In November, I finally made good on a several-month threat to haunt fellow ad-agency-escapee Kelli Marks for a day at her adorable Little Rock bakeshop, Sweet Love Bakes.
For most of a day, I followed her around and made stuff. Or, I at least watched her make stuff. She did let me at a few things, like the French macarons (not to be confused with American coconut macaroons) and some of her famous red-velvet cupcakes. I also totally messed up some fondant figurines I attempted to make for a gingerbread house competition she was entering.
While I’ll dish more of my experience in a writeup on my Stage Project page (hey, get off me, I’ve been busy!), I wanted to tell you about something. Something really sexy, melty, sweet and salty. Something incredibly appropriate for your Valentine, I promise.
Because I have to be gluten-free, there wasn’t much at the bakeshop I could sample for myself. On the day I hung out, I bought a handful of the two things I could have: the aforementioned macarons (made with almond flour, if you didn’t know), and the caramels. The macarons were delicious, especially the pink champagne flavor. They are a lovely, rich pink color that’s perfect for a Valentine’s gift. Get some of those, too, in a lovely pink gift box.
Did I mention the caramels?
I’m out of control.
They have just enough structure to unwrap them and get them to your mouth, and yet they have a bit of chew. One or two chews in, they start to melt into a salty-sweet pool of awesome on your tongue. If you enjoy an even more toothsome bite, you can put them in the fridge.
They don’t stick to your teeth. How does she do that?
While you chew the caramel, your teeth crunch against tiny pieces of sea salt, which, as any good foodie knows, magnifies the flavors of anything and pairs surprisingly well with sugar. Flecks of vanilla bean add a fresh, floral touch. Sweet Love also offers caramels in honey/almond and coffee varieties. I can’t seem to get past the awesome of the original.
Okay, I’m done now.
Go by Sweet Love Bakes and get a cute little pink box full of them. At just 50 cents each, they’re incredibly affordable, so load up. You might have her tape it shut, lest you are tempted to eat them all before that sweet gifting moment.