Restaurant: BitterSweet Gluten Free Bakery, Eagan, Minnesota
There are times where I regret waiting so long to get to one of the restaurants or places of interest on my list when I visit a city. That was certainly the case when it comes to BitterSweet Gluten Free Bakery in Eagan, Minnesota.
Live and learn!
So, let me set the scene. On Find Me Gluten-Free, Cathy discovered that the Minneapolis area was home to this gluten-free bakery. And it got rave reviews. This meant…I had to check it out. So it was placed on the list with the address to get to while in town. And…life got busy. And before I knew it…it was Tuesday morning, the morning of the day I was leaving. I had gone on a 6.26 mile run that morning. Cathy had some shops she wanted to check out in Minneapolis and Saint Paul. Oh, and I had a date with a celebratory banana split after my fantastic race on Sunday morning. I always celebrate races with banana splits. But it was still early and I wasn’t quite ready for ice cream.
As we were heading out toward some of the bookstores that Cathy wanted to hit up, we were driving by the Cliff Road exit. And she remembered…we had the gluten-free bakery to stop into. I’m glad she remembered. I would have cried had I not made it in there. We set the Garmin for the address she had written down and soon we were pulling into this little strip mall. The bakery was open, and it looked like the door was getting repaired as a large piece of wood covered it. No matter…they were open and that was what mattered.
We stepped inside and were greeted immediately. We were asked if they could help us and we mentioned that we were from out of town, that I was a Celiac, and that the very fact that this bakery existed was enough to make me happy. The man behind the counter said he would give us some time to look around and he’d be back in a moment.
The bake case was filled with amazing looking bread loaves, cookies, bars, and the like. The counter top had different gluten-free mixes and even some gluten-free hamburger buns (that I am now kicking myself for not purchasing!). We scoured the case and decided that we would buy one of the half loaves of the Gluten-Free Banana Walnut Bread, a Gluten-Free Lemon Bar (which we would split), and then we each decided we would try one of the various cookies that the bakery made. We were rejoined by the nice gentleman behind the counter where I placed a gorgeous half loaf of the Gluten-Free Banana Walnut Bread. I asked about getting one of the amazing looking lemon bars, and then I chose to have the Monster Cookie and Cathy chose the Lemon Zinger Cookie. He wrapped up the cookies, and placed the lemon bar and half loaf of bread into a bag. We talked about being from Louisville, Kentucky, and he mentioned having been at the 2011 gluten-free expo in Carmel, Indiana. He said so much has changed over the years…and that BitterSweet Gluten Free Bakery had been open for nine years now and was still going strong. This spoke very highly to me of their quality and their products…but I had to judge that for myself.
After climbing back into the car, Cathy and I decided we would make our cookies an amuse bouche. I mean, what better lead-in to a banana split than cookies, right? So, she grabbed her Gluten-Free Lemon Zinger Cookie ($1.48) and took a bite of it. Immediately she was elated, saying it reminded her of the Lemon Blossoms my friend Jenn and I make, but in cookie form. I snagged a piece and she couldn’t have been more spot on. The Lemon Zinger cookie was refreshing and zippy. Honestly. I love lemon flavored stuff anyway…and this was awesome. The Lemon Zinger is also a dairy free cookie at this bakery. The other ingredients include white rice flour, sugar, soy shortening, tapioca flour, lemon juice, lemon zest, eggs, aluminum free baking powder, sea salt and xanthan gum. The icing that was zigzagged over the top was a combination of powdered sugar and lemon juice. Just really amazing.
The Gluten-Free Monster Cookie ($1.20) intrigued me immediately. It looked like it had a little bit of everything…and all ingredients that I love. And I couldn’t have been happier when I took my first bite. It was sweet, savory, and just amazing and full of flavor. A party in this cookie monster’s mouth, for sure. This cookie really does have it all. It’s a perfect blend of peanut butter, gluten-free oats, brown sugar, sugar, eggs, chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, raisins, butter, corn syrup, and baking soda. So, it was like getting a peanut butter-chocolate chip- oatmeal raisin- butterscotch cookie all in one. Amazing. Sweet…without being too sweet. I gave Cathy a piece of mine and she thought it was mighty tasty herself. LOVED this cookie. I sort of want to make some for myself. Just…yummy. And as a runner, my love of peanut butter and that salty-sweet combo really was matched with every bite of this cookie. YUM!
The rest of the goods sat in the car all day and then made the long flight home from Minneapolis. That following morning, being that we had no groceries in the fridge, meant that I’d simply slice up some of the half loaf of Gluten-Free Banana Walnut Bread ($4.25). First of all…bananas…walnuts…bread. This was going to have to be good. When I opened up the bag that the loaf was in, I could smell the mouth-watering aroma of the banana bread…almost as if I had just pulled it out of my oven. I sliced off two 1/2 inch slices, one for me and one for my roommate. I threw each one into the microwave to warm it up slightly, then kept it simple with a light schmear of Smart Balance and a drizzle of honey.
Bread…perfection. Honestly. This bread is super moist, despite being a couple of days old at this point. We had it this morning for breakfast as well. Still moist. And we’re polishing off the loaf tomorrow morning for breakfast. I just checked…it is still moist. Soft. Delicious. Filled with banana flavor that is only enhanced by the addition of the walnuts. This bread is awesome. I can’t emphasize this enough. Gluten-free bread, when done right, tastes just like any other bread. Regular bread. The kind anyone could eat. If you put this loaf down in front of someone who could eat any type of bread…and had them eat it…they wouldn’t know the difference. I promise you that. This is one of my favorite gluten-free breads I have ever eaten. Just…super yummy!! Super flavorful. Super moist. And super banana-y. This bread is love.
And, last night for dinner, while it was still fresh…Cathy and I decided that we would give that lemon bar a taste at dessert. So, after we ate our gluten-free grilled avocado and vegan cheese sandwiches, I got out the plastic container that held the lemon bar and pulled it open. And that…was where I realized that the flight and the car ride weren’t too kind to the lemon bar. The icing came off with the lid. Whoops. No matter…I could fix that.
The Gluten-Free Lemon Bar ($3.05) is actually a light, airy lemon cake. I sliced it in half and placed one piece on a plate. I then scraped the icing off the lid and began to attempt to reapply it the best I could to the lemon bar itself. This was…a slight success. You work with what you have. I took the first slice out to Cathy and she immediately dove in. Before I even had icing on mine, she was raving about it. So, this was happy news to me. I put my slice on a plate, reapplied the icing to the top and went out to enjoy.
Cathy was so right. The light cakey base made this unlike the other gluten-free lemon bars that I have had in the past. I absolutely loved this take on this treat. The cake itself was very light, not heavy and dense. The icing…wow…that icing. Just like the icing on Cathy’s Lemon Zinger cookie, the frosting was simply a combination of powdered sugar and lemon juice. As for the light, delicious cake…that was simply eggs, sugar canola oil, white rice flour, potato starch flour, tapioca flour, lemon juice, lemon peel and xanthan gum. I loved how different this lemon bar was compared to the others I have tried from other gluten-free bakeries. The ingredients all worked well together well and baked up lemon perfection. Happiness in every tart lemon bite.
I was so happy with everything that I got from BitterSweet Gluten Free Bakery that it has been decided that next time I’m in the Twin Cities…I immediately head to BitterSweet Gluten Free Bakery and buy items to feast on the entire visit. This must happen. This WILL happen.
As for you, BitterSweet Bakery…you are amazing and completely delicious. Just the four items that my roommate and I purchased and enjoyed were enough to make me want to continue to go back for more…as often as possible…every time I’m in Minnesota. BitterSweet Gluten Free Bakery…this out-of-towner can’t wait to get back into town to visit you again.
Your food is love. And I’m head-over-heels for you!