For some, baking is a hobby. Nicole Borota, on the other hand, spun it into a career. Her custom cookie company, Jersey Cookie Girl in Millstone, celebrated its 10th anniversary earlier this year. Though she left behind a career as an architect to pursue her passion, she considers her cookies “edible architecture.”
Borota and her nine-person, all-female team pump out more than 1,000 cookies a week for parties and events, which they ship all over the country. All of their cookies are hand-painted with glaze icing, and the staff can design anything from Sesame Street characters to Fortnite-inspired bites.
“My job is to make people shine at their events,” says Borota. “It is truly a pleasure.”
Table Hopping: Did you always know you wanted to work in a kitchen?
Nicole Borota: I’m professionally trained as an architect. That was my career. I have three children, and our youngest is autistic, so he’s the gift that allowed me to change my career and take this on.
TH: When did you realize your hobby of baking had the potential to turn into a career?
NB: My son’s friend had a birthday, and I said I was going to do the favors for the party. From that one party, I got three more orders. So I was like, “Okay, God, I see the sign!” That’s when I got an LLC, and here we are.
TH: What was it like starting your own business after quitting your job?
NB: Architecture is a lifestyle, so to me, it was just me being able to head back to work. Now what I do is basically edible architecture. I did a lot of client interaction at my old firm, which I still do now. It’s still very gratifying, and the workload is the same. I worked a lot of hours as an architect, and I work a lot of hours now!
TH: What’s been your favorite part of it?
NB: When people pick up their cookies, just knowing I’m a part of their parties is special—I become a part of people’s families. When I first started, I did a family’s sweet sixteen, then I did their wedding and then their baby shower, all in the same family. To be a part of their traditions is quite an honor.
TH: Every cookie is hand-painted. That sounds pretty time-consuming.
NB: I have eight girls that work for me and an assistant, so there’s ten of us total. My daughter works here all summer, and my family helped so much during Covid, which is why I was able to stay open. I love the people I work with, and we all have a really good time.
TH: Can you make any kind of design on a cookie?
NB: I use a glaze icing, which is quite different from typical royal icing. We can do pretty much anything from corporate branding and logos to characters and more. Each year has different phases and designs that are popular.
Now with Netflix and streaming, there’s nothing off the table. I don’t watch much TV, and when someone asked for Schitt’s Creek cookies, I was like, “I can’t put that word on a cookie!” The woman laughed and explained it’s a Netflix show. The young ladies I work with know all the trends that are happening.
TH: Aside from cookies, what else do you make?
NB: Chocolate-covered pretzels, marshmallows, Oreos, Rice Krispies Treats, brownies and all other assorted cookies. Our main product is sugar cookies, but we also have chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, snickerdoodles, appledoodles and orange creamsicle. We also have seasonal cookies like blueberry lemon, and we teamed up with a local farmer in Morganville to do a lavender cookie. We try to do fun things so people are never bored when they come in!
TH: Do you have a favorite design?
NB: Sesame Street is always fun to do. Who doesn’t love Elmo? And those characters are always smiling back at you. I made fidget spinner cookies once, and we actually made them spin. That was probably the most interesting one.
TH: What would you love people to know?
NB: I just love working with people and creating cookies that make them smile. It never gets old when people take the time to email me telling me how much they loved their cookies. I get choked up because I really love what I do.