Last Sunday might have been the most productive day of my entire summer so far. I not only managed to complete my homework for next week's classes, but also spent several hours browsing the shelves at Barnes & Noble with a nice hot cup of coffee in hand. That falls into the "productive" category why exactly? Because it means that I now don't have to spend whole evenings searching for new baking books on amazon anymore. Holding a book in your hands, flipping through it, and looking at the glossy photographs just has a different quality to it than clicking the search button on your laptop screen.
But the reason why my super duper productivity is even mentioned on here is that I walked from Barnes & Noble to the Clarendon metro station and remembered that I had heard about a place called Bakeshop. I needed a late breakfast and didn't want to go home to start my work just yet...
So this little stroll ended with me having an ice cream sandwich for breakfast. A snickerdoodlewich to be precise. The only wholesome part about this was probably the cinnamon in the cookie, and the milk and/or cream in the generous portion of vanilla ice cream. But it gave me energy for the rest of the day, and that's the whole purpose of a breakfast, right?
The welcoming atmosphere at Bakeshop is created by a huge window front and lots of daylight; walls painted in bright yellow; colorful wooden furniture that reminded me of a primary school class room; and an open kitchen that customers can peek into as they stand in front of a long counter full of so so many different kinds of treats. It already takes a few minutes to simply identify your options. And then you need to examine everything a second time in order to be able to take your pick.
I knew I had to try one of the so-called chipwiches, but also ordered two cupcakes to go. At $2.50 per piece these were inexpensive, and I wanted to know what the 7 Up cupcake was all about. The girl behind the counter recommended the red velvet, and since that is one of my favorite flavors I trusted her judgment.
So, first things first. The snickerdoodlewich (love the name!) was delicious. The ice cream was good but I have yet to find a vanilla ice cream in this country that really tastes like vanilla. Most just taste cold and creamy and a little sweet. So did this one. What made this sandwich great were the cookies. Sugar and cinnamon is always a great combination, and the size and texture of these were spot on. Definitely homemade, chewy, with just the right bite. The whole thing comes double wrapped, so it can also easily be transported if the weather allows and/or you have a cooler bag. Other flavors available were the classic chocolate chip cookies, gingersnaps, or dark chocolate cookies with different kinds of ice creams, such as mint chip or PB&J. The Snickerdoodle version only came with vanilla.
While eating I noticed that Bakeshop seems to have a very loyal customer base consisting of young couples and families. Not only was there a steady flow of people coming in and leaving with bags full of sweet treats, there were also dozens of hand-written letters, drawings and photos pasted to the walls. This bakery clearly has character, and young customers love its employees almost as much as the desserts, as evidenced by many of the drawings. Isn't it a relief to know that there are still such down-to-earth, friendly neighborhood bakeries to get your cupcakes and brownies and macarons from? Not everything has to be stylish, hip or fancy.
And Bakeshop's cupcakes are just as good as those of the DC competition. In terms of size and texture they might as well have been made by Georgetown Cupcake. I wouldn't have said "no" to a bit more frosting, but because the cake was so truly moist and fluffy (when I poked my fork at it, it literally fells into crumbs) I didn't feel that it was needed. The red velvet was definitely a winner. The 7 Up cupcake however just didn't do it for me... Children probably love it because the softdrink flavor is unmistakeable, but I found the taste just a little too artificial.
Bakeshop is an interesting find. For some reason I feel that artisan breads would make its offer complete, but for now it is purely sweet and has everything you could possibly desire for dessert: Apart from the cupcakes and ice cream sandwiches, there are cookies, macarons, pies, oreos in a blanket (oreos baked into chocolate chip cookies... ooooohhhh yes), banana pudding, doggie treats, layer cakes... you get it. Everything.
Here's a link to Bakeshop's website. - Make sure you visit next time you are in Clarendon.
Brownie Points for the snickerdoodlewich: 3 out of 3
Brownie Points for the red velvet cupcake: 2 out of 3
Brownie Points for the 7 Up cupcake: 1 out of 3