Who would have thought that a combination of egg whites and sugar can be made into something beautiful? Denise Teh sure did. Sweet Hato, Denise’s brainchild, offers delectable, beautiful and unique meringue cookies. Get to know Denise Teh, the founder of Sweet Hato and how it was whipped into existence.
Meet Denise Teh, The Founder of Sweet Hato
“Hello! My name is Denise Teh.”
Denise is a Law graduate and a qualified lawyer who was called to the Malaysian Bar in 2020. “I was unemployed after I have completed my legal training in 2020. I started Sweet Hato during the pandemic.” Denise started by posting her first ever meringue cookies on her personal Instagram account.
That post captured her friends’ attention who then encouraged her to explore her potential and start selling her meringue cookies online. Denise was first hesitant as she was new to baking meringue cookies and the amount of time piping just one single character deterred her. However, as time went by, a thought came into Denise’s mind, “Why not just give it a go? There’s nothing to lose.”
Hence, Sweet Hato came to life. “I started Sweet Hato without expecting much. To me, maybe it was just a page where I could express my creativity and share my baking creations,” said Denise. However, the orders kept coming and the rest is history.
What Makes Sweet Hato Special?
Sweet Hato is among the very few businesses that do sell meringue cookies which makes it special. “…maybe because of the strenuous and detailed work that you have to put into each and every piece,” Denise explained.
Moreover, at Sweet Hato, customers can customise their meringue cookies. “Whether it is your beloved pet or your favourite plush toy, you can customise them!” Denise joyfully shared. Among Sweet Hato’s bestsellers designs are Winnie & Piglet, Dumbo, Disney Princesses and the Corgi and its butt!
How Are The Meringue Cookies Made?
Just like how any meringues are made, it starts with whipping the ingredients to create the meringue batter. Once that is done, the batter will be split into several portions to be coloured with food colouring. Then, they are put into piping bags ready for piping.
“Depending on the characters that I will be making for the day, sometimes I would need to mix up about 15 different colours (this means 15 different piping bags) for complicated or multi-coloured characters. This can take up quite a bit of my time!” explained Denise.
However, most of Denise’s time is spent piping each of the characters into life. When that is done, her creation will be baked for 3-4 hours in low heat. It surely is no activity for one with little time to spare.
Why Put The Meringue Cookies In Our Drinks And How Do They Taste Like?
“Maybe it is like placing marshmallows in your hot chocolate,” Denise shared. It is mostly for aesthetic purposes as the beautifully designed meringue cookies will float on your drink. Although it provides a hint of sweetness to your drink it cannot substitute your sugar.
As for how it tastes, meringue cookies are sweet. “It will taste like sugar cookies with vanilla flavour.” Denise shared. For those who don’t have a sweet tooth, Denise recommends pairing them with crackers.
Denise’s Journey So Far
The response towards Sweet Hato has been positive. However, they also faced their own challenges. During the previous Chinese New Year, Denise had an influx of orders due to the government’s decision to ease the gathering restrictions. “I was severely shorthanded. I had to work from morning till past midnight every day even during the eve of CNY and on CNY day itself.” shared Denise.
Another challenge they faced is to search for attractive and airtight packaging during the festive season. “It is difficult to find packaging that is airtight. Meringues are sensitive to moisture from the air.” Denise explained. Due to that, the packaging needs to be airtight and sealed.
It has been a rollercoaster ride for Denise, leaving the legal world and entering the unknown world of baking and entrepreneurship. “Don’t listen to your inner voice saying that you can’t!” advised Denise. The road is long and unpredictable but one thing is for sure, Denise is happy and satisfied that she started her business and became an entrepreneur – in the pandemic!
What’s In Store for Sweet Hato In The Future
“I am slowly exploring the idea of integrating meringue cookies into other pastries. Such as meringues on a cake (which I have already done for Mother’s Day) and with other popular pastries as well.” shared Denise. Other than that, Denise also hopes to open her own store one day. Hopefully, we can drop by and get our handmade meringues soon!