Dessert -- the sweet little indulgence that made broccoli worth eating as a child and has kept us seeking the next sugar rush as adults. It transcends cultural lines and is the grand finale of a meal, the special occasion food, and the hallmark of a celebration. Eating is a necessary, sometimes boring, part of human existence, but some would argue that dessert is also a necessity. Does one need a brownie to survive? Of course not. But on some days, a good brownie can make life worth living.
Tulsa has a long tradition of great bakeries, but a newcomer has come along to vie for the crown. Antoinette Baking Company is the young upstart in Brookside that has become quite the sensation. Each day, owners Molly Martin and Andrea Mohn bake up some of Tulsa's most delicious confections, with an ever-changing playlist of pastries and titillating treats. Their dessert case is like a treasure chest of goodies like donuts, Bundt cakes, brioche, scones, cookies, truffles, muffins, croissants, galettes, bon bons -- the list goes on and on. Every day, a new creation -- ranging from $2-$4 -- is ready to meet you.
Antoinette's mantra is -- appropriately enough -- "Eat Cake." They take a nod from the infamous Marie Antoinette, who has been erroneously credited for that callous response to hunger in her country. Though the namesake of Antoinette's may not have the best reputation, she still had a solid point.
"Marie Antoinette is certainly not a role model that anyone should admire," said co-owner Molly Martin, "but we liked the idea that at least once a day, a person should treat themselves like a queen (or king). Whether a slice of cake or a hot cup of coffee, it's a way to create balance with all of the craziness."
So one lovely day, my dad escorted his little princess to Antoinette for a sweet afternoon treat. Antoinette is in a cozy location on Brookside, flanked by Leon's and Brookside by Day. The bright interior includes some colorful pizzazz and quaint seating for about 15. Despite its diminutive size, it was a comfortable spot to catch up with my pops while noshing on the latest creations from the kitchen. However, the chitchat came to an abrupt stop when my dad took his first bite of the bacon brownie.
"This is everything a man could want," my dad said with wide-eyed astonishment. After taking a bite myself, I'm sure my mom would understand.
It seems that bacon is making bold appearances in unusual places, from cocktails to cookies. Admittedly, it's not always a success, but Antoinette has a flair for adventurous flavor combinations.
The rich and fudgy brownie was a dynamic double-take of chewy and gooey. The chocolate flavor was not overly sweet, which was the perfect complement for the main attraction -- the salty, not-too-crispy, melt-in-your-mouth bacon that was crumbled on top. Your mind might be telling you "no," but just give it a try, and your mouth will adamantly tell you "yes."
The bacon brownie only intensified my savory craving, and the bacon and goat cheese corn muffin came to my rescue. With a buttery background and a subtle sweetness, the addition of the all-powerful pork product and goat cheese was a diabolical move. Though I only ate one, I could have easily eaten six ... or more.
That perhaps is the running theme for all the baked goods Antoinette creates -- one simply isn't enough. With no item is this truer than with their macaron. No, that is not a misspelling; it is indeed a macaron -- one "O," rhyming with "Ron" not "moon." The macaROON we are familiar with is an egg-white based confection with coconut, sometimes dipped in chocolate. It is unfortunate they have such a similarity in spelling, because the macaRON is a far more sophisticated dessert item.
With origins in Paris, the macaron is like a cookie sandwich, but to call it a cookie is a misnomer. The top and bottom halves are made from egg whites, sugar, and almond powder. They are cut into two little circles that enclose rich ganache, jams, or buttercreams. Macarons are usually colorful and flavor combinations are infinite. Basically, macarons are the tea party treat you've always imagined. But Antoinette's macarons are for tea parties that don't stop.
Macarons became somewhat of an obsession for Molly Martin. This obsession turned into a year-long project she chronicled in her blog, The Velvet Macaron, where she experimented with hundreds of flavor combinations, colors, and textures. Her macaron mania even garnered some national attention from publications like ReadyMade magazine.
Helps the Medicine Go Down. Whether it’s a spoonful or cupful of sugar, you’re sure to love the baked treats you’ll have at Antoinette’s.
"French macarons first came into my life during a trip to New York," Martin said. "That strange mix of flavor, texture, and aesthetics grabbed me immediately."
Antoinette uses the macaron as canvas and palate, offering something different each day. For the holidays, they have a chocolate macaron with an eggnog buttercream filling. The texture of a macaron is hard to describe because there is really no comparison. It has the slightest crunch on the outside, kind of like the delicate caramelized, flamed-sugar top of a crème brulee. Then, the second layer has a nice chewy interior, but melts before much chewing is necessary. The flavor is, again, delicate, and for the chocolate macaron, you aren't hit over the head with an intense cocoa flavor. It was just enough to complement the filling, which was a beautiful buttercream that mimicked the spicy goodness of eggnog.
Some of the other macarons I've been fortunate to sample are unique flavor combinations, like brightly-hued green tea with a raspberry buttercream, or a pretty-in-pink raspberry with a decadent chocolate ganache. Antoinette's macarons can be special ordered in a variety of flavors for only $24 per dozen. You can be the hero at your next get-together or a cozy tea party. You can also check out their macaron flavor of the day and other items they have available on their Facebook fan page. It'll be the sweetest news on your feed, guaranteed.
As someone who would take a bag of potato chips over a candy bar most days, I admit that I may not possess a true sweet tooth. Since going to Antoinette, though, I find myself dreaming about dainty macarons, vanilla bean cream-filled croissants, and goat cheese cheesecakes. Beyond just creating dessert items that taste incredible, there's the feeling that each item is infused with creativity and joie de vivre unique to Antoinette. Because of this, I now blissfully eat cake and unabashedly proclaim, "Long live the queen!"
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