Friday, April 05, 2013

Warm Sugar Bakery bakes me so happy :)

Some tasty treats from The Artisan's Kitchen Project
You know when you hear about a place for the first time, and you tell yourself, yeah, I should definitely check that place out? And then you hear about it for 890th time and you think - this is getting ridiculous? That was me and Warm Sugar Bakery, until today.

I knew there was a place in Hellertown that made cupcakes. I'm all about cupcakes, so that was not a hard sell. Then I saw their whoopie pies at The Burger Shack in Whitehall. Then I started following @warmsugarbakery on Twitter, and @warmsugarbakery followed me back! Then Warm Sugar cupcakes started popping up at events I attended. And finally, I read that Carrie Havranek and John Toner started making their sweets in something called the Artisan's Kitchen Project, headquartered at... Warm Sugar Bakery.

A birthstone cupcake - diamond, for April! 
I finally sent an email to Amy, the brains behind the operation. I must see this place for myself. Since she is a very busy woman, and I guess I am, too, we picked a date five weeks away. A week later, I opened my Sunday Morning Call and saw... a huge feature on The Artisan's Kitchen Project! Scooped by Diane Stoneback, but not deterred in the least, I learned more about the project and was even more excited to see it for myself.

Today, as I walked in the door at 1308 Main Street in Hellertown, I was greeted by one of the artisans, testing a recipe for this weekend's Crepe Crusaders Cafe. I met Amy and forced her to sit down and have a cup of tea.

I won't cover all that Diane Stoneback wrote about so well. Just click the link above. What I will tell you is that Amy and Peter Wardle are not Trend-Setters. They are Trend-Spotters. And extremely thorough. So even though Diane depicts the Project as very sweet (see: naming your business after your kid and conceiving of a business at the school bus stop), this is serious business.

Coming soon - Doodlebug Cookies
Most of the Project's participants have full-time jobs and/or kids at home. They had an idea and needed commercial kitchen space to test recipes, develop a marketing plan and incubate a business. But fear not: these bakers are no amateurs (anymore). The "birthstone" cupcake (pictured above) sparkles like a blingy diamond, and tastes light and lemony. Worthy of a birthday present! A sweet surprise in the center literally took the cake. I tasted Snickers fudge, whst a candy bar would taste like if the Snickers bar hadn't sat on a warehouse shelf for half a year before you bit into it. I had a two-bite cake truffle that was a two bites of coconutty heaven. And I ate a chocolate chip cookie so chewy and crispy at the same time that it made me nostalgic for a glass of milk and a front porch swing.  I'm writing this between doing a thousand crunches, lunges and squats, but it was so worth it.

A few of the Project's participants are already collaborating. You'll find granola made in the kitchen inside a special crepe. One of the newest participants, a vegan baker, will be baking vegan cupcakes and topping them with Warm Sugar's (already vegan) icing. Warm Sugar experimented with baking using Project-made Freckle Face Fudge (oops, fail) and is toying with some other tasty pairing ideas. Amy looks forward to seeing where each of the Project's participants takes their ventures. Some may open their own shops, others may want to sell their product wholesale locally and nationally. And who knows, someday, if the Lehigh Valley's municipal leaders ever change the crazy limitations they put on small business owners, maybe we'll see a cupcake truck (a girl can dream). I'm going to keep an eye on Amy and Peter - I have a feeling they'll be spotting the next trend and capitalizing on it long before the rest of us catch on.

You can visit them on Facebook, but it's not nearly as tasty as visiting in person. Go any Friday between 12-5 or Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and experience The Crepe Crusaders Cafe, offering a full menu of crepey goodness, and take home a variety box of Artisan Kitchen Project goodies.

1 comment:

  1. Warm Sugar makes great cupcakes and I love the decorating party. I did that for my birthday last year and adults and kids both had fun decorating cupcakes :)