Bakeries

340. Josef’s European Pastry Shop – June 23, 2018 – Grosse Pointe Woods, MI

June2018Josefs1 (2)June2018Josefs3 (2)Everyone who regularly reads this blog knows that I adore visiting new-to-me places. But man, do I also love when the experience of trying a new place arrives spontaneously, as it did with my visit to Josef’s European Pastry Shop!

The impulsive jaunt came to fruition one Saturday several weeks ago while a friend and I were en route to Saint Clair Shores with the intention of checking out a couple of breweries (which I’ll be covering in subsequent posts, because they are NEW PLACES!). She’s from Clarkston and currently lives in Waterford, so the East Side is pretty much the other side of the world for her, and we thought it would be fun to take a trip to these breweries she’d never been to, as she enjoys craft beer and rarely gets over to that southeast corner of the Metro D.

While we were driving, my friend mentioned that when she was a kid, her maternal grandmother lived in one of the Grosse Pointes and would often take her to this bakery where she would get these little pink-frosted butter cookies that she loved. She couldn’t recall the bakery’s name and texted her mom for it. I pondered the odds of whether this place she’d likely last visited in the ’90s still existed.

Almost instantly, my friend’s mom texted her back that the name of the bakery was Josef’s European Pastry Shop. A quick Google search confirmed that – lo and behold! – the shop still existed, was currently open, and was about a mile away from where we were at the moment. How’s that for synchronicity?

With everything aligning as it was, you know we had to visit that bakery! Once we reached the familiar-to-me section of Mack Avenue in Grosse Pointe Woods where it’s located, I realized I’d passed it regularly but had somehow never been there. New-place time!!!

According to its website, Josef’s European Pastry Shop opened in 1971, making it 47 years old as of this writing – an impressive legacy for a small business in this day and age.

Walking up to the shop, it was easy to see its appeal. Its red-brick, awning-clad exterior flanked by vibrant flower arrangements was classic and well-kept.

Inside, true to the European-bakery theme, were arranged little round tables intended for sitting and savoring treats. And, of course, there was the pièce de résistance: the large cases displaying said treats.

What goodies were nestled there! There were pastries and pies and cakes and croissants and brownies and cookies – SOOOO many cookies! There were shelves laid with loaves of bread and buns and pizzas. There were so many delectable choices that it was dizzying to decide.

Inevitably, my number was called, and decide I did. I settled on a black-and-white cookie with its half-chocolate, half-vanilla icing and a frosted chocolate brownie with walnuts.

I immediately gobbled up a chunk of that black-and-white cookie, relishing its shortbread and sweet icing. I enjoyed the chewy, walnut-studded brownie a day or so later.

When it came to my friend’s order, she was thrilled to discover that the pink-frosted mini butter cookies of her youth were still being sold by Josef’s. She ordered a boxful and said they tasted exactly as she’d remembered. How exhilarating when, decades later, we stumble upon some relic from our childhood, and it’s exactly how we recall it to be!

21150 Mack Ave.

Grosse Pointe Woods, MI 48236

www.josefspastryshop.com

334. Detroit Cookie Co. – June 9, 2018 – Ferndale, MI

June2018DetroitCookie5 (2)June2018DetroitCookie2 (4)June2018DetroitCookie3 (2)I really don’t need to convince you to visit today’s featured place, right? I mean, who really needs much convincing around visiting a cookie joint?

I certainly didn’t need convincing around visiting Ferndale’s Detroit Cookie Co. After driving past its cheery purple-and-blue exterior scores of times, then perusing its website and laying eyes on its massive XL chocolate-chip cookie, the hype had totally built up in my head. I NEEDED a cookie from the place!

Finally, on a Saturday night a few weeks ago, the fates aligned, and I paid my first visit to Detroit Cookie Co. after a friend and I gave up waiting on a rain-delayed baseball game we were supposed to attend. As much as I love hanging out in Detroit and attending Tigers games, cookies and coffee sounded more appealing on that rainy, chilly night than braving the elements, so we scooted on out of downtown and into that bright little cookie shop on Woodward Avenue.

Other Metro-Detroiters apparently had the same idea around sugary baked goods being appealing on that gloomy night, as Detroit Cookie Co. was buzzing at the time of our visit.

Perusing the bakery cases lined with a multitude of options, including a variety of enticing cookies and croissants, the Chocolate Almond Croissant Bread Pudding with Nutella Ganache gave me pause (how insanely delicious does that sound???). But in the end, I knew I had to stay on the cookie route, so I forewent that hefty slice of bread pudding and got what my heart had been set on for weeks: the XL chocolate-chip cookie. I also got a peanut-butter-and-chocolate cookie called the Peanut Butter Volcano (because PB + Chocolate = LIIIIFEE in my book) and a small coffee.

I tore into that XL chocolate-chip cookie right away. It was studded with loads of the little chocolatey gems, making it very rich and a perfect pairing with the boldly flavored black coffee.

My friend who accompanied me to Detroit Cookie Co. ordered a cookie ice cream sandwich – because yes, the bakery has several flavors of ice cream on tap for the purpose of loading the frozen dairy goodness between layers of its fresh-baked cookies. Hers consisted of creamy vanilla ice cream set between a chocolate-chip cookie and one with peanuts and toffee chips called Night Cap that she quite enjoyed. She also got a S’mores cookie, which I later received a text from her about raving that she found it phenomenal with its chocolate and graham cracker pieces and golden-brown toasted marshmallow topping.

I myself didn’t eat the Peanut Butter Volcano I’d ordered until a few days later. I softened it a touch in the microwave and devoured that peanut butter cookie topped with a decadent dollop of creamy peanut butter coated in chocolate, and man, was it SO, SO, SO, SO good! That one was my favorite over the XL chocolate-chip cookie – though you certainly can’t go wrong with that cookie that’s bigger than your fist and loaded with double the typical amount of chocolate chips.

Of course, you CAN go wrong with a cookie that’s bigger than your fist and loaded with double the typical amount of chocolate chips if it contains gluten and animal products and those things either make you sick or just aren’t your thing. As such, it’s worth noting that Detroit Cookie Co.’s website states that both gluten-free and vegan cookie varieties are available upon request (and when I scan the photos I took there, I see at least one vegan baked good was on display at the time of my visit, so it’s possible that both vegan and gluten-free cookies are sometimes available for walk-in purchases).

So the next time it’s a rainy, chilly day, or a hot-and-sweltering day – or any day, really – and you’re craving a fresh-baked treat, consider Detroit Cookie Co. I know I won’t have to twist my own arm to do a revisit here!

23421 Woodward Ave.

Ferndale, MI 48220

www.detroitcookieco.com

322. Holy Moly Donut Shop – April 25, 2018 – Detroit, MI

April2018HolyMoly1 (2)April2018HolyMoly2 (2)April2018HolyMoly5 (2)Holy Moly: what an apt name for this donut shop!

After my visit last Wednesday, Holy Moly Donut Shop in Detroit is my latest obsession. Its donuts are out-of-control good; its ultimate pièce de résistance, the donut ice-cream sandwich, BLEW MY MIND with its epic deliciousness.

Sandwiched between a marijuana dispensary (what a convenient location for that!) and a strip club on Eight Mile Road near John R. Street, Holy Moly Donut Shop opened earlier this year. I found out about it a few months ago when a friend of mine stumbled across its brightly colored, bountifully-topped donuts on social media, and I knew I had to go there. From its website I saw that it employed the same concept as Daddy’s Doughnuts in Utica (which I visited back in January), where donuts are topped to order with patrons’ frosting glazes and toppings of choice. Count me in for a repeat of that scenario!

I stepped into the small, clean interior of Holy Moly Donut Shop on the afternoon of my visit, scanned the menu board, and considered my choices. One of those choices was the donut ice cream sandwich, which my friend who’d brought the shop to my attention had mentioned.

I’m admittedly not a huge ice cream person, so I wasn’t set on trying the donut ice cream sandwich. But then I got to Holy Moly and was like, how can I not try this? A donut ice cream sandwich is an intriguing culinary concept, and I dig culinary intrigue. So I ordered one with a glazed bun donut (a plain glazed donut with no hole in the middle) cut in half to make the sandwich’s outer layers and a filling of chocolate ice cream and Nutella sauce.

Next my eyes fixated on the list of available donut toppings. The Better Made Red Hot potato chips grabbed my attention. Spicy chips on a donut? I had to try it. I love spicy, and what better representation of the area was there than a Detroit-made donut decked with crushed Better Made chips? I requested a plain cake donut with a vanilla frosting glaze coated in those spicy crisps.

I wanted to try another of the topped donuts, and I knew I had to go full-on chocolate for that combo, because chocolate is LIFE to me. So I requested a chocolate cake donut with a chocolate frosting glaze and [DRUM ROLL. . . ] chopped Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

I rounded out my order with a red velvet donut sans toppings, because red velvet is a classic on its own. Then I bid adieu to the two friendly Holy Moly employees who’d assisted me and jaunted out excitedly to my car, where I planned to immediately tuck into that ice cream sandwich.

And I did: I sat in my car in the back parking lot of Holy Moly Donut Shop and devoured that ice cream sandwich. And OH MY WORD, it was much better than I’d imagined it would be. It was, quite simply, PERFECTION.

The glazed-donut bun was wonderfully fresh, melt-in-your-mouth baked goodness. The chocolate ice cream was rich and creamy; the warm, chocolate-hazelnut Nutella was the ultimate in decadence. The three ingredients melded together to form one of the most delightful desserts I can ever recall eating.

It was then that I knew with conviction that Holy Moly is not f’ing around: they are indeed doing the good work when it comes to crafting confections that are next-level, brighten-your-day-with-a-million-unicorn-sparkles happiness-boosters. I had to let them know I appreciated it, so after the consumption of that donut ice cream sandwich, I flew back into the shop to thank the employees for creating it for me.

When I got home later that day, I sampled the other three donuts and verified that they were indeed as addictive as that donut ice cream sandwich.

The vanilla-frosted donut with the coating of Red Hot potato chips was bomb! I was digging the thick layer of vanilla glaze with the spicy potato chips. You might not expect spicy potato chips to work on a sweet donut, but they did here.

How about the chocolate donut with the chocolate frosting and chopped Reese’s? Man, was that rich, chocolatey goodness! Holy Moly was not skimpy with the frosting or the peanut-butter-cup chunks.

And the red velvet donut, while simple, was simply YUM.

While my visit to Holy Moly Donut Shop was a week ago, you know those donuts and that ice cream sandwich are still on my mind! I’m telling friends about this place and plotting my next visit to again procure its delectable wares. These are magical donuts, my friends – give them a try if you haven’t yet and prepare for your taste buds to declare, “Holy Moly!” with every bite.

201 W. 8 Mile Rd.

Detroit, MI 48203

www.holymolydonutshop.com

311. Golden Donuts – March 3, 2018 – Clinton Township, MI

March2018GoldenDonuts1 (2)March2018GoldenDonuts2 (2)Donuts, glorious donuts! How I adore those little glazed nuggets of goodness and having an excuse to purchase them – and to try a new bakery for this blog, of course.

Visiting a dear friend on a Saturday morning is as good an excuse as any to purchase a half-dozen donuts from a new-to-the-blog bakery. Thusly, my visit to Golden Donuts on Harper Avenue in Clinton Township commenced a few weeks ago.

Stepping into the tiny storefront located inside a strip mall, I was reminded of another local donut shop I’d visited in the last year: Donut Factory of Warren – mainly because both had an old-fashioned vibe and elderly gentlemen hanging out in them at the time of my visit. I got the impression that the two elderly gentlemen hanging out in counter seats at Golden Donuts were regulars, that they were familiar to the woman working behind the counter, that they were killing time in the companiable way that a certain type of retiree is wont to do.

The presence of these older dudes, it was oddly comforting to me. Maybe because I aspire to one day be able to pass time that way, in the practice of sitting and doing nothing much, really; maybe it’s because elderly people remind me of my beloved grandmother who passed away last summer. Regardless of the reason why, I saw Golden Donuts being the kind of place where elderly gents like to hang out as a plus-sign, as random as that sounds.

Of course, the most critical component of a donut shop is not its perceived desirability as a hangout spot by senior citizens but whether its donuts are any good. I set out to determine this out by ordering a half-dozen of Golden Donuts’ namesake wares: a white-cream-filled donut, a custard-filled, a red-velvet glazed, a honey-glazed chocolate, a chocolate-and-sprinkle-topped glazed, and a vanilla-and-chocolate-drizzled variety that looked to be jelly-filled and that was called a Napoleon.

While the donuts I tried that day – the red velvet, the honey-glazed chocolate, the white-cream-filled – were tasty, the true star of the show was the Napoleon, the one I randomly threw into the mix because I thought my friend or her husband might like it but which I didn’t expect to try. When it ended up left in the donut box and back at home with me, I decided to give it a whirl, not really expecting it to be my thing (I’m not really a jelly-donut girl) but not wanting to waste it.

This Napoleon turned out to be not just any jelly donut: it was quite possibly the best jelly donut EVER MADE. Certainly, it was the best jelly donut I can remember eating.

First of all, this Napoleon donut wasn’t a regular donut in terms of the dough used to make it: it was more of a flaky, puff-pastry kind of consistency. And it wasn’t simply filled with strawberry jelly; half of it was, but the other half was filled with CUSTARD. This was a half-jelly-filled, half-custard-filled, puff-pastry-esque, vanilla-AND-chocolate drizzled donut! It was AMAZING!

Based off of that glorious Napoleon donut alone, I would say that Golden Donuts passes the good-donut test. If the Napoleon sounds at all intriguing to you, I encourage you to give it a try! Or if you want to check out Golden Donuts’ other wares, such as its pasties and other baked goods – or to simply sit and hang at the counter with the old dudes – that is of course cool, too.

34155 Harper Ave.

Clinton Township, MI 48035

305. Daddy’s Doughnuts – January 25, 2018 – Utica, MI

January2018DaddysDonuts1 (3)January2018DaddysDonuts2 (3)January2018DaddysDonuts5 (2)Utica is represented on 100 Places in the D! It’s crazy to me that it took me nearly four years to visit a place there given that I live in close proximity to it, but there you go: Utica is the 12th of the new-to-the-blog-cities visited in Blog Year Four (goal achieved!).

Blog Year Four ended on Wednesday, February 7, and Daddy’s Doughnuts in Utica was my last visit during that period. So look out for a Blog Year Four review soon, where I’ll nerd out on all of the stats related to this most recent of the completed 100 Places blogging years, as well as a top-ten post where I’ll gush over my faves of the bunch visited during this time period. There have been some gems!

Daddy’s Doughnuts might have to be in contention for that top-ten list. I’d been intrigued by it since the sign for the bakery – which is (dangerously) along my route to work – appeared in the weeks preceding its opening.  There are certainly things in this world less intriguing than fresh-baked, frosting-coated little rings o’ cakey goodness, am I right?

And Daddy’s Doughnuts has an angle on the way it presents its rings o’ cakey goodness: it tops them to order. You can either choose from the twelve signature Daddy’s Dozen frosting-and-toppings-bedecked offerings or create your own custom-topped donuts by mining ingredients such as maple glaze, marshmallow drizzle, crushed Oreos, graham cracker crumbs, and Fruity Pebbles. Either way, the Daddy’s crew will bedazzle those babies with icing and toppings right in front of you.

For nine dollars, I got a half-dozen of select Daddy’s Dozen donuts (one Minty Thin with its chocolate frosting, chocolate sprinkles, and mint drizzle; one Breakfast with its maple frosting and bacon pieces; one Chocolate Covered Pretzel with its chocolate frosting, pretzel pieces, and caramel drizzle; one Peanut Butter Jelly with its peanut butter frosting, crushed peanuts, and grape jelly drizzle; and two Blackouts with their chocolate frosting, Oreo pieces, and chocolate drizzle, because chocolate is LIFE).

Plus, in compensation for signing up for Daddy’s rewards club, I received another (free) donut – how awesome is that?

I dig this bakery not only because of its made-to-order approach, myriad of toppings options, and rewards club but also for its friendly employees, whimsical donut pillows piled onto the window-seat bench seating, and digital clock on display counting down the seconds, minutes, hours, and days until National Donut Day – which is June 1, FYI (how fun is that?).

I also adore that in addition to dealing up donuts, Daddy’s offers fresh-brewed coffee and tea from Michigan-based companies. Yay to that!

But most of all, I love Daddy’s Doughnuts for its donuts. The frosting-slathered, toppings-loaded beauties taste as good as they look, all fresh and soft and gooey and flavorful – and that’s the most crucial component of why this bakery is so awesome. If you’re in need of a pre-work pick-me-up, you know where to go!

8413 Hall Rd.

Utica, MI 48317

www.daddysdoughnuts.com

284. Bommarito Bakery – October 7, 2017 – Saint Clair Shores, MI

BommaritosOct2017-2 (2)BommaritosOct2017-1 (2)I’d never visited Bommarito Bakery in Saint Clair Shores until a few weeks ago; however, I did have a memorable run-in with one of its cassata cakes a few years ago.

A friend of mine had a party at which she presented the cake; I tried some, and my mind was BLOWN. It was the best cassata cake I’d ever had – which is saying a lot, because cassata cake is one of those things I’m particular about – i.e., something I’d previously specifically entrusted Vito’s Bakery in Clinton Township to make for me, because Vito’s cassata cake was THE cassata cake. It was its cannoli filling, with those chunks of chocolate and the perfect amount of cinnamon, that sealed the deal . . . my family and I have long seen Vito’s as the winner in the cannoli-filling department. But here was Bommarito Bakery totally dethroning Vito’s in my mind. What was happening????

After Bommarito and its bomb cassata cake shook up my world and earned my respect, I knew I had to visit the bakery so I could cover it for the blog. Earlier this month, I finally did and learned that Bommarito is much more than a bakery; it’s also a pizzeria, grocery, and wine store.

The evening I was there was a busy one, as it was the night of the annual Michigan vs. Michigan State football game; people were loading up on grub for their viewing parties. I myself was there to pick up a pizza I’d ordered. While waiting in line to pay, I was able to scope out the shop in greater detail.

Not only is this place a purveyor of freshly baked breads, cookies, cream puffs, cannolis, donuts, cakes, pies, and the like, it also offers sub sandwiches and gelato – in addition to the aforementioned pizza. Then there’s the extensive wine selection and the rows of dry and refrigerated groceries. Bommarito Bakery really has all of its bases covered! Not only can you stop there and pick up some tasty baked goods for your next office potluck, while you’re at it, you can grab some subs for dinner, some wine to accompany it, that milk you ran out of, the bread for the kid’s sandwiches, that mind-blowing cassata cake. . . it’s truly a one-stop-shop kind of bakery!

21830 Greater Mack Ave.

St. Clair Shores, MI 48080

www.bommaritobakery.com

282. Cake Ambition – October 6, 2017 – Detroit, MI

CakeAmbitionOct2017-2 (2)CakeAmbitionOct2017-1 (2)After enjoying lunch at Selden Standard and making a couple of purchases at the lovely independent bookshop Source Booksellers (which I visited for the first time on my birthday last year), my recent birthday celebration downtown with my mom continued in search of sweets. Spurred on by a recommendation of one of the Source clerks who raved about its cheesecake, we went in search of what she called the “cheesecake lady” shop next to Blossoms florist.

After locating the florist, we realized the actual name of the cheesecake shop was Cake Ambition and that it sold much more than cheesecake. The vibrantly colored space (no way you can walk into this place and not smile!) also sold a selection of cupcakes and other baked goods such as coffee cake and spinach pies; old-fashioned candies such as salt-water taffy and striped candy sticks; and packaged goodies produced by other local vendors such as the fabulous Gus & Grey, which you may remember me mentioning in previous blog posts such as this one. Its jams are FANTASTIC, with unique flavor offerings such as the blueberry-lavender Spellbound, which Cake Ambition had in stock and which I decided to purchase.

I wanted to purchase the jam not only because I love Gus & Grey but also because I wanted to support the super-cheery shop and its friendly owner. My mom and I had decided not to purchase any cheesecake from Cake Ambition because there was only one slice currently being offered, and we decided amongst ourselves that we would move on to the other dessert place we’d had in mind instead, which I’ll cover in my next post (hint: it involves ice cream!).

Even though I didn’t sample any of Cake Ambition’s baked goods, I’m happy it was brought to my attention, because now I know not only where to go if I need a shot of childhood-level cheer and nostalgia (I just love the vibe of that colorful shop!), but also where I can order a baller custom cake. The gallery on Cake Ambition’s site shows cakes sculpted into realistic-looking models of athletic shoes, a pirate ship, and the Mad Hatter hat of Alice in Wonderland-fame, to name a few of the works of art displayed there. I am fascinated by the level of artistry obviously required to craft such desserts; these guys are definitely talented!

4154 3rd St.

Detroit, MI 48201

www.cakeambition.com

262. Donut Factory – August 9, 2017 – Warren, MI

20170809_13060620170809_13061620170809_143236Four words, people: CHOCOLATE HONEY-GLAZED DONUT. Those four words equal pure shining goodness and love, in my vocabulary!

Last month, I discovered that the people at the Donut Factory – a bakery/café on Mound Road just south of 12 Mile in Warren – most definitely know what the heck they are doing when they craft their namesake pastry. For a mere 95 cents, I got in return a little nugget of Heaven named CHOCOLATE HONEY-GLAZED DONUT that was delectably crispy and sweet-honey-kissed on the outside and sumptuously soft and chocolatey on the inside. YES QUEEN!

I’m thrilled that I decided to make the detour to the Donut Factory that afternoon while en route from an offsite work meeting, because discovering one more place where top-notch baked goods are crafted makes me feel that much more equipped to deal with life (donuts are an effective antidote to have in one’s back pocket when adulting gets squirrely). I stopped there because I thought it was one of two donut shops in Warren that I have on my 100 Places to-visit spreadsheet (one of my nerdiest and most beloved creations). I realized when I looked there later that it wasn’t (the shops on my list are Donut Castle and Daily Dozen. Apparently Warren is loaded with delightful independently-owned donut shops).  I guess it was Fate that brought me to the Donut Factory – so thank you for that, Universe!

According to its Yelp profile, the Donut Factory is open 24 hours Tuesdays through Fridays (so you can get your donut fix at any time of day! Imagine donuts after a visit to another Warren gem, Dragonmead Microbrewery – NEXT-LEVEL). On Saturday, it closes at 4 p.m. and is wholly closed on Sunday (good, because the saints who make these babies deserve to live a life outside of donut cobbling). It reopens on Monday at 4 a.m.

Besides donuts, the Donut Factory offers other food, too – soups and sandwiches and pasties. You can go in there and sit in one of the booths or at the counter and enjoy a meal in a pleasant, low-key, kinda quaint environment where time feels like it is standing still – in a good way. Because time moves too quickly sometimes, doesn’t it?

There’s a massively popular corporate-chain donut/coffee shop right next to the Donut Factory. I like this chain; I frequented it regularly at one point in my past. But when I see this chain store parked next to the Donut Factory, a humble, locally-owned establishment cranking out fried rings of pure deliciousness at a 24/7 pace, I feel like shaking my fist at them and screaming, “No! No! You will not threaten the Donut Factory!” I mean, not cool, corporate chain, not cool.

But the profound thing about buying power is that we can decide which place of the two we want to support with our dollars – or whether we want to support both. It’s our choice. So the next time you’re in the 12 Mile-and-Mound area and feel like doing a little experiment, give ’em both a taste test and see what you think. For the record, my vote is with the Donut Factory.

28805 Mound Rd.

Warren, MI 48092

227. Rockin’ Cupcakes – January 27, 2017 – Rochester Hills, MI

20170127_133037-220170127_133721-2Ummm . . . I feel like the cupcakes in the photo above speak for themselves. Are they glorious or what??? That is SIX different varieties of chocolate cupcake you are seeing, including one with a caramel center; one with peanut butter buttercream, chocolate coating, and crushed pretzels; and another, as the menu describes it, with “Red wine infused chocolate cake, filled with red wine chocolate ganache, and topped with wine infused buttercream” – YOW! (That one was AWESOME.)

I had a Groupon for Rockin’ Cupcakes, the place where I got these exquisite dollops of perfection, and the Friday before last, on my brother’s birthday, I thought, here is an excuse to use this bad boy. On my lunch break, I headed out to Rochester Hills and the bakery’s tiny, colorful storefront, tucked within a sprawling plaza next to Papa Joe’s market.

I already knew its cupcakes were going to be awesome because I’d tried them before. For my birthday last October, a coworker brought me some of Rockin’ Cupcakes’ wares. Because I didn’t set foot in the place to get those baked goods, I didn’t count it then for my blog (my rule is that I have to physically visit a new-to-me place in order for it to be valid). But the moist and decadent cupcakes I had then convinced me I needed to go.

It was so fun to step away from work and into this cheery shop to muse over which mouthwatering varieties with the classic rock-themed names (Paint it Black, Yellow Submarine, The Rolling Stone) I was going to pick for my half-dozen. The pleasant young woman working the counter took the time to describe the cupcakes, helping me to decide. In the end, I purchased the chocolate assortment, because chocolate is LIIIIIFE. Luckily, my brother and other family members I shared them with are pretty keen on it, too.

Everyone exclaimed over how rich and moist the cupcakes were. That buttercream frosting – killer!

Worth noting: Rockin’ Cupcakes is open Mondays through Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., but according to its website, if it runs out of cupcakes before the formal closing time, it will close early. So it wouldn’t hurt to call the shop before you visit to make sure it’s open.

6906 N. Rochester Rd.

Rochester Hills, MI 48306

www.rockincupcakesrochester.com

208. Natalie’s Bakery – November 19, 2016 – Madison Heights, MI

20161119_124358-220161119_124522img_1255-2Hello, all! I have missed you! Over two weeks passed where I didn’t explore any new places. I was getting antsy!

With the increasingly shorter days, it’s been a struggle for me to choose what I’m going to do with my scarce and precious weekend daylight hours. I’ve had to be quite intentional. The weekend prior to this past one, I ran myself ragged using the time to cook and photograph three new recipes for my food blog, A Cookable Feast. This weekend was scheduled to be just as busy, with a first birthday party on Saturday and a family Thanksgiving event on Sunday. But I was determined to fit some exploring in! So en route to the birthday party in Royal Oak Saturday, I stopped at Natalie’s Bakery, located in a strip mall on John R. near 13 Mile Road in Madison Heights.

Natalie’s had on my list for a while. I’d stumbled across it on Yelp, where reviewers had given it high praise, and I’m a sucker for quality baked goods (who isn’t?). And what a gem it is! It was hard not to get excited in that tiny bakery storefront, with its shelves crammed with delectable-looking bakery items: caramel-laced cakes, colorful French macaroons, pumpkin mousse-filled fried croissant squares. “Pumpkin mousse-filled fried croissant squares?” Yes, for real – and soooo good; I bought one, and it was as INSANE as I’d imagined it, all fried cinnamony dough and rich pumpkin-y mousse. You can see it in the photo of the bakery case above.

And then there was the bread.

The bread! I love a solid artisan loaf of bread – but again, who doesn’t? In fact, the bread was a big part of why I was at Natalie’s Bakery. I wanted to stop and get some loaves for the Thanksgiving stuffing recipe I’m preparing to create for A Cookable Feast this week. The selection didn’t disappoint. I decided on the rosemary garlic ciabatta bread and the seven-grain bread, both shown above. Both are excellent, especially the ciabatta bread with those distinct savory flavors. After being reminded of how satisfying fresh-baked bread is, I mused, why am I not stopping and getting handmade loaves of bread every week?

Bread gets a bad rap these days. But when it’s baked with fresh ingredients such as the ones Natalie’s uses – it prides itself on using organic and local sources whenever possible – I can’t see how it can be all that bad. These breads are echelons above the sorry processed loaves that dominate grocery store shelves.

31023 John R. Rd.
Madison Heights, MI 48017

www.nataliesbakery.net