The assortment of treats from Ackroyd's I brought to a recent potluck. (Maureen Tisdale / The Detroit News)
You know I love to cook. But as I mentioned before in the piece on grab-and-go markets, there are days I plum run out of time and energy. And secretly, occasionally I lose interest in making One More Thing, especially if I already have other cooking going. That’s when a stop at a lovely local bakery like Ackroyd’s Scottish Bakery in Redford Township comes in handy.
That happened recently with a church potluck. OK, two.
For the first one, I’d already made one dish; as I shared before, the Irish colcannon suggested by reader Dennis Neylon. It was a blast, but it also made my kitchen look like it had been blasted with dynomite made of cabbage, bacon and potato. Still, when I consulted with our friend Shelly — she of the Cuban Black Bean and Cantaloupe Soup recipe suggestions, and the head event organizer at church — and it looked like the potluck line-up might be dessert-light, I wanted to bring one.
Nonetheless, no way was I going to add more devastation to the kitchen, and make myself even later than I was. Instead, I took this as an excuse to check out Ackroyd’s, which I drive by regularly but hadn’t yet explored. That potluck was international-dish themed, and I figured Scottish was fairly unique and unlikely to be duplicated — plus there was something I liked about bringing Irish and Scottish dishes.
So I stopped in, and I have to tell you I was delighted by their wee treats. (My oft-mentioned sister Tiff says I have a bit of a “movie mind,” wherein I see things with the sort of whimsy movies have; I remember arriving at a camp years ago and saying, “Ooh, I’m going to swim across that lake!” Tiff, shaking her head: “Movie mind.”)
Anyway, I instantly thought these tiny but intricate little pastries were not just beautiful, but exactly how I pictured the pastries that made Alice in Wonderland grow giant or tiny when I was a little girl. And my worries about them being dry — in my experience back when I ate sweets like a drug addict smokes crack, small bakeries’ treats can be like that if they don’t have a high-turnover rate — were quickly allayed when the worker told me the tiny place does such high volume due to mail orders that they bake daily. (My husband later confirmed the treats were fresh.)
In any case, I grabbed some for the potluck. Even though word had gotten out about the dearth of desserts and there were plenty of options by the time I arrived, people liked them well enough that I told tall tales of having been up all night designing, baking and decorating them (none of them believed me, naturally, since I play the same ugly game whenever we bring store-bought treats).
As for the second potluck, that was this weekend. This one was more of a pizza-for-the-main-course, everyone-bring-a-dessert thing — but we had two other appointments on Saturday, a dream of taking the baby to an apple orchard plus the regular cooking for the week going on.
So despite my (and my husband’s) nose-wrinkling at the idea of doing the same thing two potlucks in a row, I planned another trip to Ackroyd’s. This time, I decided to get a different assortment, since last time I’d stuck to just a few traditional Scottish desserts.
Since I think local bakeries are cool — and need ideas, since I will not be able to stand doing the same thing a third time, even if I am super-busy next potluck — I’d love to hear about ones you love. As incentive, we’re giving away a copy of “Mini Treats & Hand-Held Sweets: 100 Delicious Desserts to Pick Up and Eat” by Abigail Johnson Dodge.
Tell me about your favorite bakery in the Metro Detroit area (and ideally, what you like about it) in the comments below, then send an email to Eats&Drinks@detroitnews.com with “Cookbook/MiniTreats” in the subject line and your name and mailing address in the body. Enter only once by midnight Oct. 27. A winner will be chosen from among entries, with preference given to those who comment below. (If it’s Oct. 28, 2013, or later when you read this, the book winner will have been chosen — but feel free to add your comments.)
You need a Facebook account to add comments, but they’re easy to sign up for, and free. Maureen Tisdale, Detroit News Food Editor, will be keeping an eye out the next few days for your comments. You also can follow her on Twitter @reentiz . Join the discussion!