Home Home Home Home Home Home Home
CakeSpy

 Buy my brilliant books!

Buy my new book!

Buy my first book, too!

 

CakeSpy Online Retail!

 

 

Gallery

Craftsy Writer

Entries in new york (12)

Sunday
Jan272013

Cake Byte: New Sweets from Flour and Sun Bakery

Flour and Sun Bakery

You know that I don't like to be bossy. But. 

If you find yourself in need of some sweet treats for Valentine's Day, I suggest you hightail it to Flour & Sun Bakery in Pleasantville, NY. Or don't--they ship, too! You can have a parcel of sweetness sent to yourself or your sweetie. Details: they'll send it via USPS with a minimum order of 6 cookies (or 2 cookie necklaces). Shipping charges start at $5.50. For Valentine's day arrival, order by Feb. 8th.

Flour and Sun

I'm highly qualified to tell you all this as not only have I sampled their goods in person, but I recently received a sample parcel of their seasonal offerings.

It was very well wrapped, I must say. While they say that they are clear on the perils of shipping, saying "can't guarantee what happens to the packages once they leave our hands. If a package is greatly damaged, however, please contact us", this was not a worry for me--everything arrived in perfect condition.

So what was inside? 

Love Ewe, Flour and Sun

First up, the I Love Ewe Cookie ($4): Large sheep cookie iced with royal icing, packaged in a cello bag, tied with a festive ribbon and pretty Valentine's Day tag. Very sweet. 

Flour and Sun Flour and Sun

Next, Bee Mine Cookies ($5): Large beehive cookie iced with royal icing with two adorable fondant bees, packaged in a cello bag, tied with a festive ribbon and pretty Valentine's Day tag.

Flour and Sun Flour and Sun

Then, what a cute idea: a Cookie Heart Necklace ($5.50): 12 small heart cookies strung on a ribbon, packaged in a cello bag, tied with a festive ribbon and pretty Valentine's Day tag.

Flour and Sun Bakery

The parcel also included some items that weren't specifically part of the Valentine menu. A soft pink frosted Heart Cookie was probably my favorite thing out of the bunch, because A) it was pink, B) it had the most buttery-luscious frosting ever, and C) it reminded me of a sweet I love from Seattle, but much fancier. 

Saw Mill River Bar, Flour and Sun Saw Mill River Bar, Flour and Sun

It also included--joy!--a Saw Mill River Bar, which is a Flour & Sun original--a huge bar cookie comprised of layers of crackers, caramel & chocolate. Strange, say you? Delicious, say I. You've got to try one of these sweet and salty things. 

I asked owner Denise more about the bar, and she let me know "we started making Saw Mill River Bars about a year and half ago. They are our most popular bar cookie we have. It's club cracker, layer of homemade caramel and peanut butter chips, topped with chocolate and malden sea salt flakes. We also make a version with pretzels and toffee pieces. My baker suggested the name to be honest I can't remember why."

Who really cares though, when it tastes this good?

Pre-order your Valentine's Day cookie by February 8th by calling us at 914.495.3232. You can order just one or several of any of the options for pick up at the bakery. 

Flour & Sun Bakery, 19 Washington Avenue, Pleasantville, NY; online at flourandsunbakery.com

Tuesday
Dec062011

Teeny's Tour of Pie: Emmy's Organics, Ithaca NY

CakeSpy Note: This is the second in Teeny Lamothe's Tour de Pie series on CakeSpy! Teeny is touring the country, learning how to make pies at some of the nation's sweetest bakeries. She'll be reporting here on each stop! This stop: Emmy's Organics, Ithaca, NY

Where: Ithaca, NY to work at Emmy's Organics 

When: Ithaca was the second stop on the tour and was from the beginning of October to the end.

Why: I actually went to college and was friends with one of the co-founders of Emmy's, Samantha Abrams. Being at Emmy's had less to do with baking (seeing as they are a raw company) and so much more to do with learning everything small business. I was really interested in spending some significant time with both Samantha and Ian in order to really get a feel for what it was like to build a business from the ground up. 

How: October was lovely. I think I really learned a lot about myself and what it's going to take in order to begin a successful business. I definitely had moments of doubt and insecurity, but luckily both Sam and Ian were there to offer endless support. This month everything settled into something much more real and therefore achievable, as long as I'm willing to put the work in. 

Observations: It was wonderful to experience firsthand the growth spurts of a young company. Both Sam and Ian are incredibly knowledgeable about the value of food, and what a huge part it plays in people’s health and well being… not to mention an affinity for all things small business. I loved going to their kitchen because they both understand that for me learning means doing. Being able to mix the recipes, spread the granola and hand press the cheesecake crusts, all the while being told why certain grains and seeds benefit from sprouting, and what substitutes for what, means that I’ve been able to accumulate a vast amount of knowledge in a short amount of time. I also did a lot of baking and selling on the side. Being in Ithaca, using local ingredients and selling pies to strangers helped to instill a huge sense of pride in myself and my product. It’s was a blast price shopping different flours and trying different variations on my favorite fall recipes. I got to sell my pies at Felicia’s Atomic Lounge during their happy hour, and it was a huge success… I mean, who doesn’t want a tiny pie while sipping on a fall cocktail?? Ithaca was a huge lesson in everything small business, as well as a real sense of coming into my own as a potential business lady. It was everything I could have hoped for and more.

Tour of Pie Recipe: Sweet Potato Pie (because it was in Ithaca that I bought my first box of bulk sweet potatoes)

Ingredients

  • 1 large or 2 small sweet potatos
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tbs cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tbs allspice

Procedure

cut potatoes in half, lightly oil the cut surface and place cut side down onto a baking sheet. bake @ 325 until tender. coooooool. remove peel and puree. In a large bowl mix 2 cups worth of the puree with the ginger, cinnamon, allspice and salt. Add the eggs and beat them in. Add in the honey and the heavy whipping cream all while mixing. Pour filling into crust and bake at 400 for 50-55 minutes or until a knife inserted 1in from the edge comes out clean. cool on a rack before enjoying!

Wednesday
Jun292011

Baker's Dozen, CakeWalk Edition: Thirteen Bakeries, Thirteen Zip Codes in NYC

My self-appointed spy mission on my most recent visit to NYC? To visit 13 bakeries I'd never visited before (or at least to get a treat I had never tried, if it was a bakery I had been to), in 13 different zip codes.

Reasons? Threefold. #1, I might make some sweet new bakery discoveries and branch out from just the famous spots or my old favorites. #2, the number 13 because it's a baker's dozen. #3, you know, for a great adventure and all.

My adventure took place over 2 days, and directly before it commenced, two very serendipitous things happened. First, I had a date with one of my favorite bloggy bff's, Blondie from Blondie & Brownie. She's awesome and supplied my first two leads listed below--as well as having tipped me off to the fact that D'aiuto (famous for their cheesecake) was worth a visit for something else entirely: the fritters. She is to be trusted. And without further delay, the great adventure:

10018: Gregory's Coffee. This coffee shop might be unassuming, but there's something special about their baked goods case. While many of the items are brought in from wholesalers, a handful are made on-site, including their crumb cake. As a documented die-hard of the crumbly stuff, I found this to be a deeply appealing version, with a wonderful ratio of crumb (lots) to cake (little).

10016: Culture Espresso. Every day at 12 and 3, something magical happens: the chocolate chip cookies that they bake in-house come out of the oven. Now, I will be honest, I did not arrive at the serendipitous time to try one fresh out of the oven, but if it is a tip trusted by Blondie, that is good enough for me.

11103: Frank's Bakery, Astoria, Queens. Old school as all get-out, I decided to pick up a rainbow cookie here. “Can I get just one rainbow cookie?” I said, and the shopkeeper replied “you can, but you look like you could use a dozen.” Flatterer! These cookies were a keeper, with jam between the cakey layers, and that wavy chocolate topping that is so lovable.

10028: William Greenberg's. Now, I have been here—they are famous for their black and white cookies—but I have never tried the Pink and White cookies. Not only were they the perfect color palette, but they are ideal for the rare eater (like yours truly) who actually prefers the “white” side taste-wise but enjoys the contrasting color visual (still weirded out by the “just whites” at Donut Pub). Best method of eating? Slowly nibble the pink side first, obvi.

10003: Tu-lu's Gluten-free cupcakes: Nestled right next to gluten-rich Veniero's, this place is fairly adorable and has a small, but very pretty, array of gluten-free treats. I chose the pistachio frosting-topped chocolate variety. I was delighted to find that the cake wasn't excessively dense or overly fall-apart crumbly (my two frequent complaints with gluten-free cake); the frosting was very buttery and delicious.

10075: The Best Chocolate Cake in the World: With a name like this, you're going to draw customers simply out of curiosity; however, you've got to have a product that is great, or they'll never come back. This is a very unique chocolate cake, not your grandma's style, but a more boutique, fancy confection. It's worth a return visit.

10002: Economy Candy. Oh. My. God. How have I never been to this place before? It is like candy land. Not in the over-the-top way that Dylan's Candy bar is (although there is certainly a time and a place for that), but in a very old-school, Lower East Side kind of way. Any childhood favorite that you've found yourself craving, any regional sweet you miss from your hometown, any faraway favorite that you've been mail ordering...they have it here. I picked up one of those elusive old-time favorites for me, the candy ice cream cone. It tasted like being seven. 

10023: Alice's Tea Cup. It is my greatest regret that it took this long for me to visit Alice's Tea Cup, because it is made of magic. Alice in Wonderland-themed, they specialize in tea and scones, and they do both well (and sandwiches and other stuff besides). I had the added pleasure of visiting with Elisa Strauss, who is kind of my cake hero and who is as cute and sweet as you could possibly imagine. Our advice: try one of the flavored scones, which we found to be more interesting than the basic buttermilk (and, you know, we're experts). And don't even try to skip the preserves and cream on the side, what, do you not like joy?

Photo: Bee Desserts10011: Bee Desserts. Honey? Chocolate? Cake? OK. I had heard of this place but never visited their retail outlet; it's very cute, and fans of mellower sweets will have a very happy time here.

10014: Amy's Bread. Of course I have been here before. Don't even kid about that! It is one of my favorite places in the world (although, truth be known, my favorite is the Hell's Kitchen location!)BUT. I realized I had never tried their version of the magic cookie bar (here it is called the Coconut Dream Bar). The name may not say it, but this thing is made of magic.

10021: Cake & Shake. The most magical mobile truck in the world? Possibly. I found it perched outside of another magical place, the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

10009: Ray's Candy Store. Belgian Fries. Beignets. Candy. Softserve at a belgian fry place? Believe it. An unassuming but magical spot.

11211: Joyride Truck: it's mobile, but I caught it in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and picked up some delicious macaroons. Worth noting: this is a delicious zip code, and at a nearby cafe I spied treats by Robicelli's and Liddabitsweets, two other delicious bakers who don't have their own retail storefronts.

10001: LaNewyorkina Paletas. Is it just me or is the high line the most magical place ever? Well, on the day I visited there was sweetness added to the magic by way of popsicles in the 10001 zip code.

Bonus: 10036 sighting! I spied Treats Truck parking in 10036. The truck drove right by where I was walking. But I already knew I loved them, so there was no visit (this time).

 All in all? Beyond a baker's dozen of deliciousness.

Friday
Jun242011

Sweet Times: Paletas by La Newyorkina

Sweet Dispatch: Popsicle Time on the High Line, NYC.

Let's get one thing straight. In general, the creamsicle is about as close as I am going to get to having fruit in my popsicles—just way too healthy, and it always seems like I am wasting valuable time and energy eating them that I could be devoting to pudding, ice cream, or gelato.

But the other day something happened while strolling the High Line in NYC.

In case you've never been to the High Line, let me tell you that it is a highly magical place. It almost seems like it was tailor-made to illustrate this Andy Warhol quote:

People's pace slows slightly on the High Line. They smile at each other. They point at pretty buildings and flowers they see. At least, they did on the day I visited. And as I walked uptown from the Chelsea Market entry point, many of the people that I saw strolling opposite me had popsicles. Those popsicles looked good.

When I finally passed the popsicle point--a little stand called La Newyorkina--I kept right on walking—but when I turned around to get back to my starting point, I simply couldn't resist its siren call. And I recognized them from the cover of the newly-released cookbook Paletas: Authentic Recipes for Mexican Ice Pops, Shaved Ice & Aguas Frescas.

I chose the papaya lime flavor, as it had the prettiest color.

This was a sophisticated sweet, with the mellow papaya flavor brightened up by the zing of lime, and flecked with little bits of rind for extra flavor.

Maybe it was the sunshine; maybe this was just an extremely well-made version of the sweet frozen treat. But all I can say is, after this experience, I may be making a segue from paleta-hater to pal of the paleta.

Find out more about La Newyorkina here; to find out where they are at this instant in NYC, follow them on Twitter.

Friday
Jun172011

Pastry Profiles: Chocolate-Filled Shortbread Cookie, Whole Foods Lower East Side NYC

So, shortbread is pretty great. But you know what's even MORE great?

Shortbread that looks like a pretty little pouf, and then when you bite into it, it's filled with chocolate ganache. Awesome! As my friend James said, "the only thing that could make it better would be if it were filled with Nutella."

This sweet and heavenly bite was scored at Whole Foods on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. It was made on-site at their bakery, and it cost 99 cents. And I will tell you the truth, I really only went in and bought it because I had to use the bathroom.

But I was unexpectedly rewarded! This sweet treat was easily filed under “crazy delicious” upon the first bite, when a geyser of ganache burst through the cookie and into my mouth. The buttery, lightly salty shortbread worked perfectly with the smooth chocolate; the humidity in the air on the day of my visit made the chocolate a little bit gooey, but that just meant this cookie needed to be eaten quickly and assertively. No problem.

I asked about the cookie, and they say it's available fairly regularly, and one employee said "it's pretty much the best thing here." So you know what to do... 

Whole Foods, 95 E. Houston Street, NYC. Online here.

Friday
Jun172011

Seeking Sweetness: Daily Snapshot, Faux Chocolates at Keszler Gallery, NYC

CakeSpy Note: if you follow me on facebook or Twitter, you probably know I'm partial to observing (and sometimes adding) sweetness in the natural world and urban landscape. Here's where I post a daily feel-good photo, for no particular reason other than to showcase these sweet little nothings, in hopes that they'll make you smile.

This one was a sweet installation indeed: a huge (it was at least as tall as me!) piece of art in the window at Keszler Gallery on Madison Avenue in NYC. These chocolates are delightful, but not delicious: they are fake! It sure is gorgeous to feast your eyes on, though.


Sunday
May152011

Sweet Love: CakeSpy Visits Flour and Sun Bakery, Pleasantville, NY

Pleasantville, NY, has a rich history--it was a Dutch trading post as early as 1695.

But even more interesting: its rich present, particularly the buttercream dream that is Flour & Sun Bakery, just off of the metro north train.

When I recently headed up to Pleasantville to meet with my awesome literary agent Gail Fortune, I had the exquisite pleasure of meeting one of the managers and bakers, and--most importantly--the chance to sample some of the goods.

Choosing was difficult--after all, they had a stunning array of delicious flavors. On any given day, the assortment could include such choices as chocolate cookie dough, fluffernutter, Cereal (vanilla or chocolate cupcakes topped with fluff or chocolate fluff rolled in cereals such as Trix, Cocoa Crispies, and others), Magic Bar, Orange Poppyseed, Watermelon, or Pumpkin Pie.

I went for a special that day--chocolate halva--as well as the Banana Peanut butter (decorated to look like a monkey! shown above), as well as a chocolate and a vanilla-strawberry specimen. I brought them back to the city with me, and this was such precious cargo. I think that everybody in Grand Central Terminal was looking at me with jealousy in their eyes.

As the friendly manager had informed me, they are famous for their chocolate cake, which is dense and fudgy--almost brownie-like. No dried-out chocolate cake here, thank you very much. The vanilla cake was similarly dense, but very buttery and flavorful. My favorite frosting was the intriguing halva, which was nutty and sweet, and really did taste like the love child of the classic middle eastern confection and american buttercream. In a very good way.

Worth a trip from NYC alone? Maybe not (unless, like me, you are willing to travel an hour just for a cupcake), but if you find yourself headed north of the city for whatever reason, definitely worth a detour.

Also of note: Flour & Sun also makes decorated cookies, as well as Cupcake Truffles ("cupcakes and icing mixed to an ooey-gooey truffle-like consistency dipped in chocolate and decorated. Truffles are also available on a stick to ad a fun and celebratory element to any party.")

Flour & Sun Bakery, 19 Washington Avenue, Pleasantville, NY; online at flourandsunbakery.com

Saturday
May142011

Pastry Profiles: Crumb Board at Keane's Bakery, Pleasantville NY

I'd like to introduce you to the most delicious board I've ever tasted: Crumb Board from Keane's Bakery in Pleasantville, New York.

When I walked into this place the baker probably thought I was kind of crazy, because I asked him to repeat himself when he told me the name of this sweet manna about 10 times. Crumble? Crumbold? No...Crumb Board.

Which begs the question...what is Crumb Board? 

Basically, it's crumb cake, but take away the cake and add the "board" - pie crust's thinner, flakier cousin. As a devoted lover of crumb cake, I will admit that the deepest part of my love for this treat is the crumb (as evidenced by my behemoth crumb cake recipe), so swapping out the cake for a crispy, buttery layer of crust was just fine for me.

The crust added a nice crunch to the crumb, and a deliciously buttery flavor. In fact, it made me wonder why more crumb isn't served atop crust in the world. It made me want to make an apple crumble pie but leave out the apples.

But most of all, it made me glad I had stopped at Keane's, which I hope I will get to visit again.

Keane's Bakery, 57 Wheeler Avenue, Pleasantville, NY.

Keanes Pleasantville Bakery on Urbanspoon

Monday
Apr182011

Pastry Profiles: Peanut Butter Chocolate Whoopie Pie from Baked, Brooklyn

It is no secret that I not only love Baked, but am actually IN LOVE with the owners, Matt and Renato. They are adorable; they are funny; they have two stellar cookbooks; and above all else, they make a mean baked good.

And their flagship Brooklyn bakery, Baked, is a pretty swell time to spend some time, money, and calories.

But on this visit (which was at breakfast time, by the way), I was a hunter, and my prey was the chocolate peanut butter whoopie pie.

I also picked up one of these!This sweetie consists of two cakey, moist but not too dense chocolate cookies (sort of devil dog style) with a generous dollop of the most exquisitely peanut buttery (accent on the buttery)frosting, studded with bits of candied nuts on the outside.

And it is so, so good. Somehow I was able to cut it in half, so I had half for breakfast (so decadent, so delicious!) and half later on, after dinner. And these two halves made my whole day sweet.

You must go get one. (and pick up a cute tote while you're at it!)

Chocolate Peanut butter whoopie pies (as well as a rotating menu of other flavors, including their signature pumpkin) from Baked, 394 Van Brunt Street, Red Hook Brooklyn; online at bakednyc.com

Also a good idea: buy their most excellent books : Baked: New Frontiers in Baking and Baked Explorations: Classic American Desserts Reinvented.

Tuesday
Apr122011

It's All About the Cookie: Chocolate Chip Cookies from Levain Bakery, NYC

So, if you've never been to Levain Bakery (you've probably heard of them, they're totally famous--the New York Times called them"Possibly the largest, most divine chocolate chip cookies in Manhattan," and they have been featured on the Food Network), I feel kind of bad for you. Here's why:

  1. You don't need detailed directions to get there--once you're within a block of it, you will smell the aroma of chocolate chip cookies, and it will draw you ever closer, not unlike little cartoon scent-swirls.
  2. Actually walking down the few steps required to walk into the bakery is kind of like walking into a big chocolate chip cookie (or perhaps heaven)--it is warm, and it smells like butter, sugar, and chocolate. And bread.
  3. The employees are nice. Every time I have been there, they have been sweet as pie to me.
  4. Your screen does not deceive you--the cookie pictured above does not only appear ginormous, it actually IS ginormous. Their cookies weigh roughly 6 ounces each, which, last time I checked, is pretty close to half a pound. 
  5. In case you glazed over that last one: HALF A POUND OF COOKIE!
  6. But these cookies are not merely large in size--they are big in flavor, too. Buttery, lightly crispy on the outside, and chewy and gooey on the inside. I like the ones with walnuts, because they have a nice little flavor and texture contrast from nubbly little shards of nuts.

...and, dear friends, I will confess, I can eat one all by myself. In fact I have, just the other day, while doing an extensive CakeWalk of the Upper West Side of Manhattan (more on that later). True, eating a half-pound of cookie without also walking about 13 miles is probably not very healthy, but I assure you, it is still very delicious.

Summary: if you are in New York, go there. If you are not, buy the cookies online. 

Levain Bakery, 167 W. 74th Street; shop online here.

© Cakespy, all rights reserved. Powered by Squarespace.