Whenever she reminisces about childhood days spent baking with her Nonna, baker Emily—dubbed "Emi" by her grandmother—can still smell the aromas of baking dough and powdered sugar wafting from the kitchen. Though back then her idea of helping was to steal tiny bits of dough, Emi is now the keeper of those trusted family recipes and hopes to share those same Sicilian sweets with other families. She still relies on her grandmother’s guidance as she bakes each batch of biscotti, wedding cookies, chocolate balls, and amaretti, and she calls to mind the huge Italian parties and weddings where she enjoyed them as a young girl. Besides cookies, she also prepares traditional Italian tiramisu that can feed up to 16 people, making it the perfect size for a birthday party, Sunday dinner, or troupe of two-headed square dancers.
In 1997, friends Dena Tripp and Debra Shwetz set out to create a luscious melt-in-your-mouth bundt cake. What began as an endeavor in their own home kitchens soon blossomed into a bustling business with bakeries in more than one-dozen states. Rich cocoa browns and soft pastels lend a nostalgic feel to each bakery, where everyday lava-powered ovens warm up batter made from fresh eggs, real butter, and cream cheese. Flavors such as chocolate chocolate chip, pecan praline, and white-chocolate raspberry remain constants on the menu, and a new flavor makes a guest appearance each month. Cakes come in several sizes, from the standard 8- or 10-inch bundt to the single-serving bundtlet and the bite-size bundtini, all frosted with a signature blend of cream cheese and butter.
In high school, Tammy Hunziker was asked to describe the perfect man for a class assignment. Her answer—a gingerbread man—had little impact on her future personal life, but everything to do with her future career. Nowadays, Hunziker still bakes batches of gingerbread cookies, alongside oatmeal cookies, snickerdoodles, and meringues at her specialty bakery, Room for Dessert. Some cookies are frosted to resemble smiling faces, and others depict tasseled mortarboards, wedding dresses, and jack-o’-lanterns wondering if they’ll ever grow up to be a pie. An array of frosted cakes and cupcakes complement the cookies in flavors such as brown sugar, lemon, and dark chocolate.
For pastry chef Pascal Merle and baker Jean-Bernard Vial, Lafayette Bakery & Café is a dream 35 years in the making. The pair were both born and raised in France, where they both mastered France's signature art: baking. The duo now showcase their rustic, crusty breads, fruit-started sourdough, and delicate pastries inside their shop. Every morning, they create artful tartelette pommes, meringues, baguettes, and croissants. Though the pastries stand alone as sweet snacks, the chefs also use the breads to make their signature baguette and croissant sandwiches. They pair all of these treats with gourmet coffees, espressos, and cappuccinos, as well as juices and tea.
Pastries and Petals creates from-scratch cakes, cupcakes, cookies, and macarons with sugary dough and fruit filling of all sorts. The bakers meticulously decorate festive heart cookies, which proclaim their love on a crisp iced shell. For those who can't decide on just one treat, Pastries and Petals features comfortable outdoor patio seating so customers can unwind while sipping coffee and sampling savory bites or fresh-from-the-oven cookies.