canvas for intricate works of art. Using icing and food coloring, she paints meticulous designs inspired by traditional Hungarian embroidery—which blend vibrant blooms like lilies, tulips, and daffodils with astonishingly delicate filigree details—onto the surface of her baked goods.
Watch Poór's designs come to life on YouTube.
Sugar, Spice, Everything Nice
Poór's talents are vast—"I tried everything from porcelain painting to fashion design"—but she didn't discover her penchant for pastry arts until the spring of 2013, when a friend asked her to make a batch of cookies for houseguests. Rather than coat her treats with pastel frosting and sprinkles, Poór adorned her honey bread cookies, a Hungarian riff on gingerbread, with lovely flowers and lacy stitching. When Poór delivered the confections, she was asked, "Why aren't you doing only this?" Within a few months, she launched her pastry business, Mézesmanna.
Poór putting the finishing touches on a doilylike design
Patience and a steady hand are two key requirements in Poór's graceful patterns. Working alone in her kitchen, she prepares the dough and more than a dozen shades of icing before using a homemade piping bag, paintbrushes, and toothpicks to create each tiny embellishment, which she does entirely freehand.
Look but Don't Munch
A personalized pastry
Feeling hungry? Keep your hands off. Even though they're edible, Poór's gorgeous treats aren't meant to be nibbled. "As part of a Hungarian tradition, they're given almost exclusively as gifts for special occasions," she says. "They're like a souvenir—people hold on to them as treasured keepsakes." This idea befuddles some of her American fans. "They don't understand why I spend so much time on one cookie, but the details are what sets them apart," says Poór, who savors the intense work but is willing to give up part of the gig: "It'd be nice for someone else to do the baking."
By the Numbers
450: The largest order of cookies Poór has ever filled. It took her two months to prepare the batch, which was commissioned by the Corinthia Hotel in Budapest for its Christmas Day celebration.