Mar 022014
 
Paczki

Filled with delicious raspberry goodness.

I made the trek on Saturday to Delightful Pastries in Jefferson Park to satisfy my annual pączki fix. I almost didn’t go, but was determined get out of the house. The power of powdered sugar is greater than powdered snow. Am I right?

If you don’t know, pączki are Polish doughnuts made in the days before Lent to use up the lard, sugar, and flour the religiously observant forego until Easter. These pastries are traditionally filled with plum or rose hip jelly, though a host of flavors ranging from Bavarian cream to apple can be found. Delightful Pastries also included boozier versions made with Jameson Whisky, moonshine, and Vodka fillings. My temptation to hibernate was doomed.

Paczki

Plum jelly and creme paczki make for a decadent combo.

Pączki are thicker and firmer than regular doughnuts in order to hold the fillings. In the hands of lesser pączki makers, this could mean a dry or tough doughnut. Not at Delightful Pastries — each bite was tender and held enough sweetness to justify the gluttony.

Four flavors made it home with me: raspberry, plum with whipped cream, vodka and custard with vanilla, and apricot. I didn’t taste the vodka in the custard-filled pączki, and though it was great, I find I prefer the fruity versions with a dusting of powdered sugar on top. A little bit of apricot is all it takes to make me a happy clam.

Paczki

Almost enough paczki to make it through brunch.

Though you can probably find pączki for a while yet, to be completely traditional, you should probably get yours before Wednesday. For times and locations, visit Delightful Pastries on-line.

Have a favorite pączki flavor? Share!

Dec 242013
 

Snowman Cookies | Sensational Bites

If you celebrate the holiday, I hope it’s with your favorite holiday treat! Me? I can’t pass up sugar cookies. These snowmen from Sensational Bites (3751 N Southport Ave.) didn’t last five minutes after this photo was snapped.

Happy, merry, yummy!

Dec 052013
 

Wednesday was National Cookie Day, and what better way to celebrate than a tour of one of my favorite bakeries? The bakery contains a blend of antique (though functional) ovens and modern power mixers, cookie cutters and computerized cake templates. The baking begins early morning, but the signs of impending industry were everywhere. Racks of freshly baked cookies and stollen were scattered throughout, a constant temptation. Check it out:

Since 1922, the Dinkel family has been the place for stollen, gingerbread, strudel. They recently added a cafe and now it’s also a great spot for lunch. The spinach artichoke melt is a great vegetarian choice, and I especially like that their tuna salad is made with dill. Yum. If you’re in the neighborhood, pop in for a satisfying sandwich.

I was there for the cookies, and the selection is stellar — a box of butter cookies is not to be missed for the holidays. I like to expand the selection to include pfeffernüsse, cinnamon star cookies, and as many sugar cookies as possible. Add a hot chocolate and the party is complete.

If you can’t squeeze Dinkel’s (3329 N Lincoln Avenue) into your busy schedule, they take online orders, make business deliveries, and will be at Christkindlmarket through December 24.