There’s no missing Veniero’s on your first trip in because of its huge, neon sign, and if for some reason, you miss that, there’s the smell. Walking up to one of New York’s oldester bakeries (since 1894!), you’ll find the glass doors are propped open, allowing the warm smell of almond extract and marzipan to pull you inside, towards the number dispenser. The number dispenser is one of my favorite things about Veniero’s. It keeps order, for one, but it also makes me think of the deli counter but instead of getting turkey slices by the pound or something equally mundane, I’m getting butter cookies. And lots. You can actually buy any of the pastries by the pound— slices of Napoleon included— which I happily did.
For me, Italian desserts are a balance of hard and soft: crumbly dough with creamy, cheese fillings or layered pastry dough punctuated with nuts. Think quickly through some of your Italian favorites, like cannolis to sfogliatelles (aka lobster tails), and you’d see how the filling and the pastry pair together perfectly, complimenting each other like dunking a crispy french fry into soft serve ice cream.
Italian desserts even seem like proper meals when you think about it, as most Italian desserts are even better served with the right wine or coffee. And as an ending note to a meal, these desserts are light and sweet, like panna cotta or tiramisu (as opposed to denser bitter chocolate cakes), which seem appropriate as some Italians prefer ending a meal of heavy pasta, sauces, and meats on the lighter side with a salad.
(Yes, I just compared light desserts to salad.)
Maybe that’s why, when I walked into Veneiro’s and took in the boxes of butter cookies in the window and the eclairs waiting behind the glass case, I ended up filling the pastry box with more items than I meant to— rainbow cookies, lobster tails, and cannolis just to be safe of course. But I have no regrets. None whatsoever.
Have you been seeing the pictures of the translucent, perplexing dessert known as the Japanese Raindrop Cake? New Yorkers have been going wild over the new Smorgasburg special since the outdoor food market reopened this season, though the Ramen burger line seriously hasn’t gotten any shorter. I’m not bitter or anything… Now while I’m stoked at how awe-inspiring everyone feels about this Asian treat, I’m even more excited at the possibility of this mania becoming an opportunity for more Asian desserts to come to the forefront.
Everyone I’ve spoken to about this dessert has either Googled the ingredients or planned to get it themselves, and that’s pretty big for an untraditional dessert. Looking at NYC sweet trends from cupcakes, cronuts, to macarons, we haven’t had an Asian dessert make an equally big splash on the food scene, despite there being so many delicious options out there: like Minamoto Kitchoan in Midtown East with its delicious Wagashi or even Tai Pan Bakery with their fruit tarts and sponge cakes. These bakeries are fun, delicious, and have a cult following, and yet nothing has ever really struck New Yorkers’ fancy to degree of the cronut, though that’s arguable in any case.
Growing up in a Filipino household, my mom raised me on cassava cake, halo-halo, and buko pandan. Desserts were rice flour based, glutenous or spongy in texture, and vibrant in color (the buko pandan is usually a bright green). And while I grew up with the usual cupcakes and ice cream sundaes as any kid would, my favorite flavors to this day are still ube ice cream with its deep purple color and warm espasol (rice cakes) dusted lightly with toasted rice flower. Their sweetness can’t compare to what I identify as a traditional American desserts with the sugary frostings or thick syrups. Whereas a cupcake might have a lighter, satisfying saccharine quality to it, some of my favorite Asian desserts kick at the bass notes of sugar, almost to a savory degree.
This is a cup of halo-halo from Red Ribbon Bakery, a Filipino favorite, in Flushing, Queens.
We’re living in a New York that’s constantly cycling through trendy desserts — the ones that bring all the boys to the yard, if you don’t mind me citing Kelis at you — and while I can appreciate a good hybrid (cronut, macaron doughnut) or the spectacle desserts (giant milkshakes, 6-oz cookies), it’s time for an entirely new flavor profile for us to sink our teeth into and the Japanese Raindrop Cake’s Instagram popularity as well as its humble beginnings at Smorgasburg (platform for Dough and so many other restaurants) bode well for a new dessert wave on the scene.
If you haven’t opened your Instagram in the past months, you probably are just now learning of Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer’s famous milkshakes. The gravity defying dairy dreamlands include such luscious adornments from cake slices, to cotton candy, to entire ice cream cookie sandwiches, basically every dessert your kid heart may desire in one awesome cup.
The milkshakes were added to Black Tap’s menu in November and have since taken over Instagram feeds, Snapchat stories, and our hearts. And like any NYC food fad— hey ramen burger, cronut, and rainbow bagel— lines out the block are simply going to happen. But these $15 milkshakes have been on my To-Be-Eaten list for while, and despite the 1,600 calorie count, I was more than willing to bite the bullet and just wait with the other sugar fiends out there.
I did do some cursory research before I went to Black Tap. By this, I mean that I asked a lot of my friends if they knew how long the wait was, and the worst I heard was two hours. Two whole hours? Frodo couldn’t even get the ring to Mount Doom in that amount of time. I told myself that if I got there and the line was bad, that I would just go to Doughnut Plant instead to eat my sorrows. And I would never speak of this failed adventure again.
I left right after work on a gorgeously warm Friday to get on line for these beauties. While the logical part of me berated myself for choosing a day where more New Yorkers would want to be outside, eat al fresco, and possibly wait in a two-hour line for a fancy milkshake, I chose to be optimistic and smile a lot at the people drinking at the outdoor seating. I figured this was good. Those people wouldn’t be in my way then.
The line double backed at one point, but it wasn’t that bad. Not two hours bad. My friend who was waiting with me also said this. We said it a few more times shortly within the next few minutes, which made me wonder if we were really bothered by it or if we truly believed what we were saying.
At one point, the bouncer— because all food lines need order— came over and asked if the next party of two would mind eating at the bar. I wouldn’t mind! I wouldn’t mind at all! But he picked a different set of girls. I was annoyed, but my friend had to point out that they were waiting before us. That didn’t matter to me. I only ate a bag of pretzels for lunch. I was going to get Hulk on someone soon. It didn’t matter that a majority of the line had parents and children.
At one point, I thought it was going to rain. The clouds were coming in and my phone app had a small dark grey cumulus nimbus emoji, so I prepared for the worse. This was life now. It was going to rain and I would stay in this line, committed, determined, strong. I deserved that milkshake. I already chose the one I wanted (the one with the cookies). I could wait in line for even more hours if need be.
Oh. The bouncer was asking for the next party of two to sit at the bar. That was us. It was our turn. It was like the wait never, ever happened.
Have a question? Need a suggestion? We’re here to help with any of your sweet needs— be it what’s the best gift to give your mother or what should you bring to the office potluck. We got your back. And we deliver too.
Q: What Dessert Should I Get for an Office Birthday that Isn’t Cake?
While we are big fans of the traditional birthday cake, we are also big fans of breaking out of the norm. So disregarding how well you know Nancy the Junior Account Exec, Jordan the Office Manager, or whoever’s birthday we’re celebrating, when someone asked us for another suggestion for an office birthday party that isn’t cake— we didn’t have too much trouble putting our thinking caps on.
Though of course, it wouldn’t hurt to take note if Nancy or Jordan preferred chocolate or vanilla. Just a suggestion.
The New York staple reminds us of the good ol’ kid’s birthday party, but Mom knew what she was doing when she served these tiny cakes. Cupcakes mean no messing with plates, knives, and clean up. Also, none of that awkward waiting for on-the-diet coworkers nitpicking the size of their slice. Equal distribution and less whining? Cupcakes make so much sense as the perfect kid dessert now. Mom was so right.
Try the German chocolate cupcakes at Billy’s Bakery. We’ll help bring them to your office.
OK, so we know that you wouldn’t traditionally stick a birthday candle in a macaron but it is possible. You could also line up enough macarons to spell “Happy Birthday!” or even include their name if you order a lot (or if they have a very short name). There’s also just something fancy feeling about macarons that feels level-up special— possibly because of the “natural” French accent it gives us. You can also choose different flavors, so no one feels left out. Also the more flavors, the more colorful the spread. And the more colorful the spread, well, you’re break room’s about to break into an Instagram photo shesh.
We can throw back macaron after macaron from Mille Feuille. And we can bring them right to you.
Chocolate, pistachio, or maybe just traditional. Who wouldn't love the not-too-sweet flavor and flaky texture of baklava? The variety, eating it sans knife or fork, and having a giant pile of pastry are enough reasons to throw your own office birthday bacchanal. Plus, we just like it with coffee, aka the lifeblood of every office place.
It’s your party and you can make it rain birthday baklava with our help from Pi Bakerie.
Consider cream puffs as the dessert world’s version of a gift box, except instead of a sweater or a candle wrapped in tissue paper, there’s only sweet, oozy filling. Cream puffs aren’t shared enough, and we should help it become the new birthday go-to. Not only are they filled with surprise goodness just waiting to escape, but they’re portable, easily portioned, and they’re a treat onto themselves— when’s the last time you got yourself a cream puff? Tuesday? Pffft, you deserve one now.
One look at these desserts and you’ll think bow-chikka-wow-wow, or more like this Puff Chika Creme Puff from Chikalicious.
via A very wise, fictional man once quoted his wise, also fictional momma by saying, “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” Such a nugget of wisdom has gone down in quotable history, and while, some variances of chocolate boxes proved to defeat that claim by putting a chart of bon bons on the lid of packaging — looking pointedly at you Whitman’s Sampler box— we can’t help but tuck a fist under our chins and put our ponder caps on to debate: “Exactly how is life like a box of chocolates?” Well, other than the mystery of the flavors and the anticipation of what’s to come, we have an idea.
Sweet. Simple. (Or maybe not.) But definitely over-thought on how to approach and what to do and where to put your hands or how to angle your face. We figured that everyone’s first kiss is a fun nugget of a story— which we whip out to amuse our friends at the bar— and we’re definitely sure that the first peck was over too soon, just like this Black Sesame bite-sized chocolate truffle from Kees. Well, we guess you could get a whole box, but that might be second base...we’re not entirely sure.
Your First Drink Is a Chocolate Cake Bite
OK so you might not find an entire cake bite inside your box of chocolates, but it’s still technically chocolate and would fit inside that proverbial chocolate box. So it counts! But do you remember your first drink? How grown-up you felt? How you probably had no idea what you were getting into, but man you gave way to college peer pressure quick and had another, and another, and another, sort of like eating cake ball, after cake ball, after cake ball. Those things are super addicting, and like your first drink, you can easily go overboard your first time. But that’s OK, because you’re a connoisseur now. You know how many of Tu Lu’s Gluten Free Cake Bites you can handle in one sitting (a lot), before we find you dancing on a table with a lampshade on your head. Y’know, the same way you know how you can handle your liquor, like an elegant, sophisticated, fancy pants adult.
Your First Home Away from Home Is a Piece of Cake
Or it might not have been. Sometimes getting situated outside the radius of the parentals’ loving arms can be tough, but once you’ve found a place to call your own— be it in a new town or country or state— there’s a warm, satisfying feeling in looking over everything (ie: upturned milk cartons for tables, laptop open to your parent’s Netflix account, and your mattress without a bed frame) and feel like you have something special. Consider Ceci Cela’s chocolate cake as your home: yummy, comforting, and filled with chocolate mousse...oh wait that’s only the chocolate cake. Your house isn’t filled with chocolate mousse. But man that would be super cool if it was.
Super indulgent, light, peaceful. First loves feel like most desserts, but we tend to think they’re more eclair-like than anything. It’s possibly because chocolate eclairs are mystical structures of puff pastry and science with a creamy, delightful filling, like love. OK, we admit that it is a stretch, but the chocolate eclairs at Mille Feuille make you feel a lot like love. Maybe it’s the small cafe tables that make you feel physically closer to the person across. Maybe it’s the French ambience. We don’t know. Love is mysterious like that.
Sort of like whoops we blew our paycheck on that really cool smart TV? Or whoops, what? No, we totally meant to spend that much on that impromptu trip to Santorini. We just felt like we needed to get away. Free of our inhibitions and free to chase simple pleasures and fun, it sort of makes us think of the whoopi pie from Baked. Because the last time we felt so free was when we were kids, running around, enjoying sweets, and taking a big ol’ bite of a whoopi pie.
Fine, It Is a Box of Chocolates
Fine, we get it. Life is like a box of chocolates, but like, a really big box of chocolates. A big enough box where we can put a whoopi pie, a dozen or so cake balls, and maybe a chocolate milkshake to boot. Heck, we’d even throw in a smaller chocolate box and make it like a matroyshka doll situation, like a gorgeous beauty of a box from Tache Artisan Chocolate. Fact of the matter is, you’ll study the box and try to assess what to indulge in first, try some strategizing, but you’ll figure out that you just have to go all in. All of the flavors are worth trying.
Traditionally on St. Patrick’s Day, people will pinch you for not wearing a specific secondary color (green), because people are mean (sometimes) and also because elementary school taught us to do this (yes). At one time or another, we’ve all been the lone kid in class who forgot to wear green anything that day, so we had to endure a day’s worth of pinching and laughter and general mean spiritedness that only lepers have felt. Or so we’ve read somewhere.
So we start planning for next St. Patrick’s Day, because next St. Patrick’s Day we would be ready, and next St. Patrick’s Day we would be wearing so much friggin’ green, and next St. Patrick’s Day we would be the ones to pinch the noob who forgot! Cue maniacal laughter, because really, St. Patrick’s Day taught us how to deal with regret, to learn from our mistakes, to plan ahead, to wait, to pick our outfits, and to apparently just be adults come to think of it. Thanks, St. Patrick’s Day.
And while the practice of pinching might be out of the norm now that we’re all adults and can go to the bathroom without permission from a teacher, there’s always that lone friend or coworker or rogue child who will still judge us for not keeping up with the Irish tradition. So, we figured we could help you out with that. Here’s our plan to avoid getting pinched.
This is a green velvet cheesecake doughnut from Dough, and like our favorite green Marvel superhero, this Hulk pastry will keep any unwanted pinchers at bay. They won’t like it when you’re angrily eating this in front of their face, because it’s green. Green dictates they can’t pinch you. Also they’ll be jealous you have a doughnut. Green is also the color of jealousy.
Especially do this if it’s a rogue child pinching willy nilly. First, find their parent. Second, if you are their parent, still eat these St. Paddy’s Day shamrock cupcakes from Magnolia Bakery in front of them. The child can’t pinch you now, because wee he or she’s probably really sad that you won’t share this cupcake.
The green mint and the chocolate brownies are not only a great, fulfilling snack by way of Protein Bakery, but they’re also a great way to keep pinchers from getting too comfortable. Maybe you already ate your cupcake or doughnut, but then bam! You had this brownie in your desk drawer or pocket all the time. They don’t stand a chance at all.
Are you seeing the pattern? Yes, you don’t have to make sure you’re wearing green when you get ready today. It’s OK you didn’t find your leprechaun socks like your coworker Kevin. Your way at least includes tons of snacks during the day.
Not sure about you, but as a kid, I pretty much grew up on sugar. There were breakfasts where a stubborn, young me wouldn’t back down from wanting Oreos and milk, rather than a well balanced meal. There were Summers spent on ice cream, homemade birthday cakes we’d push our faces in, and make-it-yourself Rice Krispies during slumber parties. Sugar had its own happiness and form of independence to me. After all, dessert choice is one of the first decisions you can proudly say was your own. Because I didn’t have much in the decision-making of my outfits, which relatives could pinch my cheeks, or if I went to school that day, but dammit was I always asked which ice cream I felt like eating at the Mr. Softee truck. And I always chose the Mario pop because his nose was a gum ball. Two desserts in one. Bam.
Maybe that’s why we turn towards sweets as a comfort food or a celebration for that matter. Maybe we want to feel that free again— by which I mean, kid-freedom, when the hardest decision we had to make was what sort of ice cream we felt like that day.
It’s also probably why throwback, kid-nostalgia-themed desserts are just very much alive.
Milk and cookies were a staple as kids. Be they Oreos or freshly made from Grandma’s loving kitchen, milk and cookies were a basic food group to us. So of course we can’t not knock back Dominique Ansel’s shots of a childhood tradition, even if we have to wait in line for them.
Rice Krispy treats had to be one of the first things many of us could make on our own (discounting cereal and/or toast of course) and many a slumber party or after school play time was driven by the sugar derived from our good friends Snap, Crackle, and Pop. These days, we can have all of the joy of the fun cereal squares, none of the clean-up (the dried marshmallow in a pot never cleaned easily), and all of the nostalgia thanks to Treathouse. They even keep with the sleepover tradition of sticking candies, chocolates, and even bubblegum to decorate.
It seems like we haven’t talked about ice cream enough in this post, right? For good measure, let’s go back to Mr. Softee, the first man to steal all of our hearts. The light jingle of “Pop Goes the Weasel” will always make my heart skip a beat and make me realize that I don’t have cash. Also, I’m old and lazy now, or at least too lazy and old to chase the actual ice cream truck. I’m an adult and will go to the store, or (better yet!) get delivery through Sweetist the adult way! And the best version of a throwback dessert done in an evolved, mature way is Tipsy Scoop. It’s exactly as it sounds. It’s boozy brilliant. And you can also get an ice cream cake.
Kid birthdays are the best. And by the best I mean, they always had trampolines, party bags with candy and really small toys, and they had homemade funfetti cake. It doesn’t get better than buttery frosting and sprinkles, because yes, sprinkles is a flavor in our books. And Mini Melanie takes us back to Bobby Thompson’s backyard birthday party with the pinata and the best cake.
Remember those popsicles in the long tubes that you looked like Mad Scientist Chemicals but froze into something brilliant? Or how about fudgesicles? Or even just the one and only creamsicle? Or basically any sort of frozen novelty on a stick that dripped on your hands and face and made you a hot, sticky mess? Mom loved that. Well, Popbar keeps the memory alive (though less of a mess), and rather than faux flavors, you can now indulge in green tea, banana, and coconut.
Cereal Milk (shake + soft serve) from Momofuku Milk Bar
Sometimes the best part of a cereal was the very end when you could impolitely (as kids we knew no better) slurp up all of the contents and then play with the toy from the box. And Milk Bar has us all swooning in collective memory of how gross we were as kids and how little we cared because that milk at the very bottom of the bowl was just that good. Of course, Milk Bar made it more polite by creating an ice cream and a milk shake, so we can taste it all without the mess.
That’s one of the good things about being an adult and still eating kid-inspired desserts. We’re not going around as sticky gremlins. At least not all the time. The other part? Well, we can have it: Whenever. We. Want.
I feel like I should introduce myself: Hello, I’m Georgette, blogger for Sweetist, eater of sugar, and lover of pie (though doughnuts are a very tight second). I’m taking down the fourth wall today to talk to you about something important, something that affects all of us Americans and eaters, something that we should talk more about to be honest, and that is pie. March 14th— also known as 3.14 or as our friendly mathematician William Jones might say— is Pi (Pie) Day and it is coming upon us. If there are two dates out of the year that I look forward to most, then they have to be Thanksgiving and Pi (Pie) Day. Yes, the former because of mashed potatoes, green beans and the ethereal bliss that is pie. The second, because it’s a whole day where people surprise you with pie. If you know the right people that is.
I love Pi Day so much that I even wrote a very astute, well-thought out argument that it should be the new Valentine’s Day, and hopefully somewhere there’s an underground movement making it so. But, in the meantime, while I wait for that day to come, I’ll content myself with researching and laying some knowledge on the one, the only, the delicious pie.
According to the very important and very real Pie Council, the first pies were made by the early Romans. But unlike the traditional pies we eat, pray, love today these pies weren’t made in crusts but in “reeds” which were more about holding the filling than eating. As a crust aficionado, I personally did not understand that a pie was more about the filling and mobility, so I was surprised to learn that pie crusts weren’t that big of a deal. I trust the almighty Pie Council, however, to dictate that these reed pies were, in fact, pies.
The first pie recipe was published by the Romans, and it was a rye-crusted goat cheese and honey pie, which really isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when thinking old fashioned slice.
Like other cool things like the alarm clock, democracy, and the beginnings of modern medicine, the ancient Greeks brought us the pie pastry. In the plays of Aristophanes during the 5th century, you’ll see mentions of sweetmeats and small pastries filled with fruit. Also Greeks recognized trade of pastry-cook separate from a baker, which is pretty big deal.
Renaissance 14th-17th Centuries
The Oxford English Dictionary says the word “pie” became popular around the 14th century—1362 to be exact—and was first used in 1303 relating to food. Come to think of it, this begs the questions how exactly were people using the word “pie” in 1362 if not describing flaky crusts.
Around the 12th century, early pyes in England were made of meat and the crusts were known as a “coffyn” to sort of protect the fillings. At this time there were more crust than filling (ratio wise), and were used to preserve the meat and good stuff inside. The legs of the fowl were often hung over the side to use as a handle for the pie too. Pies were mostly used for the working men and the crust (in my mind) acted as an edible tupperware. Think of the Cornish Pastry but a little tougher. Fruit pies (pasties) were finally made in the early 1500s, and according to English tradition the first cherry pie was made for Queen Elizabeth I.
The first recorded apple pie recipe was written in 1381 in England— as much as we consider it true Americana, apples weren’t indigenous to America until later— and the recipe used figs, raisins, pears, and saffron with the apples. Early apple pie recipes didn’t use sugar, which was expensive and hard to get at the time. More reason to cherish it now.
If you know the rhyme that goes “Four and twenty blackbirds, baked in a pie…” that most likely is a reference to that fascinating 16th century amusement to place live birds in a pie, documented in an Italian cookbook from 1549. It sounds rather frigthening to the bird, but also keep in mind that the crust took up more room in the pie making and they made space for the birds to hang out until the big show.
At the coronation of eight-year-old English King Henry VI (1422-1461) in 1429 Partrych and Peacock enhackyll pie was served— a cooked peacock mounted on a peacock-filled pie. Similar practice where cooked birds were place on top of pies to identfy the contents.
Pie came to America with the first English settlers, and the pilgrims used dried fruits, cinnamon, pepper, and nutmeg to season the fowl or venison. In reality, there were only crab apple trees when the pilgrims first came, which would make for a terrible apple pie.
The original apple pie comes from England and was made with unsweetened apples. In 1589 in Menaphon by poet R Greene, we have the first reference of apple pie, “Thy breath is like the steeme of apple pies.” I also consider this to be the best, most romantic compliment ever written in poetry. Nay! History.
Since I’m busting bubbles, I should probably also tell you that pumpkin pie didn’t originate at the first Thanksgiving, but it did originate from a recipe from British spiced and boiled squash. Nom. But the first pies by the settlers were made with berries and fruits with the help of the Native Americans and pies allowed the settlers to stretch ingredients and cut corners by using shallow, round pans— the shape we know today!
Fun fact! Pie crusts were still called coffins until the American Revolution.
World War II + Americana
So how exactly did apple pie become Americana? In 1902 an American newspaper article famously claimed that “No pie-eating people can be permanently vanquished,” to which I agree wholeheartedly as pie makes anyone stronger like Popeye and spinach.
And it was perpetuated during World War II with “For mom and apple pie” being the common refrain of why soldiers went to war. Following that it became “As American as Motherhood and Apple Pie,” and by the 1960s the familiar “As American as apple pie” was popularized.
Some fun facts that lead up to today:
Pie in the face became a slapstick routine first appearing in 1909 in the silent film Mr. Flip with Ben Turpin.
In 1992 McDonald’s stops serving their fried apple pies and switches to baked versions. Slowly an underground tracking system happens. As a side note: my sister argued for years that they were different, and I can now see that she was right.
By 1985 the Little Pie Company opened its doors in NYC. To which I am eternally grateful.
In 2003, Pie Face was founded as a pie and coffee chain founded in Sydney before coming to New York. (They sadly closed their doors in 2014.)
In 2010 Four and Twenty Blackbirds opens in Gowanus.
I laid a lot of knowledge on you just now. What you do with it is, certainly up to you, but I would be remiss if I didn’t advise you to get thee to a bakery or make it easy and order from Sweetist to get a pie for Monday. We got you, New York. You don’t want to be caught empty handed on Pi (Pie) Day. That would be embarrassing.
Today is International Women’s Day, a day when we should honor the women of the world, be they your mother, your best friend, your sister— any of the hardworking women who make the day-to-day better and more inspiring. And to celebrate, we decided to share stories and advice from the women who are part of the dessert industry.
“It’s definitely something we’re able to do now, when a few years ago, there were less women in the industry,” said Jamie Rosenberg, manager at Tu-Lu’s Bakery in the East Village. Rosenberg started as an assistant baker at Tu-Lu’s before moving up to head baker and now manager. When she started work out right out of school, she said she was the only girl in the kitchen.
“It’s very different from where I started,” she said. “It was very much a man’s world, I think. And I think it’s great that you’re seeing more women chef and owners.”
Lola Wu, baker at dessert bar Chikalicious, started half a year ago right out of pastry school. It was a different environment than the school room, but she said that it’s always important to communicate. “Always ask questions if you are not sure,” she said. “Quality is the priority, especially at my store, and we always want to ensure that everything looks the best when we present them. You don’t want to waste product.”
A photo posted by Canelé by Céline (@canelebycelineny) on Dec 5, 2015 at 4:44pm PST
“You can achieve results. It can take years, but you will learn a lot from your experience,” Celine Legros founder of Canelé by Céline said. Legros made the switch from law to canelés, starting her own business on her own while also raising three kids. She’s a self-taught baker, learning everything from scratch.
“I had to learn the commercial, marketing, everything to run a small company and manage a team. I never did it before,” Legros explained. “You are your own boss and you learn self-discipline and you will see your limits— what you can do and what you are not good at and what you’re weaknesses or strengths are. You learn by yourself and you see where you can improve.”
Four years after she started, she won the entrepreneur award from the French American Chamber of Commerce and successfully runs New York’s first canelé shop on the Upper East Side.
“There are so many inspirational women business owners and and chefs who are revolutionizing the industry. There are people changing the whole bit as we know it. It’s a wonderful time to be part of the industry,” said Aditi Malhotra, founder and chocolatier of Tache Artisan Chocolate. Malhotra started her business in 2012 and has since won Zagat’s 30 Under 30 Award and selected as one of Forbes’ 30 Under 30 Game Changers in Food and Wine.
“There are wonderful role models— women who can continue to educate the youth and continue to inspire them,” Malhotra said. “There are plenty of organizations out there that are pushing women to join, break out of their shell, and really get out there.” Malhotra got to speak at American Express’ Women’s Initiative Network (WIN) and is also part of Camp Campbell as a mentor for you entrepreneurs.
“My mom is my personal hero. She runs her own restaurant. She’s been doing it before I was born,” she added. “She’s very creative, passionate, loving, and has a big heart. She’s very patient. I don’t know how she puts up with all of her children and everything on a daily basis and still have time to put a smile on her face.”
Malhotra didn’t start out in chocolate. Her family is full of restaurateurs, but she first studied hospitality, before studying at the French Culinary Institute and then working at Morimoto’s. She made the jump to sweets when she had the opportunity to manage a shop with a business partner. She decided she didn’t want to just be a manager. She also wanted to learn how to make chocolate.
“Don’t be afraid to take risks,” she said. “Be passionate and find something that truly belongs to you. Always do what you love.”
If you weren’t aware, today is National Pound Cake Day! The national holiday when we can all celebrate the magical mix of flour, eggs, sugar, and butter (magical because of the magic that is the 1:1:1:1 recipe ratio) that coagulate into the dreamy, dense brick-shape that is pound cake. Insert Homer Simpson doughnut noise because seriously, mmm, pound cake. We love thee so much that we could probably count the ways but it would seriously bite into actual biting time.
And while there are a ton of places where we can go to get a heavenly slice— Sweet Corner Bakeshop being one of our faves— we started thinking a wee bit unconventionally. Our Sugar Driven Minds (SDM) thought process evolved thusly: “where do we get awesome pound cake? Should we make a list of the best pound cake? Should we eat a pound of the best pound cake to celebrate National Pound Cake Day? Wait, can we just eat a pound of any cake to celebrate National Pound Cake Day? Can we just eat a pound of anything?” Yes. Yes we can.
[Disclaimer: Sugar Driven Minds (SDM) have decided that anything sweet is a pound cake for this exercise. We can argue linguistics later on National Word Choice Day.]
It sounds scary at first, but we’re right here to hold your hand. Or we can be the buddy you split the pound of cookies with. We truly don’t mind. And according to math, you have to eat two of Levain’s famous 6 ounce cookies and 3/5s of one to get a proper pound, but we seriously will not judge if you (or we) decide to just make it a round three.
Soft and light, we can understand if you’ve already had a pound of Dough’s yeast doughnuts without even realizing it. We’re sure we do that every Monday to get us going. If you need some help getting it, we can totally hook you up too.
A photo posted by THE SWEET LIFE OF LINA 🎈 (@thesweetlifeoflina) on Feb 27, 2016 at 5:12am PST
Why don’t we order babka by the pound like we do with vegetables or meat or bags of candy? Going to the Breads Bakery counter to buy babka by the pound, which could be one loaf for all we know, just sounds pretty ballin’.
A Pound of Pound Cake from Sweet Corner Bake Shop
Then again, why veer from the traditional? Pound cake. Like pounds of pound cake. There’s nothing more satisfying than a slice of pound cake, such as this coconut one, from Sweet Corner Bakeshop in West Village. And there really isn’t a better day to pound a pound of pound cake shared with friends, your coworker Cheryl, or maybe on your own— we really aren’t judging. You do you. It’s what National Pound Cake Day is all about.