They’re beautiful, and delicious, and they’re cookies – that are a piece of intricate, tasteful art.

Just ask anyone who has ever attended one of Katie Craddock’s workshops for her Beautifully Delicious bakery, or any of her peers at Grain Valley North Middle School, as she often brings “sample cookies” for her teacher friends to critique.

The speech pathologist in the Grain Valley School District started her mom ‘n’ pop bakery three years ago, but it really began when her daughter Charlotte wanted a special birthday.

“I enjoyed throwing elaborately themed birthday parties for my daughters but really only focused on cakes at the time,” Craddock said. “As my oldest decided she didn’t like cake anymore, I began to search for other options.”

“I was drawn to the intricacy and endless possibilities of sugar cookies. In luck, she loved them! The first birthday party and many more hundreds of the first cookies tasted much better than they looked. They were all shaped like a dog biscuit, because that was the only cutter I had. They tasted great, but were really ugly.”

Now, Beautifully Delicious is a thriving business that includes her husband Zach, who bakes all the cookies; 7-year-old Charlotte, quality control; and 4-year-old Georgie, who gets 10 cents for each sticker she affixes to a box of cookies.

“It’s a family affair,” laughed Craddock, whose cookies come in any size and shape one can imagine – from unicorns and brightly colored celestial stars to Halloween zombies or a frosty mug of brew, complete with a foamy top made from Irish cream.

“Zach, who is also an educator, does all the baking. He will usually bake Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Then, I take the cookies downstairs to my studio and decorate them.”

Some of her detailed work takes two to three days, so different layers can dry before another application is added.

Craddock recently held a class/workshop at a Thyme For Everything in downtown Lee’s Summit.

The attention to detail by 13-year-old Kaya Mills, who was visiting relatives in Grain Valley, caught her eye.

“Kaya just jumped right in and was amazing,” Craddock said. “I asked her if she was an artist, and she said she was. Her cookies were very artistic. She did a great job.”

Mills said that she was inspired by Craddock’s personality and her creations.

“I love to draw and I do a lot of baking,” Mills said. “Now, I can mix art and baking because of her class. She was so nice and fun and a great teacher. I am so happy I got to go and I hope to go to some more when I come back down to Grain Valley.”

While Craddock would share her cookies with friends and co-workers for years, Beautifully Delicious, which falls under the state’s Cottage Law guidelines, allowing the Craddocks to bake at their home, came out of necessity.

“Beautifully Delicious bakery started as a reason to play with recipes, edible art and have fun creating for family and work events,” she said. “In the beginning, I manned every aspect of the bakery by myself. I gave and sold to friends and family who encouraged me with love and support.”

“In January of 2017, my sister decided I needed a logo and so Beautifully Delicious was born. Starting in March of 2018, my husband, Zach, started baking everything. He has greatly improved our recipe and the efficiency of our operation. I could not have grown the Beautifully Delicious bakery without him.”

Yet he is quick to downplay his role.

“I bake the cookies, and have had a lot of fun perfecting the sugar cookie recipe,” Zach said, “but it’s Katie’s artwork that makes them so special. I have the easy part. She makes the magic happen.”

And she is quick to point out that, “His workspace is much more organized than mine. Much of our work is done after our daughters go to sleep. We are both special educators and work full time in local school districts.”

“My grandmother was an artist, and in college, I started out at an art major but dreaded the idea of having to work for someone else. I eventually graduated with my master’s degree as a speech-language pathologist and have worked in a variety of settings for the last nine years.”

“Although I love my career, I have been able to express myself creatively through my cookies. I enjoy adding my own bit of creativity and spark to custom orders and am honored to have the opportunity to completely design cookie sets for clients. Cookies fuel my soul in a way that I didn’t know I needed.”

Craddock uses a cream cheese cookie glaze on her cookies, which are a butter cookie base. Because this is a part-time business, she asks for a minimum of two weeks' notice for all orders. She hosts a variety of workshops and private parties and her schedule can be found online at www.beautifullydeliciouskc.com