Violet Sweet Shoppe  »

Crystal Rice, proprietor of Violet Sweet Shoppe, has been in business only a few months, but already has a solid baked goods repertoire. As a brand-new independent operator, she seems ready to go.

We tried some of her desserts a couple of weeks ago, at her pre-WWVBS bakesale at Little Otsu, as well as meet the lady behind them. While Joel and I went separately from Laura and Jonas, we ended up purchasing nearly all the same items: spice cupcakes, cinnamon roll cookies, and gingerbread sandwich cookies. Laura and Jonas also bought some chocolate chip cookies, but Hazel knocked down and ate their cupcake*, so we ended up having a few different experiences after all.

The number-one best thing we all ate—and this is a six-person consensus here—is the gingerbread sandwich cookie. Laura says it tastes “like a cloud of perfectly sweetened lemon cream floating betweet two soft gingerbread hugs.” In fact, Laura’s parents liked these cookies so much, I’m told, that they bogarted them down to a couple of bites, and “Goldie”** Beck “asked for a direct line to Violet Sweet Shoppe to order [the gingerbread sandwiches] immediately.”

Joel also loved the gingerbread cookie; he compared it to an oatmeal creme pie, “all mooshy” and delicious. I have to concur: they are really fantastic cookies, and a perfect size, too; and you already knew how Jonas feels about them.

I loved the cinnamon roll cookies. They are pretty, and delicately flavored, and totally perfect with milk. I would absolutely pay for the recipe for these. Granted, without milk they are a little dry, but with milk, they come alive.

Unfortunately, Laura says, “the chocolate chip cookie…was kinda big and dry, but the flavor was good…maybe it was the freshness?” She also reports that Goldie “didn’t like them at all,” and as Laura “trust[s] her taste when it comes to vegan baked goods,” the chocolate chip is not the best cookie Violet Sweet Shoppe makes.

The spice cupcakes get their name from the addition of white pepper to the more traditional baking spices (cinnamon, cardamom, etc.). The ones we tried didn’t especially benefit from the combination, though. The frosting was very good, but the cupcakes were a little chewy, like the gluten had overdeveloped. Maybe the batter for this batch was over-mixed; maybe it sat too long before baking. These are very common baking errors. The other flavors she sold that afternoon might’ve been perfect, but I can’t say, as we only tried the spice—clever, I know. However, Crystal Rice has worked as a professional pastry chef, so I imagine our cupcakes were little aberrations.

The sale outside of Little Otsu ended in just two hours, which says something about the quality of Crystal’s talent—as well as the desire for vegan baked goods around here. Horror vacui, you guys.

Violet Sweet Shoppe takes orders for special occasions, and I suppose regular occasions if you are feeling in need like gingerbread sandwich cookie-pie heaven. Wholesale orders are also welcome. Contact information is available at the site. We are really happy to have another talented vegan baker in the city, and look forward to the next opportunity to enjoy something Crystal Rice has made.

*This was not the first documented incident of Hazel’s deliberate street-foood sabotage.
**”Goldie” is her handle. Obviously.

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