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The Solvang Bakery Holiday Gingerbread Boutiques

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boutique-post-gingerbread manor-house solvang bakery

We hope you can join us at one of our holiday boutiques this season.  They are wonderful occasions for viewing a wide assortment of our gingerbread creations including: Christmas and Hanukkah Gingerbread Houses, Gingerbread Barns, Gingerbread Sleighs, and Gingerbread Cookie Jars, as well as our Custom Gingerbread items.

In most cases you’ll need to confirm with the person listed as the Reservation Contact to ensure availability in advance.  Currently our schedule is limited to California.  If you have any questions you can contact Melissa:(805) 770.0089 or email at Melissa@SolvangBakery.com.

 

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Here are our Gingerbread Workshop Dates!

 

Tuesday, November 1st:

Holiday Boutique featuring The Solvang Bakery from 10:00 am – 8:00pm

3643 Long Ranch Parkway, Thousand oaks, CA

Reservations and Address Contact: Cheryl at (818) 889-1326 or Melissa Redell at (805) 770.0089 or via email at melissa@solvangbakery.com

 

boutique-post-gingerbread-sleigh-solvang-bakeryWednesday, November 2nd:

9th Annual Fall and Winter Holiday Boutique from 10:00 am – 3:00 pm

Parties, Drinks, and Gifts!

Please join us for an afternoon and evening of fun GINGERBREAD sampling and WINE TASTING from a few wineries in the Santa Ynez Valley.

This super fantastic holiday boutique is not to be missed! Unique Designers will be showcasing their treasures again this year.

And in the spirit of giving a percentage of proceeds will be donated to a few children’s charities.

Please RSVP to this event – Email or phone Carrie for details and to RSVP: beachycheech@yahoo.com or 808-268-9746

Hidden Hills, CA

 

gingerbread-barn-500November 16th:

Crawford Family Wines from 10:00 am – 8:00pm

Join us at the new Tasting Room in Los Olivos for a fun filled day of wine tasting, yummy treats and a look at the most beautiful Gingerbread Houses in the land…

Los Olivos, CA

Reservations and Address Contact: Melissa (805) 770.0089 or melissa@solvangbakery.com

November 18th:

John Thomas Dye School from 8:30 am – 4:30 pm

Holiday Boutique featuring The Solvang Bakery

11414 Chalon Road, LA, CA  90049

Bel Air, CA

Reservations and Address Contact: Melissa at 805.770.0089 or melissa@solvangbakery.com

hanukkah-gingerbread-house,-sm,-solvang-bakery-500TBD:

 

 

 

 

Back to School – Sending Cookie Care Packages

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It is always in season for old men to learn – Aeschylus

Ahhh, back to school. We’re back to the routine again; back to driving carpool and practicing piano, packing sack lunches and ensuring homework is completed. As much as the peace of an empty house sounds seductive, there’s still a certain melancholy that coincides with those first few weeks of school. Whether you’re watching your little boy or girl awkwardly lining-up with the kindergarten class, or dropping off a wide-eyed freshman at high school, or missing that freshly minted co-ed…that feeling of parental pride is striated with the unwelcome awareness that your baby is growing up.

We’ve put together a couple of products that will help keep that latter notion at bay…and keep you connected…

And when you’re finished sending that sweet missive, why not distract yourself with a learning activity of your own?  Learn to paint, take a history class…a cooking class.  It’s a great time to take the plunge and indulge yourself too!

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College Care-Package Club

Our College Care-Package Club is a great way to remind your collegian that you’re thinking about him or her throughout the school year. We’ll ship yummy treats to his or her college or boarding school address six times: starting at the end of September; then for Halloween; at the beginning of December; for Valentine’s Day; mid-March for St. Patrick’s Day; and a final shipment in May before school lets out. Of course for younger children, you can have the goodies sent to your home!  Check the College Care-Package Club out here.

 

School Logo Cookies

email-back-to-school-2013-topNo matter whether your child is attending a large university, a small country day school, or a big suburban high school, he or she is sure to enjoy the special treat of seeing his or her school logo on a buttery short-dough cookie.  We just need a high-resolution image file (preferably jpeg) of your school logo and we’re off to the ovens. Shop School Logo Cookies here.

Danish-butter-cookies-white-plastic-300-The-Solvang-BakeryButter Cookie Tubs

For a more economical greeting, send a tub of our famous Danish Butter Cookies.  The tub seals nicely to preserve freshness, and there will be plenty to share with roommates! Shop Butter Cookies now.

 

Elegant Truffles for Wedding Favors and Shower Favors

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truffles-blog-the-solvang-bakeryWhen planning a wedding, the bride and groom are faced with myriad decisions from guest lists, to venues, to color schemes, to menus. At The truffle-blog-post-vertSolvang Bakery, we get to be involved in the fun part: dessert…and in more recent years, wedding favors. While we love the challenge of creating the perfect wedding cake to fit the style and tone of the couple’s wedding day, we also delight in the small details. We’ve developed an array of hand-iced cookie wedding favors that can be used for the actual big day, as well as for the bridal showers and engagement parties that lead up to it. You can check them out in our previous blog post here.

We’ve recently added an elegant new offering: Truffles.  We’ve partnered with a well-known truffle maker to include them as part of our suite of sweets. They make for a delicious demonstration of gratitude to all of those relatives and friends who have traveled from near and far to share in the nuptials. With nine flavors from which to choose, you’re sure to find a truffle to satisfy even the pickiest palate. Select from large (1.25 oz) and mini (.75 oz) size options. We can box them in either one or two truffle boxes, then adorn them with coordinating ribbons to match your decor. They’re also a lovely addition to a dessert table or buffet. Enjoy!

Flavors:

truffle-chocolate-on-chocolateDark Chocolate

truffle-milk-chocolateMilk Chocolate

 

truffle-white-chocolateWhite Chocolate

truffle-irish-creamIrish Cream

 

truffle-mintMint

 

truffle-cappuccinoCappuccino

 

truffle-chocolate-caramelCaramel

truffle-strawberryStrawberry

 

truffle-black-and-whiteBlack and White

 

Summer Entertaining: The Solvang Bakery Style

Assortment of Summer Iced Cookies

Assortment of Summer Iced Cookies

And does it not seem hard to you,

When all the sky is clear and blue,

And I should like so much to play,

To have to go to bed by day?

Robert Louis Stevenson, Bed in Summer, A Child’s Garden of Verses

Ahhh, summer. No more carpools, no more nagging about homework, no more packing lunches. What a joy it is to just observe your kids being kids.  Whether watching them frolic in the pool, the lake, or the beach; or cruise off on their bikes with a pack of neighborhood children, or hear a pig squeal at the state fair, the sheer delight on their innocent faces can’t help but bring a smile to your face. All they want to do is play until the sun sets just as Robert Louis Stevenson so eloquently put it.

Gingerbread Beach Guys and Gals

Gingerbread Beach Guys and Gals

As a family owned and operated business, summer means juggling our schedules so that we can all drink in the joys of summer with our children or grandchildren. With the move to our new retail and commercial kitchen locations now a year behind us, we are able to visit family and friends across the country, and take pause to enjoy each other’s company.

BUT, that does not mean our creative juices stop flowing! Like you, we gather with friends for barbeques and summer parties. And like you, even though there’s no school bus to meet in the morning, there are still camps and sports activities and schedules to be kept. We’ve created a number of summer themed cookies that can offload some of your baking efforts. So if you find yourself in a pinch, we’re happy to help with hostess gifts or just covering the dessert for your party.

Here are a few of our favorites for this summer:

 

Colorful Beach Sandal Cookies

Colorful Beach Sandal Cookies

Beach Sandals Cookies: Fun in the sun! Available in a variety of colors, our hand-iced Beach Sandal Cookies add a colorful, playful element to any party.

Beach Sandal Cookies with Pizzazz

Beach Sandal Cookies with Pizzazz

 

 

 

 

 

 

California Cool Sunglass Cookies

California Cool Sunglass Cookies

 

 

 

 

 

California Cool Sunglass Cookies: We’re not sure we know anybody who doesn’t have a pair (or three) of shades here in California. They’re right up there with earrings and belts in terms of ‘must-have’ accessories. So in that vein, we’ve developed a couple of different sunglass styles to fit our  beach fashionista’s panache.

Sassy Sunglass Cookies

Sassy Sunglass Cookies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beach Ball Cookies

Beach Ball Cookies

Beach Ball Cookies: Perhaps the only thing that’s more fun than tossing around beach balls is eating hand-iced short-dough Beach Ball Cookies!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gingerbread Beach Guys and Gals: Melissa wanted to offer our delicious gingerbread cookies during the summer, but it just didn’t seem right to dress The Gingerbread Man in Christmas clothing when it’s 95 degrees outside! So she and senior pastry chef Barbara conferred and decided that The Gingerbread Man should do what everybody else does during the summer, don swim trunks and hit the beach!

Gingerbread Beach Guy and Gal

Gingerbread Beach Guy and Gal

How to Use Fondant – Susan Shares Tips for Making a Simple Fondant Cake

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Photo by White Haute Photography

Have you ever wondered how people create such magnificent cakes? Some of them truly are works of art. At The Solvang Bakery, we’ve been blessed with several talented individuals who together have logged decades of experience creating innovative cakes. The secret of their architectural details is fondant.

fondant imageFondant comes from the French verb fondre, which means to melt. It is created by melting sugar in water. The solution starts out clear, then becomes an opaque white as crystallization begins to occur. Glucose or cream of tartar is added to aid in the crystallization process. Do we make our own fondant? Nope. It’s a tricky business to get the crystallization just right; if the crystals are too big, the fondant will not be pliable and will lose its shine and smoothness. Most bake shops purchase their rolled fondant from folks who make it all day long. We use commercial sources, but you will be able to find it in local hobby shops such as Michael’s or Hobby Lobby (or in their online stores).

simple-fondant-cake-500We’ve put together a ‘How to’ video featuring co-owner Susan Halme.  In it, Susan shows you how to cover a cake with fondant and add some simple decorative elements to it. She shares a number of tips along the way. We can promise that you’ll be making specialty and wedding cakes like those on this page in a week, but we do believe you’ll enjoy the journey.

 

Here are a few of Susan’s tips for covering a cake with fondant:

  • mad-hatter-cake-300Cover cake with buttercream icing, not whipped cream, prior to applying fondant
  • Make sure cake is refrigerated prior to applying fondant – you want it nice and cool
  • Use corn starch to keep fondant from sticking to table and rolling pin
  • Make sure you roll out any air bubbles in the fondant
  • Use your rolling pin to transfer the fondant to the cake
  • Pizza cutters make great trimming tools for fondant
  • And many more tip in the video…

This makes a great DIY project with the kids…plus there are always tasty scraps… Have fun and let us know how it turns out!

Baking, Motherhood, and Memories

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What comes to mind when you think of your mom? Chances are it is not a single image, but rather an amalgam of sensorial facets that conjure pictures, smells, and tastes. Is it an expression that you’ve seen on her face when she looks at you?  The expression that acknowledges that you’re an adult, but behind it lies a thousand memories of you as a child. The expression that transmits both pride and the passage of time in one contemplative glance.

chocolate-chocolate-cookies-the-solvang-bakeryOr is your mind flooded with mental aromas when you think of your mom? Her perfume that lingers after a warm hug, or air filled with the smells of a favorite dish wafting from the kitchen? An aroma that says ‘I love you’ because she knows it’s the fare that will always bring a smile to your face. Perhaps it’s just the comforting essence of bread baking or cookies on the cooling rack…the smells that gently let you know that she is there.

Marcel Proust deftly put the notion of taste and memory to paper in his novel In Search of Lost Time. When biting into Madeleines, the protagonist realized that it bore, “…in the tiny and almost impalpable drop of their essence, the vast structure of recollection.” That is, the taste of the confection overwhelmed his being with memories.

At The Solvang Bakery, memories of ‘Mom’ are intricately woven with the tastes and smells and actions of baking.  For Melissa, Maili, and their brothers, the bakery was a second home during their childhood. Birthdays included an ingenious cake created by Mom Susan that struck just the right note for both child and age. Now the grandchildren are the beneficiaries of the same treat.

Not having grown up in a bakery family, thoughts of my mother are not so terribly different. They are inextricably tied to food. In our house, a cookie wasn’t a cookie if it wasn’t homemade. As a December birthday girl, I remember Mom helping my gal pals and me make our own candy canes (my creation suffered from a bad case of scoliosis).  After school, my sisters and I would frequently be greeted with the rich aroma of freshly baked wholewheat bread. Mom had purchased a grinder and we would be dragged in our paneled station-wagon out to a dubious little shop to buy the bulk wheat. Now as an adult, my boys can’t wait for ‘Baba rolls’ when we trek up to Oregon for the holidays. Like a textbook grandma, Mom sneaks a couple of rolls to the boys before dinner, spoiling their appetites, but reveling in the joy that they bring to the boys’ faces.

boys-baking-the-solvang-bakeryThough I don’t expect to reach my mother’s level of competence in the baking arena, and I certainly know I won’t reach Susan’s, I do love to bake.  And like all moms, I hope that some little part of what I do will be remembered affectionately by my children; whether it’s the act of baking, baking with the boys, or the final product itself.  I recently leafed through a cookbook that our son’s second grade teacher had put together for the class.  In it, each child was asked ‘your favorite thing about your mom.’ My son’s answer, “My favorite thing about my mom is she makes cookies. I like to help my mom make cookies because it is fun.” With two teenage boys now, these are magical words to read again.

The job of mother is a long protracted career; one with no annual reviews, and an 18 year product cycle.  ven at product launch, you’re not entirely sure whether or not you’ve been successful. But those small moments, when a child somehow acknowledges those special efforts on your part, makes it all worthwhile.

i-love-mom-the-solvang-bakery-500As you celebrate Mother’s Day this year, we honor the time you’ve spent in the kitchen with or for  your own children. And if you’re not a baker, we hope that you can reflect on some delicious moments devouring confections with your mother or your children. Drink in the those mental smells and tastes and feelings, and savor them today.

Happy, happy!

-Julie F.  – Team Solvang Bakery

PS – We’d love to hear some of your great memories!

May We Do You a Favor? Party Favors from The Solvang Bakery

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Have you ever left a fundraising event with a party favor that you didn’t really want? You know the one, you stashed it in your handbag, and lo and behold, months later, there it was all ready to go to the next party.  Or perhaps you’re still pushing it around with your to-file stack – feeling too guilty to toss it in the bin? paper-bag-300

Or what about your children?  They roll home from a birthday party with a sack of cheaply made toys that will be played with once, then be the source of that strange noise in your vacuum cleaner.

Why not go with a favor that is tasteful (pun intended), and won’t clutter anyone’s home?  A party favor that your children can happily devour the day after you’ve spent a lovely evening out…

At The Solvang Bakery, we have increasing requests for elegant party favors that are edible and personalized; party favors that reflect the theme, essence, or personality of the party or host.  Ranging from fundraisers to birthday parties to bridal showers to baby showers, we relish the opportunity to unleash our creative energy on these projects.

Here are a few of our favorites:

We had the pleasure of replicating the extraordinary tile work found in Santa Barbara’s Casa del Herrero for their annual fundraiser.  Guests were given a cookie as they departed at the end of the evening; a delicious reminder of what they were helping to preserve for their community.

tile-cookies-the-solvang-bakery-lg

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Birthday party ideas abound. From cameo favors of that embarrassing teen perm for the now elegant 50 year old, to the sporty cupcake cookie favors for an energetic 10 year old, there’s no limit to the possibilities.

 

We recently provided both cake and party favors for a landmark birthday with a hippy/flower-child theme.  We thought they were perfect for Baby Boomer party favors.

peace-love-rainbow-cookies-the-solvang-bakery-600

 

Depending on your budget, we can expand the favor theme to something more elaborate. The party pails below included colorful candies and treats, along with hand-iced short dough cookies in the shape of the number 13.
13th-birthday-party-favors-the-solvang-bakery-600

For bridal showers and weddings, we’re often asked to provide wedding cake-shaped favors featuring the bride and groom’s names.  Another favorite is replicating the couple’s stationary/crest on a cookie.
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wedding-favors-crest-the-solvang-bakery-400

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And finally, as a big family, we love to create special party favors for baby showers. Brights or pastels, gender-specific or neutral, “Baby Smith,” or “Hayden” and “Kate,” we’ll craft something memorable and delicious for your guests.

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What about you: do you have suggestions for fabulous party favors?  Please do us a favor and give us a call to get started on your party favors.  You may call Melissa at (805) 218-2066, or email her at Melissa@SolvangBakery.com.

Weddings: We’ve come a long way baby! Wedding Cakes, Wedding Welcome Gifts, Candy Tables, Dessert Tables, and Bridal Shower Favors

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Wedding Welcome Gift Box

Weddings have come a long way from the old days. The simple church wedding followed by a reception in the local community hall are less and less frequent. While there was a great appeal to the simplicity of those occasions, today’s modern weddings offer the opportunity for artistic exploration.

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Proposal Cake

In California, with our perennial mild weather and exceptional vistas, we play host to some extraordinary nuptial celebrations.  Throw in the fact that we’re smack dab in the middle of glorious wine country, and the Santa Ynez Valley becomes one of the West Coast seats for sensational weddings. We’re not sure that Lady Mary of Downton Abbey’s wedding held sway over some of the weddings in which we’ve been privileged to participate!

As Santa Barbara and the Santa Ynez Valley are ideal vacation destinations, we see many brides and grooms from out of the area hosting their weddings here. Often times, the couple will provide wedding welcome packages or gifts for their out-of-town guests. This is a lovely (and decadent!) way to greet weary travelers as they check-in to their hotel rooms.

wedding-welcome-gift-box-inside-the-solvang-bakery

Treats for the weary traveler

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Wedding Favors

wedding favor white cakes the solvang bakery

Wedding cake favors

Another tasteful touch is a personalized wedding favor with the bride and groom’s initials or nuptial crest. The colors and style of the wedding are typically incorporated into the design.  The same idea goes for the pre-wedding bridal showers. Who doesn’t like to dive into that tasty little something after you kick off those high heels and call it a night?

And of course, the crowning achievement is the wedding cake. Fortunately, for creative bakers like us, every bride has her own vision for her wedding cake. We have the pleasure of working directly with the bride (and groom!) to transform her dreams into sweet reality. From the simple and elegant, to the ornate and splashy, we get to tap into our inner artist to create one-of-a-kind masterpieces reflective of our client’s personality.

wedding-cakes-rose-petals-the solvang bakery

Elegant white wedding cake the solvang bakery

wedding-cake-red-roses-the solvang bakery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wedding Cake Dessert Table, The Solvang Bakery

Wedding Cake Dessert Table – Beautiful Winery Wedding in Santa Ynez

wedding-favors-monogram-the-solvang-bakery-blog

Monogram wedding favors

If you’re in that in-between stage…you’ve been married for a while, as have most of your friends, and you haven’t attended a wedding recently…you may not be up to speed on one of the latest fashions in wedding celebrations – the candy table and/or dessert table.

While the wedding cake releases our inner artist, the candy tables and dessert tables release our inner child. It’s Willy Wonka meets Martha Stewart, and we lap up every minute of it. Bride and groom declare their favorite confectionary fantasies and we “cover it with chocolate and a miracle or two”. The result is a fanciful dessert paradise.

wedding-favors-the-solvang-bakery

Wedding Crest Favors

Are you ready to start planning your dream wedding?  Give Melissa a call at (805) 218-2066 or email her at Melissa@SolvangBakery.com.

How about you? Tell us about unique wedding cakes and favors that you’ve seen! We love new ideas!

Danish Days in Solvang, CA

Danish Days with the Solvang Bakery, Solvang, California

Solvang Viking ship

Last weekend was the celebration of the 76th annual Danish Days festival here in Solvang, California.  It’s a busy and bustling weekend for us all with many luscious Danish pastries eaten by tourists and locals alike.

Here are a few photographs from the festivities:

 

Danish Days photos from The Solvang Bakery, Solvang California

Special Danish Days cupcakes