Raspberry Yumtart @ The Lantern

Let me tell you, I have been hunting down these elusive babies for over a semester now.

Actually, my friend Dan (Check out his cereal reviews and dish worthy tweets) and I have been tirelessly searching (around our chaotic schedules) for these home made, loved filled Pop Tart style pastries created by Rise Grand Rapids, a local bakery in Grand Rapids, MI.

So many links already and we’re only toe-deep into this post. You’re welcome!

Rise, unfortunately, does not have its own bakery location, but instead delivers all kinds of made from scratch,vegan, soy and gluten free, ingredient conscious goodies to local cafes and hangouts around GR. Seriously, even if you’re not into bakery goods (who are you?!), just go take a look at their photography of it all. Both whimsical and delicious!

Finally, at the end of a Wednesday of what seemed like a wild and fast paced week, Dan and I spotted it. We were walking from a networking event and decided to stop in and have a quick cup of coffee at Lantern and perhaps get a little bit more work done when we saw a rosy-mauve frosted tart in their pastry box. We weren’t even seeking it out! Since it was later in the evening I assumed much of their bakery items would be scooped up by now.

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I picked up a house brew and restrained myself to just one Yum Tart. Although I certainly wanted to take home a few, they were priced at $4.00 each, and I still needed dinner. For that price I wish they were a little denser or larger, but really the size is fine. Hopefully over time the price of these will go down, even if just to $3.50.

Rise’s website mentions flavors such as strawberry, blueberry, chocolate, and cherry, but I’ve spotted new flavors popping up on their Instagram like this raspberry one, strawberry lemonade, and blueberry lemonade flavors. I’m looking forward to the possible flavors to come- brown sugar and cinnamon? Chai or espresso? Maybe even a sweet and savory herb tart…

Anyways, this little pocket didn’t let us down. Aesthetically, all of the flavors of Yum Tart’s make my eyes and heart happy.

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“It’s like a Pop Tart that went to art school,” – Dan Goubert, March 2017

Let’s break this tart into three acts-

The frosting on top of the tart was unique- lightly sweet, and surprisingly lemony and fruity. I really enjoyed the coloring on this flavor as well- no artificial bright red dyes here.

The crust of the pastry was buttery and flaky, pulling through where Pop Tart’s fall short. The edges were really perfect, golden brown and a little crunchy. When dunked into hot coffee it keeps its integrity while absorbing some of the coffee flavor.

The filling was real raspberry puree, full of seeds and that beautiful deep red color. You can tell the filling is not just some sugary jam because of its mix of tartness and super sweetness from the different ripeness of the berries. The texture was more on the chewy side than jelly. Again, I wish there would be bit more here to really add some weight to the pastry, but the amount inside balanced well with the crust and sweet frosting. Altogether reminiscent of late spring time.

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So this first Yum Tart has only fueled our quest to find these guys around town, and I hope to have a chance to try every flavor eventually. Here’s a list of where Rise delivers on what days if you’re interested in checking them out too:

Ferris Coffee (Winter Ave) // Monday thru Saturday at 7:30am

Lantern Coffee // Monday thru Sunday at 7:45am

Ferris Coffee (Trust Building) // Monday thru Saturday at 8am

Sparrows Coffee // Monday thru Sunday at 8:30am

Global Infusion // Mondays, Fridays, & Saturdays at 9am

Lightfast Coffee Bar // Fridays & Saturdays at 9am

Relish Green Grocer // Saturdays at 9am

 

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Bagels @ Big Apple Bagels

This weeks post is very close to my breakfast-loving heart. This weeks post is all about

BAGELS!

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Before I begin, yes, I make and serve bagels for a living. Yes, its the best job I’ve ever had. And yes, you’re lucky enough to get to see the backstage of a bagel’s lifespan, as taken by me.

Big Apple Bagels on Lake Michigan Drive in Grand Rapids Michigan has anywhere from 24-27 or so different kinds of bagels every day. Each of these kinds of bagels are made in a unique process with special recipes, by hand, every week. No, BABS does not get shipments of frozen dough from a wholesaler- they make it every day by hand using tried and true passed down bagel magic. (skills in baking sorcery are required to work here).  The same is true of the cream cheese, muffins, and any other baked goods. It’s hard to be bored when there is so much breakfast magic to make!

    Here is a simplified collage of the birth of a bagel (in this case, Tomato Basil). First, the ingredients are measured and poured together into a massive mixer. Once the dough has been mixed and kneaded for some time, the slab of dough is tossed onto a table and cut into portions. These portions are stretched out and fed into what I call a Bagel Transformer, where it goes through a process of being portioned and cut down again into small blocks. The machine then takes these blocks through another part and dough logs are formed and spun out onto a platter. From here, the baker takes each bagel and touches them up to make sure they are perfectly shaped. The dough is placed onto boards and covered for specific amounts of time until they are ready to be rolled into the cooler. After rising in the cooler for 20 minutes, the dough is ready to be baked!

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    Dough goes through an interesting rising and falling process once its living in the cooler. The first day the dough may be standard or smaller in size, but the next day and the day after that, the dough expands and becomes bigger and fluffier. After that, the dough slowly begins to deflate. This is why bagels arent’t always giant and fluffy or small and perfectly tight and round- each one is different.
    Sometimes bagel dough is pulled apart and shaped into a cinnamon roll (our latest invention), a braid (for Cheddar Twists) or even stretched and tied into dog bones.
    But what happens to bagels if they don’t get bought?
    Fear not! BABS does its best to reduce waste. At the end of a long hard day of sitting on the shelf, bagels are tossed into day old bags to be sold at a lower price the next day. Lucky savory bagels are saved to be sliced and re-baked into bagel chips.

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     My personal favorite is a swiss melt toasted with butter. I eat this tried and true combination probably 3-5 times a week (don’t try to tell me I have a problem).
    Of course, bagels were meant for cream cheese. Salsa cream cheese on any of the savory flavors is another winning combination. On the sweeter side of things, brown sugar cinnamon cream cheese pairs perfectly with Apple Pie and Cinnamon Crunch bagels.
    Bagels are also filling substitutes to bread. Try making your favorite ham and cheese on a toasted Everything next time, you wont regret it.

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Doughnuts @ Sandy’s Donuts

Finally, the post we’ve all been waiting for. This time, I’ll be reviewing doughnuts I picked up at Sandy’s Donuts.

Sandy’s is an adorable mom-and-pop doughnut shop near the corner of Covell Ave and Leonard Street in Grand Rapids, Michigan. With options ranging from old fashioned, filled, cinnamon rolls, glazed or sprinkled, Sandy’s probably has something for you. And, if you get there around the right times, their shelves are PACKED. (From what I can tell, this means most weekdays before 3 pm. Don’t get your hopes up on the weekends!)

Aside from the doughnuts, they also carry cookies, muffins, cupcakes, and further into the restaurant is a small coffee bar.

So, get on with it! How are these doughnuts?!

Let me tell you…you won’t find a better classic doughnut for your money. Each doughnut is just one dollar. Sandy’s doughnuts are truly comforting, soft, and delicious. On three separate occasions, here is what I’ve had:

Top left: Cinnamon Sugar Twist. These were my favorite as a kid, and Sandy’s does em’ just right. They’re fluffy and sugary, and super long. Perfect for dunking into a tall mug of coffee.

Bottom left: Cherry Fritter. I tried this one mainly because it was aesthetically neat looking, a glazed mound of dough with pops of bright red cherries. Once again pretty fluffy, if you enjoy apple fritters then give this one a try. Also larger in size.

Center: Old Fashioned…something? Lets call it a Clam. I never caught the correct name of these things but to me, they resemble a glazed clam or shell. This thing was DENSE. Just holding it, you can tell it’s filled with jam. This one had blueberry pie filling and was by far the sweetest doughnut I’ve had from Sandy’s. The “old fashioned” dough was slightly crunchy yet sweet, giving way to a stuffed blueberry center. Although delicious, this one was difficult to finish on my own. I only suggest these to those with the sweetest-of-tooths.

Right: Chocolate Glazed. This was my first Sandy’s purchase, on Valentine’s Day. A standard chocolate coated doughnut, not only did this look great, it tasted great too.

I do, however, have single complaint about this doughnut spot. Sandy’s does not have Wifi, or a public restroom, so study-ers and loiterers be warned. Most customers tend to pop in and grab a dozen and leave anyways, But don’t worry, what it lacks in convenience, it makes up for with taste. Overall, Sandy’s is a great place to stop in and grab breakfast for you or your coworkers, family, etc.

The Cookies @ My House

Note: This post was intended to cover the coveted Sandy’s Doughnuts. After three attempts to make it to the bakery (turns out they close at 1 pm on Saturdays and Sundays…) I decided to take matters into my own kitchen.

Ever since I was old enough to help my mom bake Christmas cookies, I remember making these bad boys.

On the recipe card, my grandma called them “Oatmeal Peek-a-boo” cookies. Around my apartment, they are often referred to as “The cookies” or “breakfast cookies.”

These things are incredible. I don’t just mean that because they taste like warm, comforting happiness. They are perfect for breakfast. They can be eaten on the go.  They’re not chalked full of sugar, frosting, and other things. Just Oatmeal and Jam. I mean, there’s a few other things. But oatmeal is the main ingredient and jam is the most important. Plus, they can easily be made Vegan by switching out the regular butter for a Vegan friendly variety.

I hate myself for even typing this because its cliche, but it’s true- these things go fast. One batch makes about 2-3 dozen, and between 4 roommates, they usually only last a few days.

My brother has tried his own version of these by adding peanut butter to the jammy middle, and those are good too. My only tip for that is the cookies dry out quickly with the peanut butter insides.

You don’t really need any baking skills to make these either. I have made them in the past where I just dumped all the ingredients in the bowl and mixed it with my hands. It still turns out fine!

Nothing is better with that first cup of coffee than these cookies. The oatmeal is slightly sweet, but mostly mild, and BAM! You’re punched in the taste buds with some sticky sweet jelly. My family prefers grape, raspberry, and peach jam. In my apartment, we go for blackberry, cherry, or strawberry.

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Another great thing about this recipe is that its cheap as hell. These cookies are truly a college student’s dream- cheap to make, takes less than an hour for one batch, great for on the go, and its totally fine to eat the dough raw (I’m serious, there’s no egg!) The most expensive component is the jelly, or the butter if you reach for the vegan kind (one of my room mates is vegan so that’s what we use).

Here’s the recipe:

(Set oven to 350 degrees)

  • 2 1/2 cups of flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup of Brown Sugar
  • 1 cup soft butter
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 2 1/2 cups oatmeal, any kind

Sift together flour, salt, and soda. Add sugar, butter, and water. Add oatmeal. Roll dough quite thin. Place spoonful of jam on one half of cookie. Cover with remaining cookie. Bake for 10-13 minutes.