Updates and Hours

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Hello Sweeties!
We saw that many of you made it out to the Yankee Doodle Parade, which was great.  The parade was a lot of fun and we loved having so many stop by for goodies.

We have some changes this week and moving forward…

SPECIAL HOURS THIS WEEK (September 26-30)
Chef Ben and I have some exciting business to tend to, which will keep us out of the kitchen this week. Because we are a small team, we are scaling back on our days and hours to ensure that Chef Sarah can provide you with a fresh and delicious variety each day.

TUESDAY/WEDNESDAY – Closed
THURSDAY - SATURDAY - 12pm-4pm
*If you already have a scheduled pick up outside of the days/hours listed above, not to worry, we will be there as promised!

CINNAMON ROLLS: We will not have cinnamon rolls this Saturday :( I know, I know…be sure to order yours for the following week!

PACKAGING: We are pleased to announce that we are finally getting rid of all of that prepackaging! That’s right. If you stopped by during Yankee Doodle, you got to see how lovely the cookies and cupcakes looked in the display case on trays rather than in containers. This also means that we will have the ability to fill and frost cupcakes to order if needed in larger quantities. While we always encourage ordering ahead, our ability to accommodate day before and even same day orders will significantly improve! Writing on cakes, special sprinkles for cupcakes, last minute fondant toppers (limited variety) etc... More improvements to come…stay tuned.
 
Have a sweet week,
-Team Sweetness

Baking In Thailand

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Talk about out of the comfort zone. Two not-so well traveled bakers heading to the Southern part of Thailand for 10 days to help teach teens how to bake...let's just run this to the top of the not-within-comfort-zone chart. But you know what...extending love to children, seeing the tangible efforts of MANNA Worldwide first hand (school, meals, activities), giving the teens an opportunity to learn a trade skill that can change their lives forever...well let's just run that to the top of the greatest-privilege-to-be-a-part-of chart and suddenly my comfort zone just doesn't really matter so much.
If you are not familiar with MANNA Worldwide, then you don't look around our shop a whole lot! If you did, you'd see the canvas on the wall of the sweet little Mongolian girl. That particular canvas holds dear to our hearts because Chef Ben and I have been supporting a project in the middle of the Gobi Desert through our church. To know that there's an entire orphanage of kids that is fed, clothed, educated, and given hope because of the efforts of one small New England congregation...well it's amazing to feel in some way a part of that. If you look around our shop, you would also find coffee bags! What New Englander doesn't drink coffee?? While we don't brew coffee (yet), we sell it for two reasons: We love a product we can stand behind, and not only is Mango Tree Coffee the only coffee we drink in our home, but it's also the coffee we use in our chocolate recipe. The other reason is that 100% of MTC proceeds are sent to MANNA Worldwide to feed children all around the world. Now that's a coffee worth drinking. In case you're wondering, we are not actually affiliated to MANNA or MTC in any way other than how we support them and try to share information about their efforts so that others can get on board and help change lives. If you stop by this week, you will also notice some tee shirts and coffee mugs! We just added those. Another fun fact about what we sell at our store...we charge what it costs us to purchase and ship the items in. That's it. We don't make any profit from selling MTC products. Our thought is that Mango Tree is already sending the proceeds to good work, so we just want to get the products out there.
 

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Now that you have a little insight on the connection between the products in our store and MANNA Worldwide, and between MANNA and us, back to Thailand. The project we will be heading to at the end of January 2018 currently ministers to about 240 Burmese children by providing two meals a day and an education. Because they are refugees who's parents work in Thailand, they are not able to attend the Thai schools. In addition to feeding and educating the Burmese children, this particular project is also providing 1 meal a day for approximately 80 Thai children. I believe sometime last year the facility received a donation to demo their previous kitchen and construct a commercial kitchen with the plan to teach baking as a trade skill. Well Chef Ben and I just so happened to share a meal with Ryan and Kim Jones who are MANNA missionaries to Asia, and while getting them caught up on our transition from military to bakery, Ryan connected the dots and invited us to join the team travelling to Thailand. I have to tell you how cool the timing was...Chef Ben and I literally had a conversation 24 hours prior about how we want to be able to support global efforts through our bakery, but that we don't have any skills to offer in the mission field so our support would have to be financial only. Well didn't our lunch conversation just knock our oven mitts right off! Go to Thailand to teach teens how to bake?

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 We couldn't be more excited or feel more privileged. 'Give a man a fish, feed him for a day...teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime'. So that's what we're going to do! As we have more details along the way we will post updates. When we travel, we will certainly document the experience and share with all of you.
 

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If feeding kids is something you are passionate about, I encourage you to explore MANNA Worldwide. One of the many things we love about this organization is that they are sending about 92 cents on the dollar to the kids. Because they work with so many missionaries who are supported by local congregations and fundraising, MANNA keeps their administrative costs down which allows more funds to get to the kids. If this project in Thailand is particularly interesting to you, I can tell you that they are in need of additional funding. The number of children they are reaching is growing which requires more funds for food. They are also hoping to add another meal for the kids each day. What would it take to lock in another meal for these kids? About 40 people committing to send $30/month or 80 committing $15/month...all commitments make a difference. I would love to get there in January and find out there's an extra meal to help with each day because suddenly people committed their support. If you would like to donate to this specific project, you can do so by entering MANNA Kitchen CDC (76250) in the Designating - Other section. We're not trying to pitch a hard sell or talk you into something.  Chef Ben and I are just really passionate about these efforts and want to use all of our resources to get people on board too. Perhaps you support other organizations..awesome! We just know that not a whole lot of people know about MANNA and the work they're doing. I will say that MANNA doesn't share your information with people, they don't hound you, and they are so good with updates and information. Ryan Jones has provided answers to countless questions I've had about the kids in Thailand, I love it. There are also ways to get involved hands on with the missions trips. 

Thanks for reading, 

-Team Sweetness

 

We Have A Winner!

Key Lime Cupcake with Graham Cracker Bottom, Key Lime Curd Filling, Key Lime Cream Cheese Buttercream and Graham Cracker Crumbs!

Key Lime Cupcake with Graham Cracker Bottom, Key Lime Curd Filling, Key Lime Cream Cheese Buttercream and Graham Cracker Crumbs!

Congratulations to Susan McLay who's cupcake submission has be chosen as September's Flavor of the Month!  What flavor did she suggest? KEY LIME CUPCAKE! Chef Ben has made a key lime cupcake with graham cracker bottom. It's filled with key lime curd and topped with key lime cream cheese buttercream and graham cracker crumbles. Sound limey? It is! It's a perfect balance of zest and sweet, and it's the perfect way to hang on to summer as we ease into fall in the coming weeks. There will be plenty available starting TODAY! I know Susan will be enjoying her complimentary dozen this weekend. 
 


Here's to a great summer!

-Teamsweetness  

How We Do Cinnamon Rolls

 
 

Warm, delicious cinnamon rolls don't just happen you know. There's a process that has to take place: ingredients...timing...love. And Chef Ben loves making cinnamon rolls

It all starts with fresh eggs, sugar, Chef's flour blend (using King Arthur flour), some fresh yeast and perfectly heated milk.

Into the mixer it goes on Friday afternoons, to prepare the dough! It's done mixing when you can see through it when stretched.
 

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After the dough is created, it gets separated and kneaded (strong hands required!). Those modest sized dough lumps rest in their own bowls until expanded.

How does Chef Ben know when they're ready? Well, I've noticed that when they're bursting upwards and protruding above the bowl rim...he usually says it's time to 'punch them down'...as in...time to punch the dough right in the center, re-knead and let rest yet again. 

When the lazy dough is done resting...again...one ball of dough at a time, they are rolled out into massive sheets of dough, brushed with butter, and sprinkled with cinnamon & brown sugar (sometimes pecans).
 

They are then carefully rolled into logs and sliced to the perfect thickness.

These unbaked cinnamon rolls sleep overnight in refrigeration and are brought out to proof in the early early morning, every Saturday! They slowly rise and expand as they come to the optimum temperature for softness. Into the oven they go!

Right out of the oven, they go on a rack while the frosting is prepared (traditional or maple). Chef Ben pipes that sweet goodness all over the hot cinnamon rolls and then smooths the frosting over every inch to ensure proper coverage in every bite! Voila! Cinnamon Rolls.
 

 

From oven to our 9am store opening is usually just under 1 hour. Doesn't get much fresher than that! The boxes are still warm when we open! But some Saturdays, they do sell fast, so always best to pre-order your box(es)!

 

ENJOY!

-Team Sweetness

Sweet Deals

FLAVOR OF THE MONTH

Have you been dreaming of a cupcake with your own creation of flavors? Well we want to know what you'd like to try. Stop by and place your suggestion in the jar (no purchase required).

We will be collecting suggestions through August 26th, and  will announce the winner on September 1st when we add the new flavor to our menu!

What does the winner get? You mean other than the thrill of creating a fantastic new flavor? How about a dozen of their newly created signature cupcakes! 


MANGO TREE COFFEE GIVEAWAY

Enter to win with any online or in-store purchase! Just select e-receipt at checkout.
What are we giving away? A Mango Tree Coffee (MTC) Tee Shirt, Bag of whole bean or ground MTC Cafe Roast coffee, box of Callebaut Chocolate Bits House Cookies and a Variety Pack of Six Signature Cupcakes(Over $65 Value!)


FLASH SALE

Did you know we've had a 1 hour flash sale two Saturdays in a row? Didn't get the coupon? Here's how to get in on the sweet savings!

Step 1: Be sure you are subscriber to our weekly newsletter.

Step 2: Don't forget to follow us on TwitterInstagram and/or Facebook to be sure you find out what time our Flash Sale will be.

We've had people in each Saturday stocking up on sweet treats at 50% off their entire purchase...don't miss out! 

Have a sweet week! 

-Team Sweetness

How We Do Chocolate

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Not all chocolate is created equal. This is why we use Chef Ben's carefully curated recipe to create the perfect balance of fluff, density, sweetness and rich chocolate quality. It warms our hearts to have had many non-chocolate-cake-loving-sweeties let us know that ours is the only bakery chocolate cake/cupcakes that they've ever loved.

We've tried and failed with many-a-recipes; but with great determination...possibly some frustration...we (by we, I mean Chef Ben) have fine tuned our recipe to be one that we love. Part of what makes our chocolate special is a few of the key ingredients; and the rest is the magic process Chef Ben has established to perfectly incorporate all of our ingredients.

For starters, we use fresh eggs, King Arthur flour, Cabot butter, and Bourbon Madagascar vanilla.  Two of the most important ingredients: Cocao Barry Cocoa Powder and Mango Tree Coffee. That's right; we have tried many many cocoa powders, and Cocao Barry just knows what they're doing. They should, they've been making chocolate products since 1842. Aside from that, we use fresh brewed Mango Tree Coffee (Cafe Roast) in our chocolate recipe. If you're not familiar with MTC, it's delicious. You can pick up 2oz sample bags at our store (we sell at our cost), or you can order right online through their website! Why do we add coffee? Because it enhances the flavor of the cocoa powder in a special way to fully develop that rich chocolaty goodness you all love so much. Why do we use MTC coffee? Because they send 100% of their proceeds to MANNA Worldwide, who feeds children around the world. So basically...by eating chocolate cake and cupcakes, you're feeding children around the world!

 
 

From this recipe we get our chocolate cakes as well as nine stock varieties of chocolate cupcakes. Also....from the Cacao Barry cocoa powder, we get our mildly sweet and perfectly rich chocolate buttercream. Let's talk about this for a moment! I've never liked chocolate buttercream. If you were around when we first opened...you didn't see a lot of it on our products. Now a-days, it's one of my top recommendations for cake filling, because Cacao Barry in the buttercream has changed my life. It's actually my very favorite.

Pair our chocolate buttercream with our chocolate cake or cupcakes....oh my. 

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House Cookies & How It's Done

If you have not yet tried our House Cookies....you should. I can write that, because it's Chef Ben's recipe and I can't actually take any credit for how delicious they are. That being said, you can complain to Chef Ben when you get to the bottom and realize you just ate  the whole box by yourself (that's what I do). 

We currently offer our House Cookies in six flavors, and have been known to rotate in some special flavors here and there. We call them House Cookies because we use the same 'house recipe' for our cookie dough when making all of the different flavors. Sound boring? NOPE! It's amazing what the different ingredients do to the flavor of the cookie when properly portioned and mixed.

  • Andes Mint

  • Callebaut Chocolate Bits

  • Callebaut Chocolate Bits with Cashews and Pink Himalayan Salt

  • Callebaut Chocolate Bits with Walnuts

  • Reeces AND Pieces

  • White Chocolate Pistachio with Orange Zest

The cookie dough is the foundation for our special cookies. We use Cabot butter, Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla, fresh eggs, a blend of sugars and Chef Ben's special flour combination in which he always uses King Arthur flour. Quality across the board for these medallions of goodness. And it doesn't stop there. Let's talk about what goes into these babies...Andes Mint is kind of self explanatory. We hand press bits of Andes Mint chocolates into our dough for the perfect balance of mint and sweet. We do something similar for our Reeces AND Pieces, but instead, we hand press crumbles of Reeces peanut butter cups as well as Reeces Pieces into the dough for a burst of peanut butter goodness. Our Callebaut cookies are special because it's not your average chocolate chip cookie. Oh no. For these, we press in bits of Callebaut Chocolate, which is expertly crafted in one of Belgium's oldest cocoa roasteries. We make these gems original, with walnuts, and also with cashews and pink Himalayan salt for that savory sweetness that is just oh so good. Our White Chocolate Pistachio also uses Callebaut chocolate, along with roasted pistachios and just the right amount of fresh orange zest to keep it interesting!

Covering The Highlights

420 Boston Road, Billerica, MA Read our pre-opening article in the Billerica Minuteman!

420 Boston Road, Billerica, MA

Read our pre-opening article in the Billerica Minuteman!

Our sold out bakery case on opening day.

Our sold out bakery case on opening day.

We've had many opportunities to get involved with the community and it has been so much more fulfilling than we ever imagined. We've been able to thank our Police and Fire stations with surprise deliveries of goodies;  engage with our Girl Scouts, local schools, the Billerica Alliance and many non-profit organizations. We've had the privilege to provide sweets and donations to support many wonderful organizations and causes. 

Delivering goodies to nearby Police and Fire stations.

Delivering goodies to nearby Police and Fire stations.

Our menu has undergone a lot of fine tuning! We still don't have our kitchen and store under one roof, which is a challenge for us. It creates limitations, but we're ok with that for now. We've definitely honed in on what we want to be doing at this stage of HOS and we've really tried to harness our passion and pick just a few things to focus on and do them well.

Today we offer all kinds of cakes, mostly by special order, but we stock simple dessert and birthday cakes too. We've had a busy wedding and graduation season. We've done countless cakes for so many different types of events! We stock 18 signature cupcake flavors every week, in addition to our Simply Sweet vanilla and chocolate cupcakes. And we rotate in special flavors as we feel inspired! We stock cupcake minis, delicious tartlettes, six varieties of our house cookies and on Saturdays....we make fresh baked Saturday Morning Cinnamon Rolls! They have been well received to say the least. 

Hello Sweeties! Our most sincere apologies that we haven't been posting to this spot. Hopefully you've kept up with our sweet updates on Facebook and Instagram. 

It has been a journey to say the least. It's been a little over eight months since we opened our shop doors and it has been incredible. We have had the opportunity to get to know so many of our wonderful customers and we've had a blast creating new flavors and making fun cakes! 

Here's a quick overview of what's happened (you can also read our article in the Lowell Sun!):

Opening day was a huge success! With the help of several friends and family members we opened on time, with a variety of cupcakes, cookies, and pastries. Not everything went as planned, but it went! I mean really, what opening actually goes off without a hitch?

The ladies pictured below, along with many others not in the photo were essential to opening on time. We didn't sleep, we hardly ate, a lot of things didn't work, but they stayed by our sides the entire night/day with smiles on their faces and love in there hearts. A day in the memory vault forever!

Opening day Team Sweetness.

Opening day Team Sweetness.

Guest judges for a Cake Decorating Competition at a local church in Chelmsford, MA. What a joy it was to encourage these young girls in their craft. 

Guest judges for a Cake Decorating Competition at a local church in Chelmsford, MA. What a joy it was to encourage these young girls in their craft. 

Some of our Signature Cupcakes. Our best seller hands down is the Oreo!

Some of our Signature Cupcakes. Our best seller hands down is the Oreo!

As with everything else we bake...Chef Ben makes the dough fresh and from scratch each weekend for perfectly soft, fluffy, warm and delicious cinnamon rolls on Saturday mornings.

As with everything else we bake...Chef Ben makes the dough fresh and from scratch each weekend for perfectly soft, fluffy, warm and delicious cinnamon rolls on Saturday mornings.

So all in all, things are running quite smoothly at House of Sweetness. We survived our first holiday season with much thanks to some kind chefs from CSCA. Again, we couldn't have made things happen without gracious hearts in our lives. Chef Ben graduated from the Professional Pastry Program at Cambridge School of Culinary Arts in March. We have added Sarah to the team an assistant baker working along side Chef Ben as well as getting to know you Sweeties by spending some time at the shop as well. We are growing, we are learning, and we are excited to see how the future unfolds.

While I could only cover the highlights in this one, long overdue update, I will be keeping you updated on additional highlights from the last several months, specials, news updates, and we will be posting a series on how we make things at HOS. (learn what makes our sweets so special!)

Until then...thank you for your support, thank you for your encouragement, and thank you for embracing your sweet tooth!

Have a sweet day,

#TeamSweetness