Tazim is Edmonton’s uncrowned “sugar cookie queen”
BY SULTAN JESSA
EDMONTON – Alberta: She is regarded as Edmonton’s uncrowned sugar cookie queen.
Tazim Giga-Punjani has probably made more than 10,000 cookies for friends and relatives in the past decade.
“The cookies are all hand decorated so they do take a long time to make,” she said. “The first step is to make the dough (my secret recipe), chill the dough, roll it out and cut out with my countless cookie cutters. Then they are baked until slightly golden brown.”
Once baked, she hand decorates them with different colors of royal icing. The icing has to dry for eight hours so colors do not bleed.
The cookies need to dry for at least eight hours to ensure the cookies don’t bleed into each other.
“I would say from start to finish, it takes four to five hours to make two dozen cookies,” said Giga-Punjani. “The more complicated the design, the more time it takes.”
It all started in 2009 when she had open heart surgery to fix a leaky heart valve at the age of 36 after suffering from heart palpitations and other problems for 16 years.
“This surgery changed my life and it looked like I was given a brand new life.”
Giga-Punjani had pretty rough and tough six months of recovery.
On the first anniversary of her complicated surgery, she threw a “Celebration of Life “party.
This was to thank friends and family members who were there for her during the “difficult and scary time.”
“I reminded everyone that life is short and they needed to stop and smell the roses.
She wanted to present everyone with a party favor but could not find anything with hearts that she liked.
“So I baked heart shaped cookies, decorated them, placed them in cellophane bags with pretty ribbons and a thank you note.
“All my guests liked the cookies.”
Giga-Punjani decided baking sugar cookies was a good hobby.
Today, she is passionate about baking cookies.
Friends gave her tips on decorating cookies and that was the launch of “Sugar Mammas.”
Watching decorated cookies inspires her.
“I do not have any kind of training,” she said. “I learn by trial and error. I also watch you tube videos.”
“My cookies are far from perfect but everyone seems to love them and even crave for them.”
She mostly makes cookies for friends and relatives.
The first cookies she made showed sporting events like football, soccer, and basket ball.
Now, she makes cookies for all occasions.
“At the time, I thought my cookies looked great. Now, when I look back, I realize how horrible they were. When I look at professional cookie decorators, I know I still have a long way to go. But, I am learning new tricks every day.”
Giga-Punjani makes only sugar cookies.
“I make them thick. A lot of people assume these are short bread cookies. They are crunchy on the outside and melt in your mouth…they are soft on the inside.”
Giga-Punjani has always been interested in photography.
She enjoys taking photos of her cookies and sharing them with friend and relatives on the social media.
“The most pleasure I get from these cookies is hearing how these cookies put smiles on people’s faces,” she said. “This makes my day a little sweeter.”