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Entries in pastries to ship (26)

Thursday
Apr042013

Thumbs Up: CakeSpy Samples Thumbs Cookies

Thumbs Cookies

Say hello to Thumbs Cookies. They're a tiny cookie that makes you feel fine about eating a baker's dozen of them because they are so small. They're tasty and crumbly and have a very nice sugar-crunch from their topping. After having received a delicious sample package including the original thumbs, chocolate thumbs (with a little dollop of Mast Brothers chocolate in the middle) and some if the little sandwiches with hazelnut choco filling, I can say: I approve of these cookies. But I also enjoy the fact that they come with an interesting story. I'll let Robyn, the baker behind the lilliputian treats, explain it, alongside my clever photos, OK?

Tom Thumb. Get it?

Here goes. (From Robyn): So, I launched Thumbs Cookies, Inc. about a year-and-a-half ago after I had baked someThumbs Cookies for a friend of mine who works at The Ace and she said, "how do we buy these?" 
But...let me back up.
 
As a little girl in Minnesota I grew up baking Thumbs with my mom, Barb. The smell of these tiny cookies would wake me up very early in the morning and I would see my mom rolling a tiny ball of dough and then placing it on the cookie sheet and finishing each one with athumb print. I was mezmorised.. Each one was so perfect. I asked if I could make them, too, and certainly she agreed. Mine however did not look so perfectly round and dainty, but she used them anyway. These quiet hours in the morning with my mom were some of my most treasured memories from growing up.  Over time,"Thumbs" became my mom's signature cookie for every occasion. Friends and family would always be asking for Barb's Thumbs! 

Rules of Thumb

These are some of my fondest memories and the cornerstone of the Thumbs Cookies story While I, too, wanted to share theses delicious bite sized, handmade cookies, I also wanted to celebrate the long time traditions of family time in the kitchen, and how that shapes many of us growing up. 

Under my Thumb

After living in Brooklyn for a few years as a struggling actress, I started to bake a lot. I found myself making lots of Thumbs. I started making variations such as Ginger Clove Thumbsand Thumb Pies (little sandwiches filled with chocolate hazelnut). After seeing how happy these little bite sized cookies made people, I wanted to share them with anyone I could!  
Thumb prints...or, Thumbs on a CakeSpy print!
Today, each Thumb is handmade with care. They are delicate, tiny and melt in your mouth. Many say that the taste makes them think of their childhood. That makes me very happy.  I have been working on several additional flavors, but for now I'd like to keep it simple-just as they started. 
Thumbs cookies
How did I market my wares at The Ace Hotel and Bedford Cheese Shop? Relationships. I actually work at The Ace and I am lucky enough to work at a place where people believe in their community and employees. I am a waitress in the Lobby. After the positivity of the first review from the Ace, the GM decided he wanted to order Thumbs Cookies weekly as a hotel amenity. Similarly, Stumptown Coffee at The Ace started to order them weekly as well. I brought them to The Bedford Cheese Shop and they seemed to be a good fit among the other "artisinal" products. The Bedford Cheese Shop has also been incredibly supportive and instrumental in helping me to further develop the  product's packing. 
Say hello to the bakers!
For more info on Thumbs Cookies, including where to buy, visit the website!
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

Thursday
May052011

Cake Byte: Popsy Cakes Makes Cupcakes on a Pretzel

Are you still eating cupcakes with your hands, like a jerk?

Well, time to get with the newest cake delivery mechanism: via pretzel stick!

That's right. Capitalizing on the facts that everything tastes better on a stick and that sweet tastes better with a little salty, Popsy Cakes specializes in chocolate-coated cupcakes served on a pretzel stick.

As it turns out, while the company is new to me, it has been around for a while and has a very interesting story (per the website):

The PopsyCakes Company was founded by Jessica Cervantes when she decided to create an innovative cupcake on an edible stick in 2006 at the age of 16. Ever since her grandmother taught her how to bake, Jessica has loved measuring and tasting different ingredients - and mixing them up to see how her culinary creations would turn out. But it wasn't until Jessica became a part of the International Business and Finance Academy at John A. Ferguson Senior High school, that baking and business came together in a brand new recipe for success.

The budding baker/entrepreneur, who emigrated to the U.S. from Cuba as a child, competed against 25,000 business students across the country and won first place in the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE.com) National business plan, a competition which was held on October 23, 2008 in New York City. Her innovative creation has caused a great buzz across the United States.

Popsy Cakes come in a variety of different flavors--I personally have my eye on the "Strawberry Milkshake", which is described thusly: "Taste bud bursting strawberry cake wrapped in creamy white chocolate. Finished with strawberry drizzle and colorful sprinkles (or jimmies if your are from New England!)." Of course, they also offer Vanilla Bean, Red Velvet, Peanut butter, and many other flavors.

A big thanks goes to CakeSpy reader Patti, who alerted to this cupcake trend and who gives them a rave review: "for me, it was a religious experience". 

Shop online at popsycakes.com.

 

Sunday
Feb132011

Sweet Sirens: Treats from Girl Next Door Baked Goods

According to that cultural goldmine called the Urban Dictionary, "Girl Next Door" is a rather open-ended phrase:

Every guy may have his specific girl-next-door prototype, but in general, she's the girl whom you always admired from afar and were afraid to approach.

Girl Next Door Baked Goods, on the other hand, should not be pined-for from afar. These goods are meant to be enjoyed up close and personal.

And that's just what we got to do this week, when they sent us a sweet parcel loaded with love-themed Valentine's Day treats. And it came with a sultry three-part card:

"Do Chiles & Chocolate get you a little hot?" beckoned the first fold of the card.

Well, no, not after that sriracha-brownie incident, but I powered on.

"Sometimes Love Hurts. A Hot Blonde will help ease the pain," it said on the second fold. Now, that's more like it. Blondies are my weakness, and these ones were a delight: dense, brown-sugary nuggets of buttery butterscotch awesomeness. 

and finally: "If chocolate doesn't work, try bourbon-soaked cherries. If that doesn't work, check his pulse." Well, I'll never know about this one as an aphrodisiac because I ate it all by myself, and it made me feel loved during every bite.

OF course, the cute card ended there, with an invitation to "get a crush on Girl Next Door Baked Goods", but the pleasure didn't. The parcel also contained a sampling of other brownie flavors (all served in tiny, but very potent, portions), a small bag of peanut butter cookies, and something called the "husband bait"--a buttery bar cookie with strawberry preserves and cream cheese. "Would this have made you want to marry me if you hadn't already?" I asked Mr. Spy, but he was too busy eating to answer me.

So, I guess I'd have to say it's true: CakeSpy's got a crush on Girl Next Door Baked Goods. Get a crush yourself--visit gndbakedgoods.com.

Sunday
Jan162011

O Cake: Cake O's and More from Cakes Suzette

Just FYI: if you email me to ask if it's ok to send me samples of cake truffles, I will say yes.

But I'll only write about the ones I like. 

And these ones, I like. They're called Cake O's, and they're made by a company called Cakes Suzette in California. Of course, I already suspected I'd like them based on the company's tagline, which is "a bazillion calories of goodness". In fact, this excellent tagline helped me forgive them for using comic sans on their website.

What makes these sweet treats unique? Well, in a world overrun by cake pops and bites, these are a slightly more substantial variety, sort of like a cross between cake pops and petits fours. And they come in a great variety of flavors, including Chocolate Peanut Butter, Red Velvet, Lemon Cake, and Gimme S'more. 

Our favorite varieties? For sure the chocolate varieties, which stood out for their rich, fudgy texture and flavor--and in such a compact size, the perfect bite-sized but complete indulgence.

For minions of the marshmallow, they also offer what they call the "Mallomore" -- which, you guessed it, is their homemade take on the popular Mallomar, made with an organic graham cracker base and marshmallows made sans high fructose corn syrup. Extra sweet: they offer these chocolate-covered marshmallow treats in strawberry, chocolate mint, and peanut butter varieties. Nom.

Final verdict? A very sweet treat to ship to a loved one (I think they'd make a great valentine gift) or to a very sweet self.

Find Cakes Suzette online at cakessuzette.com; find them on Facebook here.

Thursday
Jan062011

Cake Byte: Cake Pops by Stick & Pop, NYC

Cake Pop Wants to know where its face went.Dear Stick&Pop,

I don't want to be to forward, because I just met you, but I think I love you. But no, I don't want to break up my marriage. Because you see, Mr. CakeSpy loves you too.

What we propose is that you leave NYC and move to Seattle, live in our spare bedroom, and instead of paying rent, give us an endless supply of your delicious cake pops.

Please, consider it.

Love, 

CakeSpy&Co.

- - - - - - - -

OK, so the preceding is a slight dramatization of actual events. We haven't invited the owners of Stick & Pop to live with us--yet.

But after each bite of their delicious pops, we're coming closer and closer. Not convinced? Well, read their bio and you might come a few steps closer:

French Culinary Institute graduate, Jacki Caponigro, and design professional, Christy Nyberg, launched Stick&Pop in New York in the Fall of this year. The pair has crafted a menu of 12 delightfully creative flavors that are as fun to look at as they are enjoyable to eat.

The eye-catching flavor, Darling (marble cake dipped in white chocolate and covered in sugar sprinkles), made a splash as The Savoy Hotel re-opened in New York—the treats were covered in gold and silver sprinkles to announce the occasion.

The diversity of flavors on the menu though, show that Stick&Pop is not relying on the novelty of a new “food-on-a-stick” but instead putting flavor and creativity at the helm. Johnny Cakes, for example, is peanut butter cake dipped in dark chocolate covered in pretzel and sea-salt and Griswald is essentially a S’more on a stick.

These cake pops are hands down some of the best I've ever tasted. The interior cake is decadently moist and buttery, and the candy coating is firm but not to the point of cracking and hurting the roof of your mouth--and each is so adorably decorated that you can't help but fall in love a little bit, just looking at the packaging.

Favorites so far? The "Darling" (marble cake, rolled in white chocolate and coated in sprinkles); the "Birthday Cake" (buttery cake coated in dark chocolate, with sprinkles); and of course, the "Johnnycake" (peanut butter cake coated in dark chocolate, with pretzel coating).

Seriously, I don't know what else to say other than these pops are a good investment. Lucky you if you live in NYC and can access them easily; even if you're not, they're worth the splurge for a special event.

Find out more at stickandpop.com.

Tuesday
Mar232010

Sweeter than Preserves: Cupcakes in a Jar from Cupcake Carousel

Cupcakes in a jar are basically the best thing ever. They're cute, they're a delightful novelty, they come in reusable packaging, and they ship amazingly well. And--bonus!--shipping them in a jar not only protects the cake but seals in the moisture. Yes indeed--I'm firmly convinced that this is the way to go when shipping cupcakes.

But if you're not into that whole DIY thing (don't worry, it's ok) there's someone who will do it for you: Cupcake Carousel, a custom-order "we will ship cupcakes in a jar for you" business based in Madison, WI. 

Recently owner Sarah, an avid baker who has "been baking since I was pretty much old enough to stand", citing that "Ever since burning my fingers on my easy bake oven, I was hooked" sent a batch of these sweet cakes over to the CakeSpy headquarters for us to sample--this was a hard task, but we put ourselves to it with due diligence.

First off, the parcel opened to sweetly wrapped rows of cupcakes in mason jars--everything was very secure. 

and each little jar came tied with a cute ribbon and--this kills me--a mini spoon! (see top picture for a visual) I may or may not have cooed a little.

Opening the jar, the cupcakes had fared amazingly well through the shipping--the frosting was hardly smudged, thanks to the firm bases and protective glass layer encapsulating each one.

And even after several days of transit time and a two days of refrigeration (they arrived while I was still in Minneapolis), they were still surprisingly moist. Not as moist as if I ran over for a just baked treat from the local bakery, but amazingly moist for cakes that had been baked several days before--and, importantly, not stale tasting. 

For me though, the standout was the chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream: 

rich chocolate cake topped with a healthy dollop (and middle layer! yes!) of a very buttery and silky buttercream, sweetly flecked with little bits of madagascar vanilla bean.

To order, visit the Cupcake Carousel website; for more info on the day-to-day goings-on, check out the Cupcake Carousel blog!

Monday
Mar082010

Cake Byte: Sweet Avenue Bake Shop Offers Custom Cupcakes to Ship Nationwide

A frequent question posed chez CakeSpy is "how can I ship cupcakes?". Well, there is the option of shipping them in mason jars, but other than that I'd probably be better at advising you on how not to ship cupcakes.

Happily, NJ's Sweet Avenue Bake Shop is now offering some sweet shipping options for their award-winning vegan cupcakes. They do small quantities so it won't break the bank, and you have the option of a DIY cupcake kit wherein it comes with all of the necessary bits and bobs and you decorate your own; or, they also have a fun customized option, so that you can upload a picture for custom cakes and send them to someone you love (how 'bout sending a big picture of your face to mom?). Here's the 411 from Sweet Avenue Bake Shop:

DIY Cupcake Kit: $25 (shipping included)

The Decorate It Yourself Cupcake kit includes your choice of three cupcakes, three frostings, and your choice of 3 sprinkles. Do you want all chocolate? Red velvet and cream cheese? Peanut butter frosting with rainbow sprinkles? It's all fair game. We'll even include some frosting wands to get you started. These kits are great for kids, as a gift for a friend, or just as a way to try out our cupcakes if you can't make it to our New Jersey bake shop.

Image Printed Cupcakes$45 (shipping included)

Custom image printed cupcakes are now available! Send Sweet Avenue your favorite image and enjoy six personalize and delectable treats.
 
Don’t want your own image? Select from our assortment of pop culture edibles such as the popular Twilight Cupcakes featured on People.com! To inquire about image cupcakes, email info@sweetavenuebakeshop.com.
 
For more information or to order, visit sweetavenuebakeshop.com.

Tuesday
Feb162010

Love in the Mail: Cookies from Abigail's Bake Shop

Homemade Oreo Cookies from Abigail's Bake ShopThe most beautiful words in the English language? Cookie Sampler.

That's what I received recently from Abigail's Bake Shop, a special-order bakery based in Raleigh, NC. Locals can order from a full menu of cakes and pastries; for the rest of us, they'll ship cookies. And oh, those cookies.

The parcel which arrived was packed to the brim with cookies: snickerdoodles, chocolate chip and chocolate chip walnut cookies, peanut butter and peanut butter chocolate cookies, old fashioned sugar cookies, iced heart cookies, homemade oreos, and...cute...a single brownie in the shape of a heart.

Normally a parcel of this magnitude would last several days, but luckily it was in the hands of professionals, and several Cake Gumshoes set to professionally sampling these goods.

The highlights?

The "signature" sugar cookies, which were lightly crumbly on the edges and the just-baked side of cookie dough in the center;

the peanut butter chocolate chip cookies, which likewise were crumbly on the edges but dense and chewy inside, with a wonderful, well rounded peanut butteriness that was sweet and salty and matched perfectly with peanut butter's bff, chocolate;

and...of course...the homemade oreos.

Now, it can be a hard thing to wrap one's mind around the idea of a "homemade" sweet that is usually store-bought--sometimes, even if it is technically better quality, it comes up lacking because it doesn't have that nostalgic flavor. 

Happily, we had no such problem with these oreos, which came in regular creme-filled and mint creme-filled. The cookies were not extremely oreo-like, but more dense and cakey--this was a very good thing.

And the cream--creme?--actually managed to pull off that sweet, singular paste-like texture of classic oreos, and with a wonderful, sweet and creamy flavor that might just outdo the original.

Oh, Abigail's Bake Shop, what a delight it was to find you.

Ready to order a bushel of cookies for your own household? Thought so. You can find out more (and order online) at abigailsbakeshop.com. Additionally, you can keep up to date via their blog, Facebook and Twitter!

Saturday
Feb062010

Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler: New Orleans King Cake from Sucre

So, recently I was contacted by Sucré (say it: soo-kray), a bakery in New Orleans, inquiring if I'd like them to send me a sample of their king cake. They assured me it was one of the best.

It's ok if you're jealous. This is really kind of an awesome thing to have someone offer.

Needless to say, there wasn't a type point-size large enough on my email to fully convey the powerful "YES" I wanted to send back. But they must have gotten the idea, because a few days later, this was on my doorstep.

(Olive the pug was keenly interested in this parcel.)

There was a pretty box inside...

And then within that...

Behold, the Sucré King Cake. A ring of twisted, buttery dough sweetened with cinnamon and sugar and filled with a whipped cream cheese filling. 

And it sparkles.

Really, I'm not sure if the pictures quite convey it, but this is an exceedingly lovely cake to look at.

And it tastes just as gorgeous as it looks. 

The cake itself has a texture like a cross between brioche and croissant, simultaneously light and rich, and redolent with buttery flavor. The cream cheese filling infuses each bite with a sweet, dense richness which adds a smooth contrast to the buttery flakiness of the exterior. It's all beautifully topped with a layer of thin confectioners' sugar icing which adds just a bit more sweetness and balances out the slight savoriness of the cream cheese filling. One taster said if anything he would have enjoyed a slightly thicker layer of icing, but it's not like he left any of his slice uneaten.

While a great teatime cake, I found it tasted best for breakfast--kind of like a fancy, sparkly danish. It pairs beautifully with a dark, strong coffee.

Now, because I know that receiving something for free can affect one's opinion, I purposefully did not look at the price of the cake and independently polled tasters as to how much they would pay for such a confection before looking up the actual cost. People estimated anywhere from $40  to $60 including shipping, which makes it all the more delightful to say that if you buy a Sucré king cake, it costs only $19.95 plus $9.95 shipping in the US. Honestly, I think that's a pretty great value! Of course, once you get on their site, escaping without purchasing some gorgeous macarons (including Mardi Gras-themed ones! Pictured below), chocolates or confections in addition to your King Cake may prove difficult.

Final word? The Sucré King Cake gets an A+ from CakeSpy. Vive le Roi!

King Cakes and other confections by Sucré can be purchased online at shopsucre.com. If you're in New Orleans, aren't you lucky, because you can experience the magic in person, at their retail shop, at 3025 Magazine Streeet, New Orleans, LA 70115.

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