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Entries in new jersey (21)

Wednesday
Feb252015

Where in the World is CakeSpy This Time? 

Unicorn farm road

If you've been following me on social media lately, you've seen posts from a wide variety of locales, from Asheville, North Carolina to New York City to Litchfield County, Connecticut to...Amarillo, Texas? 

It all might make one start to wonder: where in the world is CakeSpy? Where the heck IS CakeSpy? 

Why don't we catch up so I can tell you where I've been and what I've been doing--and more importantly, eating. 

Before I departed Asheville, I made three very important stops that I feel I should tell you about. The first was to Unicorn Farm Road. I need to tell you: THIS IS A REAL PLACE. One of my yoga school classmates told me about it, and basically I got there as soon as my GPS said I could. 

Unicorn farm road

I wouldn't say that the road matches its name (unless the unicorns are living undercover), but seriously. UNICORN FARM ROAD! 

If that interested you, FYI, there is also a Unicorn Road in Newburyport, Massachusetts (also home of Eat Cake!). Just saying.

After Unicorn Farm Road (can you tell I love saying it?), we hit up Dough, a bakery that had been closed most of January for renovations. Well, it re-opened the day we left, and it had some truly glorious offerings, including their take on a Cronut...

Dough

and a cocoa nib doughnut...

Dough

And many things other than doughnuts, but we didn't try them.

Yumz. We took a few bites but saved some room, because I'd never been to Whit's Frozen Custard before. Yes, it's a chain, but it was a new chain to me. And I'm glad I went there. We got their version of a concrete, which you seriously could have turned over and it wouldn't have dripped out of the cup, it was that thick. I got the cookie dough version, thankyouverymuch. Whit's

Oh, and. It's a bonus fourth thing I did in Asheville, but I got new boots. New Boots

After I departed Asheville, North Carolina (read about what I ate in Asheveille!), me and my family packed up and drove to Richmond, VA to visit an old family friend. Time was at something of a premium there, but we did get a chance to enjoy a fantastic breakfast at Lulu's (red velvet waffle, anyone?), and to pick up some sweet treats at For the Love of Chocolate.

Photo via Lulu's Yelp page

We didn't have time to hit up Dixie Donuts this time, but I can tell you from my previous visits to Richmond, they're worth a visit. 

From Richmond, we backtracked westward, ultimately bound for Santa Fe, New Mexico. But as that drive is impossible to do in one go, we had some pleasant side trips along the way. 

Knoxville

First up was Knoxville, Tennessee. One of my yoga school classmates, Emily, lives there, so we stopped to visit! That's us together, above. We're cute, don't you think? We had lunch at an adorable place called Just Ripe, where they had pecan sorghum pie. We didn't get it, but I was intrigued. Note: Sorghum is big in this area. I was seeing it all over Asheville, too.

Knoxville

After lunch, we went to an adorable chocolate shop called Coffee and Chocolate.

Photo via Coffee and Chocolate's Yelp page

We also couldn't help a quick stop in this adorable gift store called Rala, which sort of reminded me of my old store! They have cute cards by Gemma Corell, pictured below. 

I also saw this, in another gift store. I forget the name of the store, but the unicorn left a lasting impression.

Unicorn, Knoxville

We stopped for a quick dinner in Nashville, and I will tell you, this is my first time having BBQ there! We went to a place charmingly called Peg Leg Porker to partake. They also had locally made fried pies, which we tried...I promise, they tasted better than my picture looks. Fried pie

We also stopped for a coffee at Crema, then were on our way. 

Drive, drive, drive. We stopped in Arkansas so I could take a yoga class, but didn't stop too long otherwise. I didn't eat anything there, but I should let you guys know that I was able to knock Arkanasas off of my "50 states of yoga" list. Along with the trips detailed later, I am up to this point:

More driving, then we had a brief stopover in Oklahoma City to visit Whiskey Cake. I love this restaurant. It's weird because it's oddly chain-y, or it looks like they want to become a national chain, but while it's still a small chain, it's very good. We had (surprise) the whiskey cake.

Photo via Whiskey CakeNo visit to Pinknitzel or Ingrid's Kitchen this time, because then we were on our way to...

Amarillo, Texas. If you've never been to Amarillo, I'm not going to give it a hard sell. But I am going to tell you that if you dig a little, there are some fun bakeries to be found. There's Donut Stop, which is very old school but has good, "like Dunkin' Donuts used to be" sort of donuts. Because it is amusing, I will pause to show you some photos of Porkchop exhibiting curiosity about their donuts for a moment. Donut Stop Donut Stop

As a note, I bought a t-shirt there, which smelled like donuts (really). I didn't want to wash it! But, in case you were worried, I finally did. 

There's also my favorite bakery in Amarillo, Belmar Bakery.

Texas cookies

Belmar Bakery is my favorite probably because it's the same name as the town I grew up in, in New Jersey. It also oddly reminds me of a bakery called Freedman's that was in Belmar forever until last year. But this is in Texas.

Turtle brownie, Belmar Bakery

They have a variety of not-fancy but sweet treats, ranging from kolaches (it's Texas, after all) to cupcakes to brownies. We picked up a nice variety of treats, including brownies, cookies, petits fours, and more. The brownies, in my opinion, were the standouts. 

We also stopped at Braum's, a regional chain which has its last outpost to the west in Amarillo. I love their birthday cake ice cream. 

Braum's

Back in Santa Fe, we were delighted to pick up our favorite cake from Whole Foods (here's my homemade hack of it!). As a note, this one says happy birthday because it is an old photo. My birthday was in August, but you're allowed to send me a present if you like.

Birthday cake

But after about 4 days back in Santa Fe, I was back on the road. I had a trip planned to New York City, Boston, and Connecticut, to try to make some publisher connections. 

So, I got on a midnight plane and the next morning, found myself in cold, cold, cold New York City.

Right after hopping on a red-eye flight, I went straight into Manhattan, to Black Seed Bagels. It was a re-schedule; Arcade Bakery, the initial venue, was closed for the winter break. 

Photo via Black Seed Bagels on Yelp

I walked by the new BAKED location on my way to the meeting, and I can tell you, Baked is good no matter if it's in Tribeca or Brooklyn. 

Photo via BAKED Facebook page

I then got a rental car in New Jersey (it was a lot cheaper), stopped for a cookie with my parents...

Mom's super secret chocolate chip cookies

and drove up to Connecticut. There, I had another meeting but then stayed with some family. To be a good houseguest, I made sure to get them a little cake. I don't know if you can tell from the photo, but it was a tiny cake--about 5 inches. This highly adorable cake was purchased at Whole Foods, where they personalized it for me with a heart. Aww!

Little cake from Whole Foods, Danbury

I also had time to stop at Love Heart's Bakery in Litchfield, which I already loved just based on the name, but loved even more once I tasted their English Toffee. 

English Toffee from Love's Heart Bakery, CT

From there, I headed up to the Boston area, where I got to finally meet Andris of Baking Steel, with whom I am collaborating on a project. We talked pizza and steel, then I helped him with a pizza class. 

Photo via Baking Steel

The next morning, I knocked Massachusetts off of my yoga list by taking a class at Dancing Crow Yoga, and then went to a meeting at Redeye Coffee Roasters in Hingham.

Snowy boston

After that, I had a weather advisory so I basically headed back to New Jersey for a visit with my parents. First stop? Hoffman's ice cream. Even on the coldest week of the year, it's a necessary stop for me every time I go to NJ.

Hoffman's Ice cream, nj

My dad had an impressive pastry from Mueller's in Bay Head on the same night, which I thought I would show you. 

Chocolate claw

In NJ, I made sure to hit up some of my favorite places: Kane Brewing Company, Younique Yoga, and Rook Coffee.

Rook coffee and an apple

I also had a standout pastry experience at Simona's Bakery in Sea Girt, NJ. We had gone there because their chocolate blackout cupcake was named one of the best in NJ. Well, we got one of those, but also a Fluffernutter cupcake, which was a melange of peanut butter and marshmallow. Look at it!

Cupcakes from Simona's

And now, look at how it looks in the center.

Fluffernutter cucpake, Simona's

Now, I'm not one to even believe in the existence of "half a cupcake" (just eat the thing! is my opinion), but this cupcake was so large that it really was like two cupcakes, so I separated it into two portions. This means I got to enjoy it over two days. Score!

It was snowy and cold in NJ, so I spent some time doing stippling. You can read about it in this post I did for Craftsy. How to: stippling

I of course also hit up Nature's Corner for one of my favorite Shazaam cookies.

Shazaam cookie

I headed back up to NYC, where I ate some pizza and recorded a podcast with Food Psych by Christy Harrison.

Oh, and I also got to go to City Bakery for some hot chocolate and an expensive marshmallow. Classic! City Bakery

 

I stayed with my friend James, and he made gluten-free pancakes in the morning. I had never tried them before but these were actually quite nice--extra nice since they were made for me by a friend.

GF Pancakes

The next day, I went back to the city for a meeting and the editor had treats from Bouchon. Pinkies ouuuuut!

Ho-ho from Bouchon Bakery

I went back to NJ, feeling like a real live commuter, and spent the night. The next AM, me and my mom went back to the city. We enjoyed the most frigid walk I've ever had, but we had each other's company.

We had a tasty dinner at Benny's Burritos, and I picked up some sweets at Zaro's Bread Basket at Penn Station (which hasn't changed a whole lot since this roundup). 

Black and White Cupcakes

The next day was my last in the city, and this is a good point to ask an important question: is it really a visit to NYC without a cupcake from Amy's Bread? I think not. 

Cupcakes at Amy's Bread in Chelsea Market, NYC

Have you ever tried Dough Doughnuts? Based in Brooklyn, this is a store that cannot be missed. They also sell their doughnuts at Whole Foods locations in Manhattan.

Photo via DOUGH

We got some coffee at Ms Delilah's, an adorable place with biscuits from Balthazar that they will dress up in a number of different ways. 

Once at JFK, I was just happy to have survived the weather, and I was on my way back to Santa Fe. 

Whew! What a few months it has been. I'm ready for a nap!

Happy Sweet Winter, everyone!

Tuesday
Oct082013

CakeSpy Undercover: DoCo, Farmingdale NJ

Doco, Farmingdale

The other day I was in a clothing store in Red Bank, New Jersey. While I was browsing some accessories, I heard two girls in dressing rooms next to one another talking.

"Have you been to the new doughnut shop in Farmingdale?" one asked the other.

I moved closer to the dressing rooms, so I could hear.

"It's really good, they make them to order," she continued.

It's not creepy that I stood outside of someone's dressing room to hear this, right?

Well, rather than identify myself as a creepy stalk-listener, I headed right to the internet on my smart phone to find out more. Turns out, in an unlikely corner of New Jersey, there is in fact a new donut shop: DoCo is its name (it is a cool way of shortening "Donuts" and "Coffee"--sort of like SoHo, but with doughnuts). It should not surprise you that I was there less than 24 hours later.

DOCO

It took me a few minutes to figure out how DoCo worked, since when you walk in there are no doughnuts on display. It's just boxes and a menu that you see. 

Doco, Farmingdale

So how you do it is you can either choose one of their menu concoctions, or you can choose a glaze and any toppings you like, and they'll make the doughnut to order. And as for doughnuts, you can either do a "regular" -- a dense, cake doughnut--or a "kronut" as they call them...their riff on the famous NYC "cronut" croissant-doughnut hybrid. On the day I went, they also had beignets.

Doco, farmingdaleDoco, farmingdale Doco, farmingdale

Going for variety, I got a regular doughnut with apple pie toppings, a "kronut" with cannoli cream topping, and a doughnut with maple topping and bacon. 

What a happy moment.

Doco, Farmingdale

The apple pie doughnut was a regular cake doughnut round, topped with a spicy apple pie filling type topping and a big ol'crown of whipped cream. Freshly fried, the doughnut was a nice base for the moist toppings, and held its shape. The filling didn't have that "from a can" taste, which was nice. A very pleasant fall doughnut. 

Doco, Farmingdale

I'll tell the truth, I didn't get a chance to try the maple bacon! But judging how quickly SpyDad scarfed it down, I am going to say it was operation: success. Same doughnut base as the apple pie doughnut.

Doco, Farmingdale

I think the real star of the show, though, was the kronut. It practically oozed with the fry oil that was retained in the flaky folds of dough, which gave me an inkling that I should be feeling guilty eating such a decadent treat...but I didn't.

The addition of the cannoli cream is simply genius. It has that slight tangy bite that, as I never realized til a few days ago, gives a doughnut dimension. Seriously. Try it if you ever have the chance.

Doco, Farmingdale

Overall, the doughnuts managed to be hearty, healthy servings, with some evident creativity, but zero fussiness. The total bill for three doughnuts was less than $5, which I think is fantastic. 

It may take a few minutes to learn how things work at DoCo when you visit, but it's worth taking the time to figure it out.

DoCo Donut and Coffee Company, 5015 Route 33 and 34, Farmingdale, NJ. On Facebook.

Friday
Jul052013

CakeSpy Undercover: Simona's Bakery, Sea Girt NJ

When you walk into Simona's Bakery in Sea Girt, New Jersey, you could easily mistake it with an old-school Italian bakery that has been there for generations.

As a matter of fact, it's been there only about a year, give or take. But that old-school feel has a strong basis: it's the newest bakery from a family that has 4 generations of baking experience. Locals may recognize the style of the bakery as being similar to Delponte Bakery in Bradley Beach. But it's not a ripoff--it's their daughter!

In spite of the similar appearance, I felt as if there were subtle differences between the two bakeries. Some of the cookies by the pound were different, and the decoration on the cakes had a slightly different style. But like I said--subtle. 

I was pretty excited to see some different brownie varieties--plain, frosted, Cookies n Cream (Oreo, basically), walnut, and German Chocolate. I decided then and there that it was a brownie kind of day. I asked the employee "should I do plain frosted, or German Chocolate?". She looked at me like I clearly must have something wrong in the head. "You should get..." she said slowly, as if I might have trouble understanding, "the German Chocolate." 

Good lord, was she right! The chocolate explosion in my mouth. The sticky-sweet coconut brown sugar topping. The little dollop of chocolate on top. I felt happy chills while eating it, and it wasn't just the air conditioning in my mom's car. This was a good brownie. I wish I could tell you how it compared to the plain, but I don't care about the plain. I love the German Chocolate. 

SpyMom got an orange pecan biscotti, which she deemed "good". She didn't add much beyond that, but I did note that it disappeared in a rather rapid way. 

SpyDad got a walnut brownie, which similarly disappeared quickly but without much comment. 

Overall, I was impressed by my visit to Simona's. I wish I had gotten more photos for you to ogle, but you see I was on a mission to get--and eat--a brownie. So the one at the top will have to suffice. Go there. 

Simona's Bakery, 2201 Highway 35, Sea Girt; online here.

Sunday
May262013

Sweet Discovery: The Shazaam Cookie, Nature's Corner, Spring Lake NJ

I'm going to tell you the truth, here. Had I read the sign carefully, I might not have went for this cookie. After all, it is advertised as being "high fiber" and boasts its content of rice protein powder to satisfy appetite. Those selling points make the cookie sound suspiciously like health food.

It does make sense, of course--they are sold at a health food store in New Jersey. They're called the "Shazaam Cookie" and they're baked on site at Spring Lake Heights' Nature's Corner store (where health nuts and stoners from my neck of the woods have bought their hippie food since I was in high school). They're chock-full of whole grains, organic hemp seeds, organic rice protein powder, and organic coconut oil. As I learned on their website, the cookies "also have flavorless vegetable fiber to help regulate your digestive system. Yummy chocolate chips add just the right amount of sweetness."

Perhaps they sense that they might lose some people with this description, so they finish "Of course,  These cookies are fantastically popular, and we love making them fresh in store daily. Stop in today and give them a try!"

Now. I am going to tell you that even if health food scares you, you really must give this cookie a try. Because somehow, the little elves at Nature's Corner manage to make a healthy treat that is a seriously delectable sweet. It is soft and lightly crumbly--not like it will crumble apart, but like it will yield in your mouth. But then little pop-crunches from the hemp seeds. Nice texture. And then you get the chocolate chips, little bursts of deep chocolate flavor surrounded by a nutty, grain-y flavor that is a wonderful complement. They sort of remind me of the Urban Legend cookies from my new book, but like, their healthier cousin.

I found this cookie a wonderul surprise, and was so delighted to learn that they are baked on site. I can most certainly see how they've begun to garner a cult following, and they can certainly count me as one of their fans from now until forever. 

Nature's Corner,  2407 Route 71, Spring Lake Heights, NJ; online here. 

Tuesday
Mar122013

CakeSpy Undercover: Springtime at What's For Dessert, Spring Lake Heights NJ

Hot Cross Bun from Whats for Dessert, Spring Lake Heights

I feel as though I would be remiss if I did not tell you that this is a most wonderful time of year to visit What's For Dessert, a bakery in Spring Lake Heights, New Jersey.

Why at this time of year, you ask? Well, because of their stellar springtime offerings. I feel very qualified to tell you about them, because I grew up with this bakery. Although it has changed locations since my youth, their offerings have remained just as I remember.

Frog Cupcakes, Whats for Dessert, Spring Lake Heights NJ

First up, the Frog Cupcakes. A Jersey Shore (and, if I'm honest, mid-atlantic) phenomenon, theirs are especially cute. You can read more about the frog cupcake here, but rest assured, this is where SpyFamily buys theirs.

Next up, the hot cross buns. Only available on the weekends, and only at this time of year, these brioche-like buns, studded with raisins and x-marks-the-spotted with thick icing, these are an ideal treat with tea: lightly sweet, and so good with butter. Simple but perfect.

Hot Cross Bun from Whats for Dessert, Spring Lake Heights

Now. These are the primary reasons why you must go to this bakery right now. But there are plenty of reasons to go at other times of the year, too. For one, they have highly respectable old-fashioned doughnuts. 

Donut, What's for Dessert, Spring Lake Heights

And nice, golden, spongy cupcakes with a generous piping of frosting. Note that these are more old-school bakery style than fancy cupcakery style, but you're not necessarily looking at a fussy cupcake here. 

Cupcakes at What's For Dessert, Spring Lake Heights NJ

Though not pictured, What's for Dessert also makes a very fine crumb cake, with fat pearls of brown sugar crumb perched atop a buttery cake base, and very nice sugar cookies, which they'll decorate according to season.

Everything is super-affordable in the bakery (lots of things under a dollar!), too. I should tell you it's not a place to hang out--no seating, inside or out--but overall, we're here for the sweets, not comfy seats and wi-fi, right? I think that What's for Dessert is a charming little spot, and I think you will, too!

What's for Dessert, 1901 Highway 71, Spring Lake Heights, NJ. On Facebook.

Monday
Sep032012

Rock Out With Your Cupcake Out: Confections of a Rockstar, Asbury Park

Confections of a rockstar

Recently, me and SpyMom hit up Confections of a Rock$tar, a new bakery in Asbury Park, NJ. A rock n roll bakery is right at home in this town, which is famous for being the place that Bruce Springsteen made a name for himself, at clubs such as the Stone Pony. This town has inspired confections before: there is a bakery a few towns over called the Scone Pony (love it, don't you?). 

Confections of a rockstar

At Confections, they have really good cake. Like, we were impressed (we being me, SpyMom, and SpyDad - come on, this is like royalty visiting your bakery!). We got the "Greetings from Asbury Park" cupcake, which as a cinnamon cake with cinnamon infused frosting. Yum Yum Yum. Rich frosting, moist cake - a winner.

Confections of a rockstar

But what impressed me equally as much as the cake was some of the names for the baked goods, which were rock themed. Some were just given iconic names (like the aforementioned Asbury Park), some had clever puns such as "S'more than a Feeling", and "Macaroon 5" cookies. After a lengthy discussion, me and SpyMom decided that the Greetings from Asbury Park really ought to have been called Cinnamon Girl, after the Neil Young song.

Confections of a rockstar

Of course, this brought on a big conversation, and we'd like to present some ideas we had for future cupcake names and flavors. (And I'm kind of a pro--I once designed a whole baked good menu involving rock music puns. Rolling Scones, anyone?).

Confections of a rockstar

BonBon Jovi: Howsabout a cupcake stuffed with a truffle in honor of a NJ rock legend?

Chai Baby: Not "Cry Baby" - Chai Baby!

Cinnamon Girl: cinnamon cupcake, Neil Young would approve.

Bananarama: Make a delicious Hummingbird cake, and name it for the 80s group. 

Crosby, Stills, and Ganache: A chocolate feat of deliciousness inspired by Crosby, Stills and Nash.

Peter, Paul, and Berry: A berry cupcake (could also be used with "cherry").

Bruce Sprinklesteen: A sort of funfetti variation inspired by the Boss.

Love me Two Limes: A lime cake and lime buttercream with a Doors feel.

Purple Glaze: A blueberry or blackberry cupcake with a matching violet-hued glaze would be a delicious homage to the rock song Purple Haze.

Another Peach of My Heart: Janis Joplin wailing "Piece of My Heart"? Enjoy it with a peach cupcake.

Greetings from Asbury Pork: Everyone has a bacon cupcake now; why not call it by a clever name?

Red Velvet Underground: Andy Warhol would love to eat the cake named after his pet project band.

Sympathy for the Devil's Food Cake: Rolling Stones approved cake.

But I digress. The main point of this post was to tell you that A) Confections of a Rockstar is worth a visit, and B) to inform you of how clever me and SpyMom are. Having (I hope) proved both points, I will now leave you with one more picture:

Confections of a rockstar

Confections of a Rock$tar, 550 Cookman Avenue, Asbury Park NJ. Online here.

Sunday
Jul082012

Baked Good of the Day: Cannoli Cupcake, Del Ponte's Bakery, Bradley Beach, NJ

Cannoli cupcake

Truthfully, it's no visit home to my parents in New Jersey without a visit to Del Ponte's Bakery of Bradley Beach. This old-school Italian bakery has cookies by the pound, gorgeous cookies and cannoli, and all sorts of fancy pies and cakes.

They also offer fusion desserts, such as the Cannoli Cupcake, a cupcake with buttercream AND cannoli filling, topped with mini chocolate chips and crushed cannoli shell as garnish. Be warned: in my experience, the style of the cakes at Del Ponte tend toward slightly more dry (not because they're stale, just because it's more a style of cake meant to be paired with coffee), so definitely pair it with milk, tea, or coffee. Or do as my older sister did and just mainline the frosting and discard the rest (no, don't do that! It was just too sad to watch).

Cannoli cupcake: It's the most beautiful type of fusion dessert I can imagine. 

Del Ponte's Bakery, 600 Main Street, Bradley Beach NJ; online here.

Sunday
Jun032012

Baked Good of the Day: Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Cupcake, Sugarush, Red Bank NJ

Choco choco choco cupcake

Decisions, decisions. Do you need a cupcake...or, do you need to stuff your face with at least five types of chocolate?

How about both?

You can satisfy both of these desires in one compact form by way of this mega-chocolate cupcake at Sugarush (tagline: "a Sweet Experience") in Red Bank, NJ (also home of Jay and Silent Bob). They provide this magical service wherein they will mix and match their frosting and cake flavors to create a unique taste experience just for you, and on a recent trip, I chose to experience CHOCOLATE. 

I did this by doing the following:

 

  1. First, I chose the chocolate cake.
  2. I then asked them to fill it with chocolate (thanks!).
  3. Next, I requested that they top it with triple chocolate fudge frosting (thanks again!).
  4. And finally, when offered a drizzle of chocolate and chocolate chips on top...well, I think you can guess what I said.

 

The next step was basically chocolate awesome overload. You know how sometimes such a hit of chocolatey goodness will make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, and like taking a little nap and cuddling in the sunlight afterward? This was that sort of experience. Don't pretend you don't know what I mean.

And believe it or not, the entire thing only cost less than $4. I forget the exact amount, but it was very reasonable considering all of the bells and whistles I got. 

Experience this magic yourself: visit Sugarush in Red Bank at 37 E. Front Street, Red Bank, NJ. Online here.

 

Sunday
Mar042012

Seeking Sweetness: Daily Snapshot, Frog Cupcakes

CakeSpy Note: if you follow me on facebook or Twitter, you know that I love posting sweet pictures. Sometimes I post a daily feel-good photo on the site, for no particular reason other than to showcase these sweet little nothings, in hopes that they'll make you smile.

Today's feature: frog cupcakes from Belmar, New Jersey. These cupcakes are a tradition that crop up around the time of the town's annual St. Patrick's Day parade (which usually takes place in Belmar before March 17--don't ask me why). They are usually vanilla, with a dollop of pink frosting, topped with green fondant and decorated like frogs. When you take a bite of the head, it's pink inside. It's awful and awesome all at once.

Sunday
Feb122012

CakeSpy Undercover: Chocolate Chip Cookies from Cameo Cakes, Brielle NJ

Cameo Cakes Cookie

This is a chocolate chip cookie.

But.

This is not just any chocolate chip cookie.

This one has the extremely high status of being SpyMom's pick as "the best chocolate chip cookies on the Jersey Shore". And SpyMom (who is also a famous children's book illustrator, btw) knows her cookies. After all, I credit her as the one who taught me everything I know about sweets.

Cameo Cakes, Brielle

Now, I will confess: as a bona fide lover of soft and fat chocolate chip cookies, I was a bit dubious. These looked suspiciously flat and crispy. But one bite took away all my fears.

Crispy, yes, but extremely buttery and flavorful. They shatter in the mouth in a sort of caramelly-brown-sugary explosion, which is punctuated by deep, dark, rich chocolate nuggets. Somehow, I found my soft-cookie-loving-self loving this cookie, and wanting more. 

I knew SpyMom wouldn't lead me astray. 

But if you are simply not to be brought over to the crispy cookie camp, don't fret: Cameo Cakes has plenty of other good stuff. For instance butter cookies, festively decorated:

Cameo Cakes, NJ

...and crumb cake (one of my personal favorite foods):

Crumb cake, Cameo Cakes, Brielle NJ

...and all manner of other pastries, cookies, and bread-type things. They do wedding cakes too!

Basically, whether you look to the cookie or not, you'll probably find something you like at this charming Brielle, NJ bakery.

Cameo Cakes, 406 Union Avenue, Brielle, NJ; online here.

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