A chocolate affair


We are here at the Arvada chocolate festival and we are tasting our bonbons… it’s a homemade brownie, then chocolate mousse, covered in ganache.  Our customers have better words to describe it than we do!  This was the first 30 minutes we were here.  Here are the comments:

  • “Not to miss”
  • “Oh my god”
  • “Awesome”
  • “Mmmmm”
  • “..that’s wonderful”
  • “..to die for”
  • “These look amazing”
  • “Oh my goodness”

And my favorite:  “…deadly”

Christmas is done :-(

Well, Christmas is one of the busiest seasons we have.  All of our staff is on hand for Christmas Eve day and we ramp up massively towards this day.  Although it’s crowded in the back while we get food out to everyone, we manage to have some festive cheer which we celebrate bakery style.  I normally make Parisian hot chocolate and I bring in the yearly stuffed shells, which is such as draw, even our previous employees come back for the days just to have some.  I feel so flattered.  We had almost all of our employees in, which is fun to have.  BUT, are we glad the rush is over, but thankful for all the customers days we made brighter with our goodies.

Some cool stats for December:

670 Lbs of cookies in December, and 320 lbs in the 5 days leading up to Christmas eve.  WHEW!

91 Yule logs.  If you add up all the sizes (8, 12,16, 24) times the number we sold, we ended up with 70 feet of yule logs!  WOW.

If you look at quantity of all things sold, the top 5 of any category are:

  1. Sugar cookies by the pound
  2. Russian Tea cookies
  3. Small cannolis
  4. Peanut Butter cookies
  5. Butter Croissants

Although, if you look at individuals the macaron comes in quite near the top, as we normally sell them in quantities (1,3,5,12), so they like to hide in the numbers.  Over 1285 individual ones in December.  Yum.

Breakfast pastries – the butter croissant beat out the chocolate by 3.  Photo finish!

Personal pastries – small cannoli tops this one, but quickly followed by napoleons, chocolate eclairs and petit fours, swans and a close fresh fruit tart.

Cakes – Chocolate Mousse won by far! Followed by Raspberry Duchess, and Black Forest.

More stats to come for the year.

 

 

Yule Logs!

Well, it’s that time of year again.  We are doing yule logs or Buche de Noel again of course.  I just made the chocolate “bark” and the sticks that adorn the yummy cakes.  We are ramping up and just did 2 HUGE yule logs.  We use REAL Belgian chocolate, 54% cacao to be exact.  Only the best for our cakes.  I was watching Lynn make the chocolate buttercream yesterday, melting the same chocolate to make the Chocolate Buttercream version.  We have three flavors, Chocolate, Mocha, and Grand Marnier flavors.   I’ll upload picts when I get them!

Freshness and our products

We had a customer tell us one of our cakes was dry the other day.  We immediately pulled a cake finished on the same day and sampled it to see what could have been the issue.   We let it sit out to warm up and it was delicious.  It was moist and yummy.  We knew what had happened.   There are a couple of things that make our products taste dry or even stale if they are not served or stored correctly.  We have an interesting dilemma.   We use no preservatives in our products.   This has an interesting effect on some things that people are used to.

Have you noticed that our bread really only lasts two days max before it’s hard, while the supermarket bread lasts months?    Months, eww.  What is in those things?    Our cakes don’t have preservatives either, but the thing that makes them taste different is the temperature they are served at.  We have to refrigerate our  cakes because of whats in them.   Ever notice cakes that are “shelf stable” at Cosco?   Gross, what kinds of things are they putting in there?   They are good at any temperature and will probably be moist for weeks, but do you really want to eat them?

We use real butter in buttercream cakes and cream in our mousse cakes.  So you need to refrigerate these cakes, but the most important part is to being them out for at least 1-2 hours so they come up to room temperature.  Have you tried to spread butter right out of the fridge?  Have you tried to spread butter that has been sitting on the counter for a bit?  It works the same way for our cakes.  Our sponge cake, the mousse and buttercream that comprises most of our pastries and cakes will taste dry when it is cold.  Its odd, but that’s what we’ve found.  I will refuse to eat our Tiramisu if it’s too cold, it just tastes different.  It’s not what people expect, so we try to tell people how to store it, then how to serve it.

The best guidelines we have for this is:

  • Keep all of our cakes and pastries refrigerated.
  • Take pastries and cakes out of the fridge 1-2 hours before you plan to eat them.
  • Leftovers can be kept in the freezer for 1-2 months.
  • Because freshness matters, most pastries and cakes should only be stored in the fridge for 3-4 days before eating them.  (some of our pastries such, as eclairs, nuns, swans, napoleons, and fruit tarts, should only be stored 1-2 days)

 

 

 

 

Meringue – Chewy or crisp?

Picture of ours coming soon, I didn’t have one at home…

OK people, I need to set something straight.  We got a Yelp review that complained that our meringue was too crisp, they wanted chewy.  These aren’t the meringue we have on our pies, but our house made corkscrew meringues (not to be confused with Parisian macarons, or macaroons (the coconut ones).   Traditional meringues like we make are supposed to be crisp.  They supposed to be cooked in a low oven for hours, even overnight, just like we do in the big oven.  (I need to post a picture of the oven for you guys, it’s epically awesome.  It has 5 shelves, we can 15 sheet pans at a time, more on that later).  We’ve been told by some customers, who are Cuban, that they used to get meringue like a shot, which is chewy and more like the pies.  Well, we’d love to make those people happy too, but the health department doesn’t like us using egg whites like that.  They would rather we use pasteurized eggs for our meringue, but they just don’t come out, so we need to ensure they are 100% cooked, which is ok with us, as that is what the traditional meringue is supposed to be.  I just don’t get Yelp sometimes.  We get hung out to dry for not being traditional, and when we are, we get yelled at for that too.  I guess some people will never be happy.    Long story short, we offer our traditional meringues, just like they are supposed to be, crisp, and melt in your mouth goodness.  They are also a way for our gluten free friends to enjoy our sweets, no flour at all.

 

 

We made it through Christmas!

Wimg_7668.jpeghew.  That was one heck of a month.  Thank you all for coming to come get goodies to share with family and friends.  We truly are thankful that you chose us for your treats.  Our sugar cookies are the biggest seller leading up to Christmas.  I am constantly amazed on how much we do for Christmas.  Normally we do about 200 lbs of cookies (just our one by the pound) a month, but in December, we sold over 900 lbs, and we sold 250lbs in the last 4 days leading up to Christmas!  Wow.  Sadie brings me as extra help to gear up for that week.  All I did was cut and bake.  The girls are MUCH better decorators than me, but I did decorate the melted snowman, and I dipped a bunch.

You did know that they are chocolate covered, not iced right?  We think royal icing is too sweet, and chocolate is soo good.  Believe it or not, we are not sick of them, and we got to take home some leftover Christmas ones that I just finished.   I’ll let you in on a secret.  Our cookies are really a cross between a shortbread and sugar cookie, that and the chocolate is what makes them taste so good.  You did have some pizzelles and my extra awesome candied almonds too right?   I don’t get to contribute too throughout the year, but in December, I get to make a lot more.img_7655.jpeg

One of our long time employees is leaving to go overseas and she made me my favorite that I insist on every year as a going away present.  Peanut butter pie.  Its made simply with real peanut butter, whipped up with heavy cream and cream cheese, on top of our chocolate sable’s as the base, topped with our homemade ganache.  Its SOOO good.  Its rich, but thats how I like it.  We have some in the shop, and depending on people’s peanut butter tolerance, we may keep them as an official.  Let us know of you like them.  We only have a couple of peanut butter items in the shop, so we’ll see It seems salted caramel has taken over taste buds.

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Its getting to be that time!

Sadie likes to celebrate one holiday at a time.  We don’t like to see Halloween in July and Valentines right after the first of the year.   We try to keep our window display one holiday at a time.  No carols before December, we like to experience all the holidays in proper order, but sometimes the pre-orders start up early.  We received our first Yule Log order almost two weeks ago and another couple this week.  We have other orders coming in for the holiday in December (shh.. don’t say it around Sadie…).   We talked today about Pizzelles and Ricciarelli’s.  We have pies and bread orders starting for Thanksgiving (see, that’s ok this month).   I know because of the weather I have to warm up my Parisian hot chocolate skills.  We are gearing up for the big holiday, November and December are huge months for us.  All of our staff will be making sweet treats and you’ll see the old favorites roll out.  The peppermint truffle will probably make an appearance soon.  My mouth is watering as I type.  Christmas is coming!  Oops…

Long time, no blog

Whoa, it’s been a bit.  We’ve been busy this year.  Our breakfast pastries, breads, and desserts are now in several restaurants in town.  How cool is that? Some of our wholesale customers asked us to do something different for a couple of their functions.  We did a flan, and tres leches cake, as well as a couple of different cookies (a really yummy cinnamon one, and a hazelnut chocolate chip),  and we have a couple more new pastries up our sleeve.  I’m not letting too much out yet, but we are perfecting the final presentation, but they taste OMG amazing..    We have several events coming up in Arvada, and will post exactly when and where, so you won’t miss the yummy desserts.  We have a beer fest, where we will be selling some goodies we don’t have in the shop to try them out and stretch our culinary legs a bit.  We’ve sold them before and we make them as special items, and beer is in them!   Can you guess?

We make so many items, sometimes an item falls off, or we retire one for a season, like our pizzelles.  I know some of you have asked about them.  Randy is the one who normally makes them.  As you might not know, he is an IT geek, and has been traveling a bit more, and hasn’t had much kitchen time.  Pizzelles are traditionally Christmas cookies, but sometimes we just like to make them.  Some of our customers have noticed and ask for them all the time.  Not to disappoint, we make them on special order, or if Randy is in, he makes them just to put out.  One request which is tough to fill is Parisian hot chocolate.  It’s possibly the best drink on earth (ok, biased), but we start with Belgian chocolate, rich whole milk, a little sugar and some love (awww..).  It’s sort of a chore to make, and we make it for our staff on special occasions, but we do sell it when we have it.   Since it’s summer, we haven’t made some lately, but if you hear we have some, try some, I guarantee, it’s the best hot chocolate you’ve ever tasted.  For our #1 chocolat chaud fan, thank you for the wedding referral!

Bit of a ramble on this post, but we are just two owners, who want to share a bit of our life in the bakery with you, our loyal customer.  We believe that being small, local, and from scratch is why you keep coming back.  We love to meet our customers.  Most hit us up at events, and some ask us to sit down to share the joy our pastries have made throughout their life.  Lots of people tell us their mom took them here, and now they take their children here.  Being in business almost 28 years and being part of your lives is totally flattering to us.  We love to hear those stories.  It truly is why we own this bakery.  THANK YOU!!

P.S. – (can you still write that?) – I promise to do more photos in the blog.  We have LOTS in Facebook, but I think a blog should have cool photos too.