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Heelan students create artisan cookies in time for Valentine's Day

Heelan students create artisan cookies in time for Valentine's Day

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Flour Power bakers

Ellie Ernster, left, and Molly O'Neill, seniors at Heelan High School, display a plate of cookies in a foods classroom at the Sioux City high school. The women learned how to bake for a school assignment. They enjoyed the experience so much that they've turned cookie-making into a business.

Best friends since the first grade, Ellie Ernster and Molly O'Neill have based their relationship on a mutual love of education, crafting and cookies.

Goodness knows, these Bishop Heelan Catholic High School seniors know a thing or two about colorful, artisan cookies.

Ellie and Molly, both 18, began baking shortly before Christmas 2018.

"It started as a school assignment," Ellie explained. "We needed to create a project, documenting it step-by-step."

Flour Power bakers

Cookies baked and decorated by Ellie Ernster and Molly O'Neill, seniors at Heelan High School, are shown Tuesday. The women bake cookies and market them through their Flour Power Facebook page.

"We thought making cookies would be a fun, visual step-by-step project," Molly added. "Once we started ... we were hooked."

Indeed, the two girls decided to turn their newfound hobby into a business.

Flour Power by Molly and Ellie features the pair's custom-made sugar cookies as well as specialty cakes and cupcakes.

"However, we mostly make cookies," Ellie said. "Cookies are what we're best known for."

Specifically for Valentine's Day, the girls have created a mouth-watering assortment of cookies in the shape of hearts, lips and letters that spell out the word "love."

"We like making sugar cookies because they offer a blank canvas," Molly said. "You can add any type of frosted design to a sugar cookie."

In fact, the girls have cookie decorating down to a science. Ellie is better at lettering in frosting while Molly shows off her expertise by creating detailed art.

Selling their baked goods to classmates, friends and family, the girls draw inspiration from social media sites like Pinterest and Instagram. 

"There are so many sites out there that it's easy to be inspired," Ellie said. "Plus we're becoming more confident in our designs."

More importantly, they're having fewer mishaps.

"When we started, we'd make mistakes and have to do it over again," Molly admitted. "That's happening less and less often."

Which isn't to say that the girls would ever throw away cookies.

"No, we never have to worry about leftovers or people willing to taste-test our products," Ellie said. "Everybody likes cookies."

To be honest, the girls hope that never changes for a couple of reasons. The most ironic reason revolves around their future occupation.

"Both Ellie and I will be going to the University of Iowa next year," Molly said. "And we both want to become dentists."

Ah, that's pretty sneaky to sell sugary treats to prospective patients, right? Although Ellie's reasoning sounds less conspiratorial.

"People say that dentistry is where art and medicine meet," she said. "There's plenty of detail work required when you're working on teeth."

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