To hell with presents. The best part of any holiday is the pastries.

Looking back, I barely remember any of the gifts I got when I was young, but I’ll remember forever the rugelach, the babkas, the pecan pies, the marzipan rainbow cookies, the kugels, and the countless other consciousness-awakening delicacies descended during the holiday seasons.

These treats are precisely what make the approaching winter not-so-unkind, as Shakespeare said--though baked goods aren’t exactly what he had in mind. It’s essential to know which holiday pastries are available around the north country, and where one can get them, so that you have a holiday worth remembering.

One such place is Sunflour Bakery in Gouverneur. The bakery, co-owned by Michelle Hall and CJ Fitzgerald, opened in January of 2020.

“It has been our dream to have a bakery of our own,” Ms. Hall said.

“When COVID hit, we had to change our menu from just sweet things to include lunch wraps, paninis, soups, salads, and etc., so that essential workers could have lunch everyday because businesses around us were closing,” she said.

As for the “sweet things,” Sunflour rotates its offerings on a daily basis. However, one can always find varieties of cinnamon buns, scones, and muffins. Some such species of scone and muffin, they said, have included pumpkin chocolate-chip, raspberry, blueberry, and even orange-cranberry. Talk about festive!

They also have specialty items that change everyday. The bakery had pecan-pie bars, which were dangerously good; so good, in fact, that I think they should be deemed a controlled substance. I still shiver each night at the thought of that sweet pecan ectoplasm.

At Sunflour, there are two Christmases. One in July and, of course, the other in December. Christmas in July is a tradition they started at the bakery this year, and during both Christmases, you can find specialty cakes, Christmas cookies, cookie decorating boxes for family fun, as well as any kind of pie upon request.

One special holiday treat, which they call the ‘Shortbread Reindeer Cookie’, uses Nutterbutter to resemble the reindeer’s nose and pretzels for the ears. How sweet is that?

Those who prefer fruity desserts are in for a treat, too. Sunflour makes fruit tarts with flavors ranging from lemon curd, strawberry, blackberry, blueberry, and even kiwi or mandarin orange. If you can name it, chances are they can make it.

“Basically, if we have the ability to make it, we’ll do the best we can to fill the order,” Ms. Hall said.

Don’t think for one second that they don’t offer special libations to accompany your pastry. For starters, they sell hot-cocoa “bombs,” which, when placed in warm milk, melt into a decadent hot chocolate. David Blaine himself couldn’t conjure any magic cooler than that.

They sell Utica coffee, too, and everyday they have a house-blend called “Adirondack.” They also serve a unique coffee flavor each week. For instance, Ms. Fitzgerald said, one week it was cannoli. Sunflour serves cappuccinos, lattes, hot chocolate, and iced coffee year-round as well.

While the north country can often seem like a culinary desert, there are plenty of wonderful shops that can help make the holidays as cheery and delicious as possible. Sunflour Bakery is one of them, and you can visit from Tuesday-Saturday between 6 a.m. and 3p.m., at 1034 US-11, in Gouverneur., or they can be contacted to find out daily specials at 315-287-7400.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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