Once in our childhood, there’s always an old-fashioned cake, cookie, or pie that we would always want to taste again. It’s not only an artisan pastry but it’s a lovely memory, handmade by our family members with old-world techniques passed down from generations. No wonder most of those desserts taste different and can never rival their commercially-produced rivals.
Artisan pastries are made with all-natural and organic ingredients, it’s usually hand-made but even machine-produced desserts are now labeled as “artisan.” However, traditions and connections are the most essential ingredients of any artisan pastries as the milk, eggs, flour, cream, chocolate, and other components should be sourced locally, preferably in organic farms and small-town producers. After all, there is sheer beauty in tasting the amalgamation of heritage farms and old-world flavors.
Artisan Pastry Trivia
- French people are very meticulous with their bread, there is a law that requires bakers to produce bread from scratch or they cannot open bakeries.
- Prince William’s favorite cake is a chocolate biscuit cake. He loved it so much, he had it commissioned for his royal wedding.
- The White House had their fair share of sweet-toothed Presidents. President Jimmy Carter favored peanut butter pies, President Bill Clinton likes cholate chip cookies, President Obama adores crust-less coconut pie, and President Trump equally loves Chocolate Cake and Cherry Vanilla Ice Cream.
Artisan Pastry Buying Guide
Artisan pastries can be found everywhere from small cafes, mid-range bakeries, and even your supermarkets. But how authentic is the biscuit, cake, or muffin labeled as “artisan pastry”?
Checking the ingredients is essential as artisan pastries should not contain any preservatives, artificial coloring and flavoring, artificial fat, emulsifiers, extenders, and conditioners. Any chemical additive is not required for artisan pastries because they are produced in small batches enough to last for a day.
Appearance is everything in artisan pastries. While commercially-produced baked goods appear shiny and spotless, artisan pastry should have a more grainy and imperfect appearance since the baker’s hands were used in the kneading and shaping process, the icing, or even the shaping.
Train your senses to distinguish the flavors and scents of commercially and locally produced ingredients. Artisan pastries have a more natural scent and rustic flavors compared to the almost odorless or highly-synthetic odors and processed flavors of commercially produced pastries.
Artisan Pastry Production & Farming in Texas
Texas is a tight-knit community where multiple generations have dwelled in a single area and everyone knows each other. It’s this type of community where you can find the best homemade artisan pastries with flour sourced from the nearest flour mills, where the milk and other products like cheese, butter, and cream come from the nearest dairy farms, where chocolates come from bean-to-bar companies, and everyone works hard to make great food using time-bound techniques and ancient family recipes for the community to enjoy.
Artisan bakeries in Texas produce wonderfully baked creations such as sourdough breads, baguettes, pane integrale, oatmeal, and multigrain bread, butter croissants, cookies, cakes, rolls, pizzas, fruit and meat pies, and other heritage baked treats.
Preservatives and Chemicals
Artisan pastries are made in small batches using all-natural ingredients. Thus, it should not contain any preservatives, additives, chemical improvers, and stabilizers during the baking process.
Artisan pastries are usually packaged in eco-friendly containers such as paper bags and boxes embellished with colorful ribbons but the simplest way is to wrap the goods in baking paper and secure the small parcel with tweed strings. It’s ideal to have minimalistic packaging as it stays true to the branding of artisan pastries.
Enjoying Artisan Pastries
It’s always a good time for artisan pastries! You don’t need to have special occasions or grand celebrations to enjoy these desserts. The classic chocolate chip cookie or brownie can be a reward for a long day, you can bake some mini egg pies and hand it out to friends, or bake a grand cheesecake or chocolate cake as a centerpiece for dinner time!
Temperature plays a big factor in the freshness of desserts. Artisan pastries are more vulnerable than commercially-produced desserts because they lack anti-mold additives and shelf-life extenders.
Any form of dough should be sealed in plastic wrap and refrigerated at least a day before baking it and consuming the finished product for 3-4 days. Cakes, pies, and brownies should not be left in humid environments for a long time. They should be refrigerated to extend their shelf-life.
Plain, freshly baked bread can be stored at room temperature. Breads with fillings such as cream, custard, and meat should be consumed in 2 days.
Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Get a whiff of the earthy fragrance and brown butter. Its nuttiness complements the sweet and sweet and rich flavors of the chocolate chip cookies as it melts into gooey cookies.
2 sticks (227 grams) unsalted butter
1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups (250 grams) lightly packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 cups (190 grams) all-purpose flour
1 cup (127 grams) bread flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups (255 grams) semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup (140 grams) semisweet chocolate baking wafers (from Guittard or Valrhona)
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a small saucepan set over medium heat, melt the butter. Swirling the pan occasionally, continue to cook the butter. It should become foamy with audible cracking and popping noises. Once the crackling stops continue to swirl the pan until the butter develops a nutty aroma and brown bits start to form at the bottom. Once the bits are amber in color, about 2 to 3 minutes after the popping stops, remove from heat and pour into a mixing bowl. Add in the sugars, stir, then set aside to cool completely.
- In a medium bowl combine the flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
- To the browned butter mixture, add the eggs, egg yolk, and vanilla and stir with a rubber spatula until combined. Slowly stir in the flour mixture until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips and wafers.
- Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 24 hours but no more than 72 hours. Let dough sit at room temperature just until it is soft enough to scoop.
- Divide the dough into 3-tablespoon sized balls and drop onto prepared baking sheets, leaving about 3 inches between each piece of dough to spread.
- Bake for 11 to 13 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from and let cool for 2 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.