WLW: Fatties Bakery

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Number 1) how do you not love that name??! It just speaks to me. It’s like, we’re not f-ing around here, we’re callin’ em as we sees em. Number 2) good thing I love the name, bc if I lived in London, Fattie would also be my new nickname based entirely on my new physique thanks to Fatties Bakery. (Fattie with an “ie” not a “y.”  A “y” is so slumpy, an “ie” is like Hattie, someone you’d invite to tea).

This week’s Wish List Wednesday: Fatties Bakery. A bakery with one main ingredient: salted caramel. Whether individually wrapped in morsels, generously sandwiched between cookies, hidden in pockets within brownies, oozing over the top of a bundt in lieu of frosting, or transmitted directly to your bloodstream via IV (jk, jk, but maybe??), salted caramel is the main attraction.

Fatties’ creations are only sold at various markets and pop-ups around London, such as the Druid Street Market (every Saturday from 10am – 4pm). And when next I’ve popped over to Londontowne, you’ll be sure to catch me there. What will I be eating? Definitely tahini caramel/Valrhona chocolate cookie sandwiches. DEFINITELY. Also, most likely, some goldmine brownies and/or (AND) snickers cookies. To wash it all down, should I be there on a blustery day, I’ll be having a nice cup of salted caramel hot chocolate finished with a rim of piped marshmallow. And let’s face it, it’s almost always blustery in London, so I will no doubt be getting that hot chocolate.

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Please someone go and eat these for me. Actually, I kinda feel like these could be shippable, so please someone go and send these to me.

*all photos by @fattiesbakery

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PSA: eat this now

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CHICAGO. Stop what you’re doing and go get this honey walnut caramel shortbread bar immediately. At Revival Food Hall from Mindy Segal (of Hot Chocolate fame). It’s like an instant, cosy holiday party in your mouth – even if you’re not quite ready for the holidays yet. It is nutty, buttery, fall-apart-melt-in-your-mouth-keep-coming-back-for-more perfect. Also, it’s about 7 inches long so you can even share it and stay greedy at the same time. #winwin #yourewelcome

treats for all seasons, treats for all moods

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What to do when it’s technically fall but it still feels like summer? What to do when it’s cold when you leave your house but hot by the time you get to your car? What to do when you want chocolate but your friend wants caramel and your other friend wants marshmallows? If ever there were first world problems…..I’m here to solve them! Or rather, Katherine Anne Confections to the rescue!!

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This tiny Logan Square shop has got you covered. Literally. Entering the shop, you’re basically enrobed by the chocolate cloud that fills the air. They are famous for their drinking chocolate – hot or cold. We’re not talking hersheysnesquikswissmiss. At Katherine Anne, you actually choose your chocolate strength (40% milk, 58% semisweet, 72% bittersweet, or 85% super dark) to be topped with a scoop of whipped cream and floating chocolate pearls. (I know that looks like ice cream – nope, it’s fresh Kilgus Farm whipped cream buoyed by frothy liquid chocolate!)

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Ok, on to the hand-dipped truffles. They focus on local and organic ingredients and adapt their menu to the seasons. On my last visit I had: a pomegranate/blueberry/basil (tart and fruity but with a savory basil twist – perfect summer flavor), a goat cheese and walnut (the cheesecake of truffles), and a Manhattan (an elevated whisky ball). On my last visit I also wanted: a peanut butter coconut curry, a passionfruit ginger, and a raspberry elderflower, but alas I had to save room for caramels. Caramels like orange tarragon hazelnut – why has this not been done before? Caramels like apple cider caraway that tasted like crème brûléed rye bread. Caramels like salted bacon that was all at once smoky and buttery, salty but sweet, smooth with bits of crisp bacon. HOW DID THEY DO IT???

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And finally the marshmallows, which truth be told I didn’t have bc I wasn’t in a marshmallowy mood bc it was too sticky outside and also I don’t normally get crazy excited about eating marshmallows because there are far too many overly gelatinous disappointments out there in the confectionary world that just blop around in your stomach all day. However, I WILL be returning for Katherine Anne’s version because no doubt they are wonderful (vanilla bean w black pepper?) and obvs the best topping for a flight of hot chocolates (hot chocolate marshmallow ON TOP of hot chocolate? Wut.) *side note: why hasn’t anyone made a marshmallow mattress yet? THAT I could get excited about.

 

the most wonderful time of the year

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I woke up in a *slight* panic Friday morning thinking, “when do Girl Scout cookies start??” I did some quick investigating, and lo and behold: they started that day. For real. Call it my dessert 6th sense.

Now, I have recently temporarily relocated and I don’t know anyone I don’t know anyone with Girl Scout-aged kids. Since a fundamental part of the GS Honor Code is “to help people at all times,” (and I can only imagine they now issue a ‘Technology’ badge), they have blessedly added a tool to their website that allows you to search for cookie pop-up sales based on zip code. Perfect for me/you/anyone needing a cookie fix whilst commuting through an unfamiliar cookie zone.

Ok. Now that we all have our cookies, let’s address the elephant(s) in the room. I know I usually only post nice things (who wants to hear about gross desserts? not me), but you’ve got your nice thing for the day, and I just can’t stand by silently any longer:

  1. Cookie size. They. Are. Smaller. No doubt about it. And this is not my adult-sized eyes playing optical tricks on me. Much like the shrinking ‘fun size’ candy bar tease at Halloween, they aren’t fooling me. If you are going to decrease the cookie size, you’d better increase the serving size (not mentioning – or maybe I am – the doubling of cookie prices along with the reduction in cookie size….ahem) I’ll say that the recommended serving of 2 cookies should probs be upped to 4 cookies. 3.5 minimum…..but who wants a half-eaten cookie laying around? No one. Therefore, serving size = 4 cookies.

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2. Samoas vs. Caramel deLites. What’s going on here? I know (and now you know) that one of two bakeries bake your GS cookies. The name of your cookies depends on who is doing your baking, and this is based on location. (If Little Brownie Bakers is supplying your area, you’ll get Samoas and Tagalongs. If ABC Bakers is doing the baking, you’ll get Caramel deLites and Peanut Butter Patties. #themoreyouknow)

Names aside, my real beef is with the amount or caramel being used, or lack thereof, as the case may be. When my cookie supplier first changed (let’s say circa 1991), I thought: “Caramel deLites is a dumb name. But it looks like they might be using more caramel, so I’ll go with it.” But long gone are the days of caramel blobs pooling in the plastic trays. Now my inappropriately named Caramel deLite is barely chewy. I can basically SEE the cookie through the thin veil of caramel/coconut/chocolate. Not ok. Caramel deLetDown.

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Rant over. Cookie eating commencing.

 

 

Good Ol’ Garrett’s

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Before you start thinking that I’m hawking some stale airport tins, let me remind you that Garrett’s started in Chicago in 1949, and they have been making their popcorn fresh throughout the day in their shops ever since. (and then they might send some out to be sold via airports….and I have no idea how they run their shops in Vegas/New York/Atlanta/or wherevs…) And so, fyi, I shall be speaking solely on behalf of the original Chicago shops:

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You don’t need a map to find a Garrett’s shop, you can just follow your nose. Like I was actually walking down some block last week and didn’t realize there was a location there, but I smelled the heavenly scent and followed it (much like a caramely Pepe le Pew cartoon) straight to its doors. This scent is so powerful that it cuts through the city smells of exhaust, sewers, weary walking-the-streets-all-day tourists, department store perfume samples. Really.

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The cases/counters filled with fresh popcorn are huge and you’ll have to resist the urge to want to jump into them like a ball pit at Chuck E Cheese. Here’s what you order: a Chicago mix (technically referred to as the “Garrett Mix”) – it’s half CheeseCorn mixed with half CaramelCrisp and It. Is. Great. Golden sharp cheddary glow complementing buttery brown sugary crunch. Embrace the power of salty/sweet.

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Oh my, Oh My!

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Oh my.

The Oh My! Caramel Pie from Beatrix is aptly named. (also printing ‘holy shit’ in the menu would not be classy)

It is a huge wedge accompanied by an equally enormous “dollop” of fresh whipped cream. It is rich and smooth, sweet and subtly burnt – like the flavor from the top of a crème brûlée was fused into the custard part of the crème brûlée then stiffened up to make a tall slice – able to hold its own, but backed by a barely-there shortbread crust.

It is a pie to save room for. To linger with conversation over. That tricks you into thinking you’ll never finish and you should just take it home and have it for breakfast, but then, oh my, it’s somehow disappeared.

*and i’ll be coming back for: fluffy angel food muffins and just-asking-for-a-photo-shoot emoji cookies.

Beatrix Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Fall Priorities

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#1 fall priority: stuff your face with as much apple/pumpkin deliciousness as possible. Preferably in an orchard setting (bc green footprints and rustling leaves).

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When in Central Illinois, this #1 task can be easily accomplished by going to Curtis Orchard. Apple picking, pumpkin patches, petting zoo, photo op galore, and most importantly: bakery on the premises.

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Cider donuts (glazed or rolled in sugar), apple fritters (take it home and heat it up!), apple pies (full, mini or by the slice….they think of everything), caramel apples, fruit cobblers, all the butters, all the kitsch. (also all the babies plopped atop 100lb pumpkins and all the college groups taking selfies….you’ve been warned – but the treats! they’re worth it! promise!!)

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There is a vague “Wizard of Oz” theme here with the odd country bumpkin sprinkled in for good measure. (the welcoming gent above is named ‘Old Pumpkin Joe,’ and yes, he talks)

And just when you think it couldn’t get any better: you’ve picked your own pumpkin (bring a box cutter), you have a bag of fresh-off-the-tree-huge apples (use the free red wagons to haul everything around), you have a pie/donut/fritter/caramel apple/ALL OF THE ABOVE…… you can now order some cider. If it’s chilly, get hot cider. If you’re just thirsty bc you ate too many donuts, get reg cider. But if you’re overheated from all the pumpkin picking/pie hauling, get the cider slushie. Then cozy on up to Ol’ Pumpkin Joe and be so happy that it’s fall!!

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*if in Southern California, might I recommend Snow-Line Orchard – the ONLY place for cider donuts (get your own bag, do not share!) – a healthy dose of falltimey in the middle of the mountains/desert

*if in Connecticut/NYC, suggested bakery/orchard: March Farm – please note: they also grow the best peaches you will ever taste – fact.

*if Central Illinois is a bit too central/you live in Chicago and can’t handle a 2.5hr drive but a 1.5 hr drive seems doable: go to Garwood Orchard in LaPorte, IN. Apple picking, cider sipping, venison beef-stick chomping (a nice pie palate cleanser)