Saturday, November 26, 2011

Our Winter Menu

We're bringing back some Classic Holiday Favorites and have added LOTS of new ones!
What's your favorite??

Cranberry Almond Cake
Sweet almond cake filled with a fresh cranberry compote and coated in almond buttercream

Gingerbread Drop Cookies
All the flavors of a gingerbread man rolled up into our little drops.

Russian Tea 'Cakes'
These little "snow balls" are filled with walnuts, our homemade candied orange peels and dusted with powdered sugar. We guarantee you can't eat just one!


Pumpkin Cheesecake (available through December)
Our classic cheesecake filling with a punch of pumpkin and spice over our gingerbread drop cookie crust.

Eggnog Cheesecake:
Eggnog flavored cheesecake resting on a crunchy cinnamon graham cracker crust.

Nutella Cheesecake:
Mimicking both the texture and taste of your favorite Ferrero Rocher candies, this cheesecake has a hefty layer of our Nutella infused cheesecake sitting on top of a nutty cookie crust. This cake is then enrobed in our rich chocolate ganache. Uh - yum!

Chai Latte Cheesecake:
All the flavors of a spicy masala chai with the creamy goodness of our cheesecake; sitting on top of a crunchy, twice baked vanilla cake crust (a.k.a. cake rusk)

**NEW**Grasshopper Pie Cheesecake:
Our take on the classic 1950's dessert, we infuse our classic cheesecake with natural mint and chocolate extracts giving it a slight green color. This cheesecake is served on top of our Triple Chocolate Cookie crust and garnished with crushed candy canes.

**NEW**Cranberry Almond Cheesecake:
Almond infused cheesecake with an almond candy crust topped with freshly made cranberry curd, toasted almonds and sparkling cranberries

**NEW**Caramel Hot Chocolate Cheesecake:
Rich, dense and creamy chocolate cheesecake resting on our chocolate graham cracker crust covered with salted caramel and a freshly made marshmallow.

**NEW**Cannoli Cheesecake:
Everything you would expect from a freshly filled cannoli...only in a cheesecake.
Our "cannoli cream" cheesecake filling (mini chocolate chips and all!) sits on top of a crust made of crushed cannoli shells; topped with candied orange peels.

*NEW**Red Velvet Cheesecake:
Keeping this one simple...Bright red in color, this light and airy cake is topped with a layer of white chocolate infused cheesecake and garnished with Red Velvet Cake crumbs.

Still looking for something else?  Get to our website for our full menu!

Small Business Saturday is TODAY!!

We are so very proud to be one of the many small businesses participating in this initiative designed to encourage holiday shoppers, like yourself, to patronize businesses that are small and local.

Sill need a little incentive to shop with us?
How about a 10% discount?

Place your holiday dessert order or any gift order with us today, 11/26 and receive an automatic 10% off*!

Just email us or call us (718-866-5333) TODAY!! 

REMEMBER!  Our cookies, loaf cakes and other select items can all be shipped nationwide!
Get in touch with us for more information.

*discount applies to orders placed on 11/26/11 with due dates through out the month of December 2011 to one or more locations.  Additional delivery or shipping fees may apply.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Fall Flavors 2011

*All flavors are available in full size (8"), personal size, and bitesize.

Caramel Apple Cheesecake (above left)

Our gingerbread drop cookie crust with vanilla infused cheesecake topped with apple cider caramel and caramel apple slices.

S'mores Cheesecake (above right)
A cocoa infused cheesecake covered in chocolate ganache and toasted marshmallow piled on top of our classic graham cracker crust.

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cheesecake (above left)
Yummy gingerbread drop cookie crust with pumpkin cheesecake topped with espresso infused whipped cream.

Peanut Butter & Jelly Cheesecake (above right)
A creamy peanut butter cheesecake - made with our homemade peanut butter - over a shortbread cookie crust topped with Fresh Strawberry Jam by Brooklyn’s Preserved.

Chai Latte Cheesecake (above left)
All the flavors of a spicy masala chai with the creamy goodness of our cheesecake sitting on top of a crunchy twice baked vanilla cake crust (also known as cake rusk)

Carrot Cake Cheesecake (above right)
Our dense carrot cake (ahem...Coney Cake) - filled with carrots, walnuts and raisins - topped with a creamy vanilla cheesecake and drizzled with our decadent white chocolate ganache.

Our Original Menu is also still available!  Click on the link below for a refresher...
Brooklyn Treat Shoppe Menu

*Above images are our personal sized cheesecakes

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Brooklyn Treat Shoppe presents....

If you’ve been a reader of my blog, you may have read my entry titled, “Why a Mason Jar?”.  If so, you're ahead of the game.  If not, check it out.  It gives you an explination of why our cookies are packaged in mason jars and what’s to come.
It’s hard for me to believe that the entry noted above was made almost a year ago to date.
So much has happened with Brooklyn Treat Shoppe since then but, it feels like it was just yesterday!
Since that entry, we made a major decision to slightly separate Brooklyn Treat Shoppe from it’s jamming sister, Brooklyn’s Preserved.  We’ve been buzzing about it for a while now and would like to officially introduce you to our sister brand….
We tested products for Brooklyn’s Preserved last summer.  It was such a hit, we felt we needed to separate it from Brooklyn Treat Shoppe since it’s completely different from our sculpted cakes and dessert delivery service.  
However, the premise is still the same, if you want it, call us and we will bring it to you!

Brooklyn’s Preserved started when my family learned just how interested I was in the art of preserving fresh produce.   
This past February, I went with my Mom and Grandfather to Canada to visit my Great Aunt Mary and Great Uncle Patsy.  They both settled in Canada in the 1950’s after taking a boat across the Atlantic from Italy.  
Uncle Patsy & Aunt Mary (Grandpa's sister) - Not too long after their ship left them in Halifax.
While we were there, my Great Uncle Felice and Great Aunt Adeli also visited.  

Grandpa's brother Felice and his wife Adeli.

I was the youngest person in the house and was able to pick the brains of generations of immigrants from my family history.
We talked about family traits, their boat ride from Italy but, more importantly, we talked about food.
At the very mention of marinated mushrooms, my Great Uncle Felice sprang from his chair - a spry 77 years young, put on his coat and said, “Come’on, lessago….we gonna get somma mushrooms anda showa you ‘ow to makeit.”  And, he wasn't kidding.

We went straight to the market, picked up some mushrooms, worked together as a family and just a short amount of time later, we had these beautiful pickled mushrooms floating in oil...

Aunt Mary, showing me how it's done.
Aunt Adeli sorting out the mushrooms.
Grandpa (caught in a rare moment) helping in  the kitchen?!?!
Aunt Mary refused to let anyone do this part. 

They all laughed at me as I sneaked into the basement to take photos of their Cantina (or canning cellar) but, how could I pass up on something so beautiful!

You see, they never wrote any of this stuff down.  
All of the recipes were in their heads but, now that they are all getting older, I felt it was important to document these things before they were lost for good.
For the last year of so I've been collecting family recipes in a hand written cook book.  That trip in February filled my family cook book up to the brim.

The main premise of Brooklyn’s Preserved is that we’re preserving these family secrets and decades of a great love for food.
In the end, I see Brooklyn Treat Shoppe and Brooklyn’s Preserved living happily ever after in one place but, for right now; we’ll work together as a family - co-marketing and co-branding wherever possible.

As with anything else that comes out of our kitchen, we take our time so we can get it just right.
All of our produce is carefully sourced while we create partnerships to help support America's Family Owned Farms – more on this in another entry.
Each product is slow cooked with hand-picked, farm fresh fruits.  They are always free of additional pectin and low in additional sugars.
We want you to taste the beauty of the fruit in each and every jar.
We recognize that we're preserving the beauty of nature so; you can appreciate locally grown produce throughout the year.
Share with us these family secrets….enjoy Brooklyn’s Preserved!
We just finished making this year’s jars of Strawberry Jam and Strawberry Mint Lemonade.  They will be ready for sale as soon as we get the labels on them…We’ll definitely keep you posted!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Coney Cake

Most folks who know me, know that I'm a pretty passionate person.  This applies to little things like finding a penny on heads or ice cream cone shaped earrings but, it especially applies to big things like my business, baking and basically all things food.

If there's one thing that's not food related that I'm super passionate about, without a doubt, it's Coney Island.

Coney Island has been a reoccurring theme in my life (and in this blog).
I always feel happier when I make a visit.  I'm excited to introduce it to friends who have never been and revel in taking folks on the Cyclone for the first time!
It's a place so rich with history and personality and I'm always looking to learn more about how it all started.

Coney Island is not actually an island...but it once was. There was a small creek between Coney Island and the mainland of Brooklyn that is now filled by landfill, making Coney "Island" a peninsula. This was fairly obvious to me but, as my Brooklynite curiosity grew, I wanted to learn more about the first half of the name.

What the heck is a Coney?!?

Some of you who aren't from NY may know a "coney" to be a hot dog.  That's just weird to me but, I guess I get it's reference to Nathan's - where the hot dog really became famous.
Most of us who are from NY, already know that most spots with weird names are either named after the explorer who found the spot or the name is pulled from some derivative of a Native American name for the the land.  Coney Island is neither.

Once called "Rabbit Island" by the Dutch settlers, the island was known for it's abundance of rabbits and eventually was a place of sport where hunting for the animals was greatly popular.

There are disputes that the island we now call Coney Island received it's name for a number of other reasons but, I like this one.  I like the thought that the place I am driven to as "The People's Playground" was once a place where little bunnies played and roamed freely.

Because of this and our need to place homage on all things Brooklyn, I decided it would be really cool to toast Coney Island's history by naming our Carrot Cake after this very special little "island".

If you haven't already noticed, our Carrot Cake has been on our menu since day one as our "Coney Cake".  Cute, huh?
Get it?  Carrots?  Rabbits?  Get it??
[this image is our carrot loaf - the cake is traditionally covered with frosting as noted below]

Our Coney Cake is a moist cake, dense with carrots (raisins and walnuts are optional).  We fill the cake with our White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting and top it with hand sculpted sugar carrots. (It's also available in cupcakes!!)

Honestly, it's super adorable and friggin' tasty!  So good, even the Easter Bunny can't resist! ;)

We think our Coney Cake is the PERFECT addition to your Easter dessert table so, get it touch and place your Easter order ASAP!!

Coney Island opened their rides for the 2011 season this past weekend!!  Make sure you get there to experience the magic first hand!

To learn more about Coney Island, check out the following links:

**We sincerely apologize to all of our Jewish friends who obey the laws of Passover.  We hope to have a fancy passover treat to offer you next year!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Dusting off the blogger button....

It's been a very long time since I dusted off this blog thing - way too long!
The last few months have been more insane than usual but, well worth it!  I have a lot to share but, for the sake of not overwhelming you with all the juicy details (and giving a bit of a teaser) I'll spread all of the awesome updates across a few entries.

So, where've I been??
Well, when I dropped off the face of the earth in August, I had started a new day job.
I spent a few months working very closely with Jacques Torres -Mr. Chocolate himself - at his flagship location in Hudson Square and on the Upper East Side on Amsterdam Ave.  It was a fantastic opportunity that I just couldn't pass up.
Not only is Chef Torres one of the world's top pastry chefs but, he started his chocolate empire as a small Mom-n-Pop business in DUMBO, Brooklyn.  I learned so much from him about owning and operating a small NYC confectionery business in both front and back of house and am grateful for every single second I was able to pick his brain.

I stopped working with Jacques in December to get ready for the holiday season at BTS.  I also wanted to take some time to apply all the lessons I learned to my business - wrangling in the focus of Brooklyn Treat Shoppe, our menu and all of our upcoming products.

I then turned my focus toward local sourcing.
As a small business starting with very little to no start up funds, we didn't have the opportunity to get our ingredients from all of the places we really wanted to.
My ultimate intention is for us to eventually graduate to a place where we are hyper informed of where our ingredients come from.  Every day, we get closer and closer to this attaining goal.
Currently, I'm very proud to say we are now making a good amount of our base ingredients from scratch and have sourced all of our produce from local farmers. (...more to come on this soon!)
To drive that point home, we think you should know, we are currently using 100% NY dairy and have replaced the commercial peanut butter we were using with our small batch in-house peanut butter!

We're growing more and more each day and have some really great surprises in store for you in the coming months.  I can't wait to tell you all about it!

But, right now, we need to focus on the holiday at hand....Easter.
Keep your eyes peeled for a more steady stream of blogs and remember to check out our cake photos on Facebook.
Talk soon,

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

One little happy...

Slowly, but surely, we are growing. 
A few weeks ago, we officially hired our first intern!!  Woo Hoo!!

I would like to warmly welcome Marita to the Brooklyn Treat Shoppe family.

Marita is amazing.  She is, not only, willing to selflessly give her time to us on her days off from her "real job" but, in the short time she's been working with us, she's taught me so much about Indian culture, foods, spices and positivity.

Fascinatingly enough, Marita grew up on a coconut farm in India. She can build a hut out of banana leaves, make her own rope, start a fire with a rock and make kick-ass chai! 

If ever stranded on a dessert island, I hope to have Marita with me. ;P

Her stories of India are incredible and bring a whole new perspective into the kitchen. She makes me realize that when things go wrong, I can just smile through it.  I like that.

Best of all, Marita has been helping our production line move sooooooooo much faster!

Thank you, Marita, for everything you give to me and Brooklyn Treat Shoppe and WELCOME to our family!

Me, Marita and Chris @ Mr. Cyclone Contest in Coney Island 8/7/10

While Brooklyn Treat Shoppe continues to grow, I want to take a moment to thank all of my friends - new and old alike. Each and every one of you have given so much - with only BTS's success in mind.

There are a few of you who hang out in the wings just to listen to me vent about all the things that frustrate me about doing most of this alone and there are those of you who gussy up in your BTS shirts to sell my product as if it were your own.

To each and every one of you, I send out a gigantic THANK YOU.

All of your help and support has made me realize that I am NOT doing this alone and this isn't MY product. It's ours.

This is exactly why I say this is a "family owned and operated" business.

While my blood relatives do a great deal to make the gears of BTS move smoothly (and I am beyond grateful to have their help!), you really don't have to be my blood in order to be my family.

It makes me beam to hear all of you push and promote Brooklyn Treat Shoppe as a product you seriously believe in.

Your support is what keeps me going when quitting isn't an option.  Each of you hold a special place in my heart.


Monday, June 21, 2010

"Why a Mason Jar??"

Ahhh - I've been asked this so many times. Everyone wants to know why we package our cookies in mason jars - Here's a little history....

Growing up, I never really believed I had a huge sense of where I came from - culturally.

It was only when I reached high school or even college that I realized just how much Italian culture was infused into my personality through out my life. And, of course, being an Italian American, many signs of my culture are expressed through food.

It's only in the last 10 years of my life that I've realized - not everyone has a room in the basement called "the wine cellar" and most people don't have capacola curing somewhere in the house. I've also learned that most wine bottles have labels on them and weren't made in someones backyard. However, in my family (and most Brooklyn Italian families) all of this is completely normal.

So, back in the day, we used to have traditional Sunday dinner as a family. If you're not familiar with the term, this is when every person in the family gets together - usually at Grandma's house and eats crazy amounts of pasta and meat while speaking as loudly as they possibly can.

As everyone's gotten older and busier, this tradition has drifted out of our weekly schedule but, the one thing that stays every time we do get together is the sauce...Tomato Sauce - some call it gravy or red gravy but as far as I can remember, we called it sauce.

The stuff is like liquid gold. I could eat a whole loaf of bread before dinner's served just standing over the pot as it cooks - dipping small pieces of bread in for "just a taste" - Grandma usually smacks me, shouting "get outta hea" before I can eat more than 2 pieces....sigh.

Before that liquid gold makes it to the pot and all of those bright red tomatoes have a chance to carmalize, they would always come from a mason jar.

Most people buy their tomotoes for sauce from the grocery store in a can. Not us. We make our own.

When I was a kid, we would all gather at my grandparent's house for a day or two in August/September - tomato season. We'd go to the basement where there would be a sparkling red sea of tomatos. 

Bushels and bushels of 'em already cleaned and set out on tables to dry. We would all grab a knife and a cutting board and get to canning, or "jarring", our tomatoes for the year.

It was a long, messy and hot process - usually involving a whole lot of boiling water - but, it was totally worth it when it came time to make that sauce. 

This annual ritual is something I will never forget.

As I look back, it's not just the tomatoes that were in those mason jars. Each member of my grandfather's family seems to have one or two things they specialize in when it comes to preserved food. One of my Great Aunts makes preserved peaches that are to die for while another makes preserved eggplant salad and so on.

There were seven children in my grandfather's family - back in "the old country". They grew up on a farm and ran the local grocery. They were poor and had to make due with what they were given.

Today, those acts of necessity have turned into honored traditions that I pay homage to with my cookie packaging.

But, it doesn't end with our cookies. Looking at these mason jars everyday inspired me to go back to my roots with Brooklyn Treat Shoppe as an outlet.

So, needless to say, I'm crazy excited and super proud to bring you the first of many preserved items now available on our menu!

....and, our "Fresh Strawberry Jam" is just the beginning! 

With the summer officially here and local farms overflowing with super fresh fruits, we're hustling to get these old family recipes on our market tables. 

NEW Brooklyn Treat Shoppe Jam is made with local fruit and is slow cooked in small batches.
We watch very closely as the fruit slowly thickens over a low flame.  You'll never find additional pectin or preservatives in these products.
This time consuming process is totally worth it - just like the tomatos.

Jam Flavors currently available are:

Fresh Strawberry Jam
Blueberry Citrus Spread
Olde Time Apple Butter

NEW Brooklyn Treat Shoppe Artisanal Fruit Concentrates are excellent to have on hand when you're having a BBQ or get together.
Add water, to taste, and in seconds, you have a refreshing summer beverage.  Everyone will think it took you hours to make it. 
Get creative - add seltzer for a spritzer or some booze to make things even more interesting!

Artisanal Fruit Concentrates currently available:

Hand Squeezed Lemon-Limeade
Strawberry Mint Lemonade

Our concentrates are made with local fruit when possible and are never ever frozen. All the citrus is hand squeezed with just a touch of sugar added to sweeten the deal.

In the next week or so, we will be updating our website to include these new items on our menu. 

However, readers of this blog can get a sneak peek this week!! 
We're stocked with cases of preserves and heading to the markets.

Find our table June 24th through June 27th at St. Bernadette's Spring Festival - 13th Ave & 82nd st. Brooklyn, NY 11228


Be sure to visit us Sunday, 6/27 at the Kings County General Store at Southpaw in Park Slope, Brooklyn - 125 Fifth Ave. Brooklyn, NY 11217. 

Kings County General Store is a monthly market with Brooklyn based designers, artists, food companies and shops. 

We want to add this to our regular market schedule so, please stop by and show us your support!

I hope you enjoyed this bit of family history. 
We have a lot planned for Summer 2010,  so stay in touch!

Ciao for now,

Friday, June 4, 2010

A day in the life of small business...

As business picks up, things tend to get crazier. This is a good thing......this is a good thing. I have to keep reminding myself.

I'm exhausted. But, it's the good kind of tired that puts me in a good mood and makes me smile when I think of all I've accomplished through out the day.

My day usually begins with a messenger bag full of cookie jars on my back and a cases of mason jars dangling from each of the handle bars of my bike as I make cookie deliveries around the neighborhood. From there, I'll head straight to the baking supply shop (luckily there's one right in my neck of the woods!) or, I'll hit the grocery store for some last minute odds and ends.

My favorite days are when I get to head to the local farmer's markets.
Since I was a kid, I've always loved the amazing colors and smells of the farmer's market. Picking out fruits and veggies for the week's confections is more like a vacation for me.

Next, I'm off to bake - which has actually become the easier part of my days. My youngest brother, Chris, has been in town so, it's nice to have him and Michael in the kitchen together - cracking jokes and being jerks. Not only do they make super stressfull days more fun to deal with, they work really hard to get cookies packaged, dishes washed and cheesecakes cut. (Thanks again guys!)

That's it, right?? The day's over. Uh, no silly, guess again.

This is when it feels like the day has only just begun. I suit up in my BTS t-shirt to events.
Sometimes we make the delivery and that's it but, usually, there is more to it than that. We love our customers and many have become friends. Lots of times, we are invited to stay for the festivities or, we're asked to "work the table". Lately, we've been doing lots of concession work and local markets so, that means, me, mom or someone else has to "man (or woman) the table" for sales, questions and conversations.

This is really my favorite part of the day. When I see someone smile - or giggle - because of something I created, it makes me smile and, smiling is seriously contagious. That is the biggest reward anyone can get from a day's work.

I've learned the hard way that this is kind of how it works when your business is starting from the ground up - You have to find a way to be everywhere at one time. I tend to feel like a one woman show that has a run time of 24 hours but, the helping hands and hearts of friends and family is a very welcomed reminder that I'm not in this alone.

Rarely do I sleep. So, the state of delirium has become a natural one for me. However, I often think of where Brooklyn Treat Shoppe was a year ago.
I was working out of the tiny kitchen in my shoebox apartment making sculpted cakes - now we call it CakeArt. Never did I imagine just of how different things would be only a year later.

I look forward to the day when I can tell someone who is willing to listen about how "I walked through snow and ice with two cases of mason jars on each arm just to make a dollar"....Betcha they won't believe me anyway.

Ahhhh - one day....

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Recipe Block??

Sometimes, I find myself in a bit of a freeze. I wonder if I've exhausted my imagination and am no longer able to create new and exciting flavors.
This is part of the challenge of running a kitchen alone. I rarely have someone to bounce ideas off of and so I begin to feel that I've hit a block...a recipe block.

This week was one of those times. I have been trying to dream up new flavors for the menu and add some more spunk to what Brooklyn Treat Shoppe already offers. But, I kept tripping over the same cliché "classic" flavors. Nothing new was coming to mind and I was starting to get really frustrated.

I had a meeting scheduled with the players of Theatre Askew's Youth Performance Experience (TAYPE). While I was excited about the meeting, I was (honestly) a little apprehensive about what I could offer them since I was smack in the middle of this "recipe block".

The production they're currently working on is titled "Home/Away". Where they explore the question - "When you think of home, what feelings, associations, and memories arise for you?" 
When I saw the video trailer and read more about the play, I decided, Brooklyn Treat Shoppe HAS to be involved.

I work so closely with the concept of home in my day to day. The concept of “home” is important to me – personally and to my business. In dreaming up the flavor concepts for our menu, I always have to realize that “home” is different for everyone. So, naturally, not only am I a fan of this production’s message, I wanted to give to their community and help them spread their message.

With the support of the directors and playwright, Brooklyn Treat Shoppe will be selling at the concession during their performance dates (May 26th through the 30th)**.
I wanted to make this a sensory interactive experience for their audience.  The flavors for sale on our table to be a nod to their characters lifestyle and/or culture.

When I explained my idea to them their eyes lit up as they imagined what flavors bring them back to what they considered home.  These kids blew me away!

Since I come from an Italian/American household, it's tough for me to think outside of that cultural box when it comes to flavors of home. These young people brought me into their homes and into their lives for just a short period of time and allowed me to see what flavors make them the happiest.

Some of them responded with an over the top and highly intense memory of flavors their mom's used to put together and others really had to dig hard to find the food that brings them back to a special place. This was just a small glimpse into how very different home is for each of us.  I walked out of my meeting with them totally inspired. They completely changed my outlook on flavors in a matter of moments.

I'm absolutely looking forward to working with everyone who is involved with TAYPE! I look forward to seeing the production and getting a complete look into these character’s homes.

A special thanks goes out to Lambie, Eleet, Luis, Andrea, MariaIsabel and Titi for getting me out of the block and allowing me to face full frontal flavors! You are all really amazing people.  Thank you.

Keep your eyes peeled for our newest flavors inspired by what each of them feels is a taste of home.
Tickets for these performances are FREE.  So, get on it!
See you at the theater!

**Brooklyn Treat Shoppe will be donating a portion of our profits from these events to the future of TAYPE.