On the Chocolate Trail: Itsy Bitsy Bakery in the US of A

By Tuesday, February 14, 2012 Permalink 0
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by Christina Daub

Too Little Chocolate, Too Little Time

There’s a new bakery in Kensington, Maryland. Tiny, charming and open early. This is great news for a town which has so little to offer on the culinary front, you might think you were in North Dakota.

I get the one parking spot left in the six-car lot. I can barely contain my big grin when I walk in. However, scanning the glass shelved case, I notice my stomach tightening. After greeting the two women working there — you can actually watch twenty-six-year- old owner Maria Forline roll and shape and bake right in front of you—I casually inquire what chocolaty items they have.

They look at each other. Well, says the saleswoman, we had some chocolate croissants this morning, but they’re all gone now. Ah. I do my best not to look like an animal in the headlights. Meanwhile my brain is in overdrive, like ticker tape: what, no brownies, no bittersweet morseled chocolate chip cookies, no deep dark mouthwatering layered chocolate cake, rolling again and again.

Wanting to support this young enterprise and yet, not wanting to spend a dime on sweets that aren’t worth the calories, i.e. not fine chocolate, I tell myself there’s got to be something I can buy here. The saleswoman catches on and points out that the heart-shaped almond cookies have a squiggle of chocolate zigzagging across the top—chocolate ganache, she emphasizes. And the small pumpkin loaves have chocolate chips in them. Perhaps I would be interested in the oatmeal cranberry white chocolate chip cookie?

Good grief. I’d have to be really desperate to go for the latter. “White chocolate” is not even chocolate. It’s cocoa butter, milk solids, sugar and vanilla or more often, vanillin. There’s not even a drop of the chocolate liquor required to be classified as chocolate. Moreover, white chips and baking pieces often don’t even contain cocoa butter these days.

I reexamine the almond cookie through the glass. I’d have to lick off the tops of twenty of those cookies, before getting a satisfactory bite of chocolate out the experience. Trying to hide my reluctance, I say I’ll take one and for good measure, I buy an apricot bear claw pastry too. The good news is the prices of these two items are very reasonable and the bear claw is scrumptious.

Clearly I have to go back to try their chocolate croissants and hot chocolate. And you might be interested in knowing the bakery offers vegan and gluten-free treats, and uses both organic and local ingredients “as much as possible.” They take orders, including customized birthday cakes and the coffee served is Mayorga.

For my taste, Itsy Bitsy Bakery needs more than an itsy bitsy selection of pastries with chocolate bits and pieces in them.  One Badlands is enough.

Itsy Bitsy Bakery
10419 Armory Avenue
Kensington, MD  20895
1-240-558-3388
Open Tues-Sat,  8:00 AM to 5:00 PM

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