Monday, September 6, 2010

Where we eat: Vanilla Bean Bakery (a Branson family review)

Visions of grandeur are not a bad thing as long as you can back them up. Vanilla Bean Bakery, a relatively new shop on the streets of Carlisle, PA, hopes to one day franchise and be able to compete with the Paneras of the world. Right now the bakery sells bread, a case of sweets which vary daily, sticky buns and homemade vanilla. Over the past few months my family and I have had the opportunity to sample a number of Vanilla Bean Bakery's confections (as well as those of the Fancy Cake Shop which is housed in the same store front). Here's what we thought:

Vanilla Extract (sampled by J-Fur, Mother-in-Law Branson and me pictured to the left): Has a stronger vanilla taste than the stuff you buy in the grocery store. When sampled side by side with store bought vanilla, VBB's vanilla tastes fresher and lighter and less processed. How would this show through in their desserts?

Sticky Buns (sampled by Sister Branson and Me and pictured above): The first thing you notice when you pick up a six pack of these beasts is how heavy they are. The second thing you notice is how much sweet goodness drenches them. Often times I find sticky buns are either too dry or too sweet. These buns are neither. The nuts serve to enhance the bun. Sister Branson's thoughts: "These buns were delicious."

Peanut Butter Brownies (sampled by Sister Branson): "Not bad, could've used more peanut butter."

Shortbread Cookies with Buttercream Frosting (sampled by Brother and Brother-in-law Branson): "Sorry bro, you can't have any of these. These are so good. It's like a pie crust with icing inside."

Rolled Puff Pastry with Cream Cheese Icing (sampled by Brother Branson and me): We thought there was supposed to be lemon inside so we were disappointed. Found it very unexciting.

Apple Turnover (sampled by Brother-in-Law Branson): "Not too much apple. Not too much dough. It was pretty good."

Coconut Cream Pie (sampled by Mother-in-Law Branson): "Best coconut cream pie I have ever had. I hope they have it next time I go in."

Peanut Butter Pie (sampled by Mother-in-Law Branson and me because there was no coconut cream pie the next time): "This pie is really good too. I still dream about the coconut cream pie but can't complain." This pie was super creamy. I liked it.
Lemon Cupcake (sampled by me, created by Fancy Cake Shop and pictured above): I loved the way that the buttercream icing on this cake brought out the lemon flavor. An absolutely flawless cupcake.

Strawberry Cupcake (sampled by me, created by Fancy Cake Shop, pictured to the left): Not impressed. The strawberry and icing seemed to be distracting from each other rather then working together.

So there you have it. If you are driving through Carlisle, look up Vanilla Bean Bakery and Fancy Cake Shop, and enjoy what they have to offer (especially those sticky buns, pies and shortbread cookies). Vanilla Bean Bakery is located at 2 Liberty Avenue Carlisle, Pa 17013.

Should be sampled with Vanilla Bean Bakery: K-X-P and Ball Park Music.