What does one do while in between jobs with creative energy to spare? For Jack Volpi, the solution was baking. Thus, the blog 100 Cookies, where he chronicles his culinary adventures, was born.
What does one do while in between jobs with creative energy to spare?
For Jack Volpi, the solution was baking. Thus, the blog 100 Cookies, where he chronicles his culinary adventures, was born.
Volpi, a Columbus resident, started his blog in September. Though he did land a job - with Nationwide Insurance's marketing department - he's kept up the baking.
The 39-year-old finds inspiration from a variety of sources, searching for recipes online, via cookbooks or on Pinterest. He's also starting to come up with his own recipes. Last year, his 92-year-old grandma gave him her recipe book with cookies, cakes and dinners clipped from 1950s magazines.
"It was a complete honor," Volpi said.
One recipe from that cookbook Volpi has mixed feelings about trying? A recipe for fudge that calls for a pound of Velveeta cheese.
"I have to do it, but I'm scared," he said.
Volpi was surrounded by baking from an early age.
"My grandma was always making cookies for us," he said.
When his sister Rita and her husband, owners of Studio 35 Cinema & Drafthouse, lived in town, Volpi would help her make movie-themed cupcakes from scratch to bring into the theater.
"We did a lot of brainstorming; we worked on a lot of those together," he said.
He spent 2013 learning how to make donuts. Their appearance? Normal. The taste? Not so much.
"The donuts were always terrible," he said.
Volpi has had much better luck with his cookies, and, like any artist, he has his favorites. Rated top for taste? Bailey Salingers (a "Party of Five"reference), double chocolate chip cookie sandwiches with a Bailey's Irish Cream buttercream. While his sister was in town, the two were trying to brainstorm ideas for a cookie Volpi could bring to a big family dinner.
"We kind of came up with the idea together," he said.
Other cookies have sentimental value, such as the pizzelles he made from his grandma's recipe and his Valentine's Day sugar cookies - frosted hearts decorated with his and his boyfriend Jim's initials.
Not every confection has gone according to plan, however.
"Some are total turds," Volpi said.
Exhibit A: Cookie No. 3, entered into the blog on Oct. 4.
Volpi does not have kind words for "Staci's Grandma HoltKamp's Supes Fluffy Sugar Fluff Bombs."
"These were hot mess express," he says. "So gross."
The adventure started out innocently enough, but there were signs this cookie was headed to Baking Purgatory. There was a tiny debate between Volpi and aforementioned friend Staci as to the cook time.
In the end, the undercooked sweets reached overwhelming proportions. Volpi had expected a two-to-three inch cookie. What he got ended up being four-to-five inches. Volpi and Staci ended up pouring maple syrup on them.
If you haven't noticed yet, Volpi makes up many of the cookie names.
"The names sometimes come first," he said.
Such was the case with cookie No. 21, Pecan Sanders. The idea had been born out of a friend's suggestion to do something political. Volpi realized the cookie would have to look like the Democratic Presidential candidate, complete with glasses and white frosting for hair.
Now, Volpi is trying to come up with a cookie to fit another name he's thought of: Amy Poehler Bears. He's visualizing a chocolate cookie with something on top.
Volpi has dreams of creating a cookbook, but he said he tries to be realistic. Once he reaches 100 Cookies, he might embark upon 100 Vegetables.
"Because I will be so fat by the time it's over," he said.