Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Flour Bakery Book Release Party in Cambridge

By: Jessica Cickay

I admittedly went into Joanne Chang’s cookbook release party at Flour Bakery in Central Square with a plan— eat a meal beforehand so as not to embarrass myself by juggling a cupcake in my left hand, a cookie in my right and a sticky bun on my nose all while trying to devour a raspberry bar with a “Look Mom! No hands!” kind of maneuver. Given my notorious nature to overdose on sucrose on the regular, it was no surprise that the tempting treats this confectionary crowd celebrity served up more than fufilled my delicious-quota for the day. From the fill-your-own Oreo bar to the savory snacks that outdid my expectations, I’ve taken a cue from her infamous sticky sticky buns themselves and gotten myself stuck on Joanne Chang’s Flour Bakery.

Flour Bakery’s Central Square location was sleek, modern and industrial, exhibiting a seemingly cold décor that was offset by the warm sugary smells emanating from the kitchens. Joanne Chang—known on a national scale for beating Bobby Flay on Food Network’s Throwdown with a one-two punch from her sticky sticky buns—buzzed about the busy bakery, beaming like a proud mother to her newborn baby, “Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston's Flour Bakery + Café.” The 300-plus page book offers up almost 150 of Joanne’s best recipes, many of which made their way into my mouth during the special evening.
In all honesty, I was not expecting the savory offerings to tempt my untamable sweet tooth amid the baked good backdrop, but then I saw the salad of roasted fingerling potatoes, broccoli and romesco sauce …and the four cheese and truffle pizza…and the golden beets tossed with manouri cheese, fresh dill and toasted pine nuts…and the spinach, feta and spearmint Stromboli…and, you get the picture.
Gold Beets with Manouri Cheese, Dill, and Pinenuts
The pizzas—there was also a caramelized leek option—certainly stole the show with their rich, earthy and robust flavor-profiles, while finger sandwiches like smoked turkey, Vermont cheddar and cranberry chutney served as the perfect transition for me from savory to sweet.
Spinach Feta Stromboli
And how sweet it was! When I heard there was going to be a fill-your-own Oreo bar, my initial reaction was “!!!!!KLAJSDKLSJHJ!!!!!!!” but then an immediate feeling of impending doom overtook my body. Typically, one part Jess plus 10-12 parts Oreo, ultimately equals me doubled over with both a stomach ache and regret. However, I showed some restraint on the Oreo-front at Flour out of respect for the mini chocolate cupcakes topped with clouds of vanilla buttercream and the plates of nostalgic oatmeal raisin, decadent Valrhona chocolate walnut and wintry ginger molasses cookies.
Fill Your Own Oreos
As the night went on and Joanne Chang graciously signed more books for her doting dessert devotees, I was proud of myself for not taking a plate of her sticky sticky buns—which really are that sticky and sinful— into a lonely corner and going all Tazmanian Devil on them.
The Famous Sticky Sticky Buns
But then, the wonderful employees at Flour brought out a new platter of perfection that even made me set down my second sticky sticky bun. Hazlenut-almond dacquoise might have to be my birthday cake, my wedding cake, my Tuesday cake, my full moon cake and my dinner from now on. Hazelnut and almond meringues encased a frozen coffee buttercream center, only to be enrobed in dark ganache and decorated with hazelnuts. I took a bite, blacked out and when I came to, five doilies lay before me as reminders of my failed plan to eat dinner before attending.
Hazelnut-Almond Dacquoise
With chocolate under my fingernails and sticky sticky bun glaze somehow in my hair, I walked out of Flour Bakery satisfied and full—but not quite full enough to forgo taking a cookie for the ride home. Joanne Chang’s success is an obvious one, and her new, much-anticipated cookbook is a great way to get a taste of it at home.

Flour Bakery + Cafe
190 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge MA 02139
Flour Bakery + Cafe on Urbanspoon


ABostonFan said...

cool party!

Boston Food Diary said...

Im so sorry I missed you there! It was a lovely evening! I had a similar plan- make my stay abbreviated so there would be food for others :-)

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