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Emily Lawler covers Michigan government by day and runs a cookie business by night

Emily Lawler
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Posted at 3:15 PM, Jan 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-22 17:46:31-05

LANSING, Mich. — Emily Lawler is the lead reporter for MLive’s Public Interest team, focusing on policy, politics and...cookies?

“I got into journalism because I wanted to do something different every day, and politics delivers on that," Lawler laughed. “I think Michigan has one of the best political scenes in the country right now.”

Still waiting for the part about the cookies?

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“Um, I decided I wanted to have a little bit of a creative outlet and also, like, a tangible product," Lawler said. "I write a lot of articles that go on the internet, maybe they end up in a newspaper, but…I just kind of wanted like a product to hold and to give to somebody at the end of the day.”

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Lawler has been working for MLive since 2014. She started The Cookie Press, her small business, at the beginning of 2020, just before the pandemic hit Michigan. The name is a nod to her day job, as well as a baking term.

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“So we made sure we get that reserved with the state. So nobody else can have her name,” said Rita LaMoreaux, Lawler's former co-worker and her current business adviser and customer. "I'm just watching her become such an amazing reporter and it's been fun. The last year, watching her going, ‘Oh, I have an interview with the governor…’”

So, how does Lawler manage owning a small business baking and designing artisanal cookies and covering state government?

“My mom always told me that only boring people get bored, so, I try my hardest to keep occupied and always be doing something,” Lawler explained. “I will get off work and come downstairs and start baking so...it’s sort of like…a nightly ritual to unwind with. Some people have a glass of wine, I bake a batch of cookies.”

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As if that weren’t enough, Lawler also creates her own cookie cutter shapes for custom orders using a 3D printer and decorates them by hand.

“The first time I ordered her cookies, I took them home and I kept looking at the cookie because it was so perfectly done every line was perfect. I go, ‘She's got to press this on or something,’" LaMoreaux said. "...and then a day or two later, she did a video on Facebook with her doing it by hand.”

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“I’m an artist of sorts and cookies are just my medium,” Lawler laughs. “Opening up as a business as opposed to just a hobby has really let me get more creative.”

Lawler shared that her secret ingredient is almond extract, which is derived from a peach pit, so is safe for those with nut allergies. She also says that lately she enjoys hand painting pet portrait cookies but can essentially create any design for any occasion, with two-weeks notice, of course.

Check out more of Emily's cookies here!

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Erica Murphy

Erica Murphy

1:21 PM, Mar 03, 2021

Your Neighborhood Reporter

Erica Murphy

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