The scents of sugar and spices waft from the doors of Syd’s Bakery, evoking in lucky passersby memories of childhood birthday parties and trips to Grandma’s house. This scrumptious perfume is the byproduct of recipes developed in the kitchens of Hungary, Russia, and Poland—recipes that continue to earn new fans with each bite of the bakery’s cookies, tea cakes, and coffee cakes. Sitting on racks beside their Old World brethren, more than a dozen styles of classic American cookies teem with mix-ins such as chocolate chunks, peanut butter, and coconut flakes. Hand-rolled raised donuts also line the shelves, their insides brimming with colorful jams but not a gram of trans fat.
The bakers flex their artistic muscles when constructing cakes, which range from 6-inch rounds to full sheets that serve up to 90 wedding or graduation-party guests. When customizing cakes for special occasions, customers may choose from six icings, 12 fillings, and more than 20 swirlable cake flavors, which range from milk chocolate to pink champagne. An edible image or hand-drawn greeting makes each cake both tasty and informative, like a pie chart made of real pie.
The Schaked family's passion for chocolate spans three generations and the same number of continents, culminating in the current locally and family-owned Schakolad Chocolate Factory (the business name's a blend of the family's name and the word chocolate). Founder Bernie started learning the art of chocolate in his father-in-law's Argentinian chocolate factory, before studying the confection in Europe and moving to Florida to open his own shop. Now son Edgar runs the business, whose cornerstone principle is having all the chocolates made on the premises of each of its franchise locations. That results in fresh treats and allows room for creativity. Schakolad specializes in boxes of assorted chocolates, and also prepares kosher and vegan varieties.
Rachel's family grew up loving caramel corn but never being able to agree on a flavor. So the clan perfected a wide array of popcorn recipes, which Rachel showcases at her namesake shop. Beginning with three ovens in her home kitchen, reports Toledo Area Parent, Rachel now crafts 30 gourmet kernel flavors in an open kitchen. Along with staples such as yellow cheese, options run the gamut from dill pickle and watermelon to s'mores, buffalo blue cheese, and even pinot noir?a perfect pairing for the neighbors' signature duck-and-mushroom cassoulet. Rachel's creative approach has earned her local acclaim, including guest spots on talk shows such as Rebecca Regnier's Full Plate.
The name Barry Bagels conceals the diversity of its menu. In addition to 17 bagel varieties, the staff churn out homemade soups, sandwiches, desserts, and coffee. The flagship Barry Bagels shop opened in Toledo in 1972?the company celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2012?and now shares its oven-mastery with three other Toledo-area locations as well as Michigan locations in Ann Arbor, and Lambertville.
The cakes and cupcakes at Sweet Livie Loo's have two distinct themes. On one side, there are elegant three-tiered cakes in striped designs. On the other side, there are cupcakes topped with fondant Disney characters. This dichotomy showcases the shop's two favorite customers: women and children. The bakery's owners love these customers so much that they not only create custom cakes in a range of premium flavors for them, but also let customers come in to learn how to decorate their own cakes. Sip & Decorate classes teach adults how to ice two-tier cakes while they sip wine, whereas Chef Petite classes invite aproned kids to learn how to pipe buttercream frosting and fondant onto cupcakes. At the end of classes, both kids and adults get to take home their treats, as well as the knowledge of how to re-create designs at home without saying they're just really into abstract expressionism this year.