Every once in awhile I have to make a dreaded trip. I dislike the drive. I dislike the area I’m going to. I dislike how it drains me emotionally. It gets harder and harder each time I go. Especially when it doesn’t seem like I will get to do anything relaxing while I’m there. Granted, there are some things that make the trip worthwhile and bearable. My parents and family. My daughter. Tanners Apple Orchard (when the timing is right). Good friends (when I have time to work it into my schedule). Grits. Tenderloin sandwiches. Donnelly’s Irish Pub. This bakery. But more often than not, it is a shotgun trip to attend some medical appointment or procedure for my mother.
My mom has cerebral small vessel disease. Most people do not understand what this is – when you mention it, they give you a confused look. Basically it is like hardening of the arteries, but it is in the small vessels of the brain. This causes dementia and Alzheimer like symptoms. No it can’t be treated or reversed. She’s as good as she ever will be RIGHT NOW. Her memory is slowly slipping away and there is nothing we can do to stop it.
Because of this and other conditions she is dealing with, it raises the need for me to make frequent trips into the dreaded State of Illinois. It affects every part of me when I know I have an upcoming trip. I become moody, depressed, angry, stressed, short-tempered. I REALLY do not like to cross the border into that forsaken place. But thanks to a few people and places. It is bearable. For short periods of time. VERY short periods of time.
This trip I made time for an extra stop on the way out of town. Trefzger’s Bakery. I can remember in high school, my boyfriend (now husband) and his mother (now MIL) introduced me to this bakery. They had these delicious coffeecakes and made cherry ones in the shape of a heart in February. I was hooked. Never had I tasted something so good. Come to think of it, this bakery is probably why I have a love for baking today.
So it is one of the places I treat myself to when I make a visit. If I get out for under $50 I consider myself lucky. They use to be in a little tiny shop that would have a line out the door and when they finally got to your number, there was no room to move around and see what you wanted. In other words, no browsing and selecting, so you better have an idea of what you are picking up or grab whats in front of you before someone else does.
A few years ago they renovated an old building that I believe was an old bicycle factory at one point. They now occupy the first floor and have a HUGE space! You can even watch the decorators working on cakes and other delicious goodies in the open space behind the glass enclosed counters.
I love walking through this space, I no longer have to hurry because there are 30 other people waiting on me. I can browse through the breads, muffins, and rolls. I can scan the pies. I can peruse the coffeecakes, apricot is my favorite and then I look for the ones with cream cheese. So many flavors and combinations – it’s always hard to choose but I limit myself to 2.
The glass cases are full of pastries, cakes, and cookies. The variety of options have expanded dramatically since the tiny shop. Tarts, donuts (which they only use to have on Fridays before and are like some of the coffeecakes in miniature), cookies of all kinds, cakes, cupcakes, pies, eclairs – my head spins with all the delectable offerings! I always want to try something new but stick to my old tried and true favorites.
I love the machine cut sugar cookies with the buttery, soft icing. The buttercream icing they make is unbelievable. But this time I opted for another favorite, the thumbprints pictured at the top of this page. These remind me of a pecan shortbread, you can get some topped with chocolate but this time I was craving the pillows of creamy, buttery icing instead.
I didn’t even look at what all was in the cases because I knew if I did, I would go over the limit I had set for myself. I did casually glance at the lemon tarts (thinking of my oldest child), eclairs topped with chocolate (the youngest), and cream puffs (my husbands favorite), while I waited for her to tray the thumbprints. Last on my list was a chiffon cake. We are right smack in the middle of birthday season at my house. So it’s always nice when we can offer something we don’t get amid all the other birthday cakes and treats. And there are a lot. Between mid-January and the end of February, we celebrate 5 birthdays.
They always offer the Orange Chiffon and there is also a Flavor of the Month. This month was Chocolate Covered Cherry Chiffon. We have a winner! Ring me up before I go broke adding one of everything!
I can’t believe I got out without anything chocolate. Sacrilege! Unheard of! WHAT was I THINKING?!?!?! Well, I guess the cake does have a bit of chocolate and it will have to hold me over until next time. The next trip will have to be chocolate only!
PS. In case you are wondering… Yes, I stayed within my budget. At least until next time….