When Your Husband Sits Next To A Goddess & Other Rainy Day Baker Thoughts


It’s a rainy day and so I tried to cut the morning walk short but Jake wasn’t having any of it.  Come on, I say to him, and walk a few steps towards home.  He gives me a long stare and then glances left.   Smart dog.  Right is the park; forward is another park and both are out of the question and anyway there will be no dogs or people, only wet and mud.  Left is merely the long way home and of course I relent cursing mildly because he doesn’t try this shit with the husband, whom Jake adores more than life itself; theirs is a bromance for the ages, that’s what Jake thinks or anyway it looks like he thinks that what with all the worshipful gazing and instant obedience.  To be fair I get my share of worshipful gazes too or at least my right hand does,  The Food Bearing Hand as Jake  clearly thinks of it.  He always glances at the hand before my face which I try not to be offended by because being known in a dog’s heart as The Bringer of Food is not a bad thing at all and inspires its own dogged loyalties.  Jake  doesn’t like to be out in heavy rain but today’s umbrella defying slanty-misty-blowy affair suits him just fine.  He stands at the top of Pacific Avenue and waits as I trudge up the hill and he cuts a fine figure silhouetted against the sunrise, ears back, tail and nose up and into the tricky wind.  A construction worker hops out of his truck and Jake greets him enthusiastically and  you can see how it is just making this guy’s day, the two of them do a little dance of hello-how-are-you-aren’t-we-good-boys and by now my wool hat has reached the 50% rain saturation point but the air is relatively warm and I like the whispery sound the tires make on the wet pavement which is shiny with the reflected sunrise.  I am grateful not to be making deliveries on such a day when the narrow arteries of the FIDI are choked with delivery vehicles and those speedy little DPT munchkin cars.  green spider.pngOn the way home we pass the newly finished modern house and they have perched on the roof a huge blow up black and neon green spider wearing sunglasses with not eight but only two eyeholes just going to prove that you can spend a lot of money and still not have any taste.   On the other hand motion detectors cause it to actually turns its enormous head at our approach which startles me but this small bit of effectiveness does not redeem it anymore than Melania Trump  redeems Donald. Despite the stresses of running a 7,000 square foot bakery being inside of one is always nice on a day like today, it’s cold and blowy outside but inside it’s warm as a giant womb with nice dry hot vanilla scented air wooshing out of the convection ovens.   The wind rattles the metal floor to ceiling garage doors like zombies dying to get inside, where all is competing radio stations and the banging rattling clanking of big machinery doing its big jobs, the dog curled up on his bed in the corner of the office for once not begging to go visit all of his friends in this South San Francisco neighborhood of warehouse businesses filled with restaurants, caterers, car repair and paint companies, dry cleaners and based on the smell over by the RV storage lots, a shit ton of cannabis.We turn the final corner of the walk and the rain picks up and I channel the husband and command-not-ask Jake to come now please monsieur and also take off running because he can’t resist following me when I run and together we race up the 50 steps in front of the house and not for the first time I congratulate myself on finding a place that requires one to climb a mountain at the end of a long backbreaking day because every athlete knows the real training doesn’t begin until you are already tired. The husband calls from South Dakota because rain in the city means snow in the mountains. He is a powder hound through and through so you can imagine how I felt when he sent the text from the airport that every woman dreads “Hey guess what I am sitting next to Lindsey Vonn”  because even I am attracted to Lindsey Vonn because who could compare to Lindsey fucking Vonn she is a Viking goddess who is also a big mountain skier and she was on a box of Wheaties for God’s sake (which I bought. and ate.)  and I pray although I am an atheist that she is dumb as a rock because the husband will find this disappointing and demote her from Goddess to ordinary mortal hotness.  She looks a bit masculine the husband texts and I know he is just trying to make me feel better but I appreciate the gesture nonetheless because he also knows that I am looking at that magazine in the rack that has Lindsey posing in a bikini and skis in a real thigh burner of a position and she is fucking Hotness itself and then he texts that she wears more makeup than he expected jake sings.pngand also has a cocker spaniel and me and my make-up less face relax because no cocker spaniel can hold a candle to a chocolate labrador once they’ve gotten inside your heart they are written there forever and I’ve already texted the husband that if he leaves me for Lindsey I am taking Jake as the consolation prize which would only be fair.  The phone rings and it is Bill saying the new kitchen will be ready to tour next week and I jump up and down in the privacy of my own kitchen where the rain is lashing the windows in earnest and Jake jumps with me, and seconds later has laid the disembodied arm of his beloved stuffed orangutan at my feet and though the books say you should never let the dog win at tug of war I will let him and nonchalantly start eating a piece of toast which will cause Jake to drop the arm and begin drooling and I will give Jake the toast and seize the arm and go running down the hall waving and yelling how I have climbed the mountain and am victorious! with Jake bounding after me barking  but not loudly because we are indoors after all and he is a good dog.


The Accidental Francophile

When we have time for TV we like to pile on the couch with garlic popcorn and the dog and watch the cooking competitions.

It’s not how you start, our favorite chef is fond of saying, and we finish right along with him, “It’s how you finish!”

But really of course, it’s how you start *and* finish.

The week definitely got off to an interesting start, touched with a little French magic.  Before deliveries I go to meet Svetlana for coffee and a catch up and to review her second pass at the tattoo she is designing for me.

My drive to the cafe is  an obstacle course of  waiting Uber drivers, disembarking Lyft passengers,  a zillion meal delivery services  with their smugly flashing hazard lights and what seems like a billion cyclists pedaling nonchalantly through the hilly traffic, way way too trusting (if you ask me) that their fellow motorists are paying adequate attention to their small, vulnerable bodies whizzing through space just inches from tons of fast moving metal.

I am running a little late because my GPS has decided to be mysteriously silent and my knowledge of the neighborhood  is sketchy at best, and I am roundly cursing Siri when I turn a corner and I see a parking spot that I almost pass up, it is that too good to be true.

As I gather my purse etc. I notice the motorcycle in the spot in front of me.  It is a sexy black and orange street machine and as I get out of the car I ask the nearby owner if I can take a picture.

frenchman!“But of course!” he says, with a gallant little bow.  I do a countdown so he can be in the pic if he wants to, and to my surprise he wants to, and even with his helmet on you can see/feel his big smile.

“Here,” I give him a four pack of mini-canelés – the Dark Chocolate Chunk which are like little French kisses from someone maybe you oughtn’t be kissing – and he says

“What are zese?”  I tell him canelés de Bordeaux and he throws his arms out wide. “But I am French!” he says, then clasps his hands at his breast he says “Mademoiselle I love you!”

I reflect this is a good start to the week, when a man on a motorcycle declares his love  just on the strength of how my pastries look in the box.

bento menu.PNGDo three Frenchmen who love your French pastry= a trend? I am going to say yes.  Chef M is another Gallic fan of Dark Chocolate Chunk canelés – the full size for him, no fussy mini can-cans.

“Bring me some so we can take a picture for our smartphone app,” he texts me.  “Then I will EAT IT!”

I was hoping they’d advertise the canelés just that way on the app screen, –  maybe with huge stark words Eat It! superimposed on the shining, fluted sides of a canelé – but no such luck, it just says Chocolate Canelé.  Still it looks yummy and there is no validation in this business like a Frenchman’s (or Frenchwoman’s).

babelleIn other validating news, famous French restaurant person Pascal Rigo will be adding flavored canelés  at his new, rustic relaunch of La Boulangerie de San Francisco.  “You’re doing a good job here,” he told us when we brought him a tasting and trembled for the verdit. We’re betting he starts with pecan and bacon.

Across the pond, the sexy canulier team at  Babelle  are plying London with gorgeously flavored, richly decorated canelés, flirting with me on Twitter with that fizzy effervescent Frenchness that they have.  Her canelés look like bouquets of flowers (and sound like them too, with names such as Athena and Clea to denote flavors like lavendar and violet.)  We predict 2016 will be the year of the canelé.  Stay tuned.

Svetlana needs another week or two on the design which is fine, if there is one thing you don’t want to rush, it’s anything about the tattoo process.  She introduces me to the baristas and I wish I had a video of the time she ate four bacon canelés one-two-three-four at a party where she made and served us all borscht and we all  sat on her bed to eat it.  Somehow I left with a pair of her boots, and we’ve been friends ever since.

burl 1

We are at the market rain or shine, and Saturday is rainy while Sunday is, if not shiny, at least not wet.   Dave the salmon guy is back from knee surgery and the day is a a steady stream of customers asking him how he is recovering.

A woman I recognize as the Chocolate One (she always gets dark chocolate chunk and dark chocolate pecan) runs up to the table and dramatically announces that she ONLY comes to the market for our canelés and has been panicked! absolutely panicked! that I was no longer coming to the market. I tell her we just celebrated one year in business and anyway she can just order online and she actually claps.

Give me TWO boxes, she says, and adds THE BIG ONES, and she positively cackles and for a split second she reminds me, in her casual just-woke-up gray sweats and tousled hair, of Scrooge leaning out the window and shouting at the boy to got down and get the prize turkey in the window, “the one as big as I am!”.

All in all it is a slow day at the market what with the slanty rainy weather and the holidays just behind us. The till is down a few hundred from my usual take and on the way home I try to be philosophical about it.  After all I did get the chance to check on Dave after his knee, and talk acupuncture for back pain with Greg the sausage guy.  The scone guy now has not one but *two* bacon flavors and is thinking of ditching the HR thing and going full time on the scone thing.

How’d it go, my husband asks as my bedraggled self comes in.  Was it worth going?

I pause.  Our sales are down about 30% from average, but are already climbing, with the steady return of our regular customers.  There is Gail, who reports her husband is now pre-diabetic and we discuss the possibility of trying to make a canelé with Stevia. Hmmmm.  There is Ellen who is at the Saturday market instead of her usual Sunday appearance, appearing out of the umbrella crowd with a big grin and with a satisfying large order of classic vanilla.

There is the gluten free family – a very slender, nice mom and two daughters – one gets a mini chocolate, the older one with the mini-mom face gets a classic vanilla gluten free.  I always give the young one a sticker which she puts on her hand.  Thanks for advertising me! I tell her and she shyly looks away, then back at me, then bites the  chocolate top off her pastry.

It was  fine, I tell my husband, a little low. But good! As I speak my phone buzzes in my pocket. It is a notification from our online store, from the Chocolate One.

“Good to see you today!” it reads, where the space for “Messages” is on the order form. “p.s. I”m going to send these to ALL of my friends!”

My phone buzzes with each new notification of a new sale – boxes going to Pennsylvania and Texas, Ohio and Arizona and Missouri…..all of a sudden the weekend deposits are no longer anemic but positively robust.

And voila, just like that, the week has a magical finish equal to its romantic French start.

Try to start your week with a little French love, that’s my recommendation.  See where it takes you from there.


Nighttime at the Bakery

night time at the bakeryTonight we are baking with gluten free flour for the first time.  As I write this the canelés have 30 more minutes, and the aroma filling the bakery is as yummy vanilla-y as always, a good sign.  Canelé batter is notoriously finicky and we won’t really know for another two hours – the time it takes to complete baking, cooling, and removing the pastries from the molds –  if the gamble will pay off.  I hope so.

Patience may be a virtue but if I could speed things along I would.  Of course I can’t, so won’t, which is on reflection maybe a good thing, because hurrying through the baking process is the antithesis of what French cooking is all about, and canelés with their 17-step, takes-48-hours process are the epitome of all that is French about baking. Sighing, I resign myself to sniffing the delicious air, waiting and hoping.

I turn up the tunes and the lonesome hillbilly tones of Chris Isaac fill the bakery, and I reflect that blasting your music as loud as you want in ~5,000 square feet is a perk I never considered when first beginning this endeavor.

At first it scared me to be in the bakery at night. It was big and unfamiliar and shadowy, full of mysterious, looming equipment and strange noises. The metal loading doors in the shipping and receiving bays rattle incessantly with the wind, often sounding just like a person (or a horde of zombies) outside pounding to get in.   More than once my heart has frozen in my chest at the sound, but now I barely hear it and when I do, I figure if it’s zombies it’s more likely they will be of the slow shambling George Romero ilk than the speedy ragey  24-Hours-Later variety Danny Boyle has so helpfully envisioned.

I am not unduly worried because given the sheer size of the bakery, slow zombies I can easily evade – not to mention slice, dice and bake. I drive home past a graveyard with more than 137,000 gravestones so a zombie uprising is a matter I give frequent thought to.hansel and gretel

Like I said, the equipment was scary at first: oversized versions of household items that seemed sinister if not in their purpose, then their awful possibilities.

Take the ovens, large enough for me to stand up inside; they always make me  think, nervously, of Hansel and Gretel.  One can all too easily imagine the Witch burning up inside, casting spells furiously through the window as she cooked to an even, convection-perfect crisp.

My good friend Tricia for some reason thought it would be a fun way to spend her vacation, cleaning Hobart mixers and power washing bakery racks in 100 plus degree heat, so what could I do but indulge her.  So there we were sweating away in our tank tops and baseball hats with our ponytails sticking through that divot in the back.

Apparently the ovens have the same dark, imagination-stimulating effect on everyone because Tricia wasn’t in the place more than three hours before she was pretending to be stuck inside, screaming, like an actress on the set of one of the Final Destination Sequels and I laughed but also made sure she got out of there pronto despite the door being unlatched and there being absolutely no power going to the oven or even that part of the building.

The sight of her in there made me wonder whatever happened to Gretel after she escaped the Witch.   Did she go on to be happy? Maybe own a bakery, where the ovens held a dark pull over her as she worked late into the night making delicious things for people from a secret recipe with a super special secret ingredient that a certain Witch might well recognize?

Despite their intimidating hulk that seems to promise complexity, the ovens are surprisingly easy to operate (which for some reason  makes the things that much more unnerving).  When the big oven door is swung open, the heat that wooshes out is an invisible, physical wave,  stirring your netted hair and fogging your glasses. e2

The giant mixers took some getting used to. – we have a 40 quart, a 60 quart and an 80 quart mixer, and their size is outlandish, with a someone-waved-a-wand quality that makes the work  we do – pouring milk or adding flour 15 gallons or pounds at a time – seem simultaneously serious and absurd.

Standing near the mixers always makes me feel out of scale, like I’m Alice after eating the cake, as if, should I wander outside, I might find the parking lot filled with seagulls the size of gorillas, patrolling the dumpsters and looking at me framed in my open yellow bakery door with intelligent, undue interest.

The scale is something you adjust to.  A few days ago the husband decided to bake muffins. This was at home, in our cozy kitchen with its suddenly strange, seemingly shrunken appliances.  He pulled out a baking sheet that looked about the size of a postage stamp.  We stared at it dubiously.

“It looks like a toy!” said the husband, and I agreed, normal kitchen-sized cookware looked decidedly unsubstantial, as if they couldn’t possibly hold enough food for normal-sized people.  The muffins turned out fine, though.

The blast chiller is another piece of equipment that seems almost Lovecraftian in its possibilities.   Within seconds, the supercooled air goes from refreshing to holy-god-that-is-COLD-I’-need-to-get-out-of-here-NOW.  It’s the kind of arctic cold that forcibly reminds you that no matter how immortal you might feel, you couldn’t survive the elements if they decided to get as radical as the temperature inside the mouth of a blast chiller (or, for that matter, mongo oven).  I have visions of the husband opening the door to find me inside like a human ice sculpture, icicles growing from my nose, ears and fingers all the way to the floor.

After moths of late nights where we worked until we fell asleep on the CostCo folding tables until it was light enough to rise zombie-like to work again, we were ready to pass our inspections. Months of baking have not  bred the contempt promised by familiarity, but time has definitely de-mystified the equipment, and today I no longer peer sideways into the ovens as I walk by…though I have been known, still, to flinch when the wind gusts  and shakes the loading doors in their aluminum frames.

Wishing you sweet dreams…..

Just Another Day at the Farmer’s Market

We wake at 4:45a and go about our morning routine without much talk. Coffee is made, toast consumed, a checklist of items to carry out to the car reviewed: the cash drawer primed with ones, fives, tens and quarters, a big baggie of kibble for the dog’s breakfast and lunch, freshly laundered aprons, the mobile phone credit card reader.

The dog sleeps through all of this and must be coaxed out of his warm bed to venture into the chilly pre-dawn. He moves slowly, clearly hoping we will change our minds and all pile back into bed to sleep another two hours but such is not to be.

IMG_0275On the drive to the bakery we review the tasks in front of us to ready for the market; pastries to be boxed up in bins, the tent and folding tables to pack. We pause our talk to admire the sunrise, all roseate gold light reflected in the bay to our left. We will each move constantly over the next three hours, careening around the bakery in our separate, efficient orbits, someone calling out a time check every fifteen minutes or so.

Did you wash the trays?
Where is the sample cutter?
We’re out of stickers to seal boxes, are there more?
Are there any more zip ties to hold the signs onto the tent?
Did you load the sandbags?
Don’t forget the hand washing station!

At eight o’clock sharp we roll out of the bakery.  It’s a short drive, and in twenty minutes we are at the market and unloading.   A market employee is there with a clipboard, ensuring that the vendors are arriving in plenty of time to set up; although the market doesn’t officially start until 9a, vendors are expected to be set up at least twenty minutes before, and latecomers risk losing their weekly stall reservation.

Although we are more than a half hour early, customers have begun to queue, bags already stuffed with produce.  We’ve been coming to this market for going on six months and have built a following of regulars, who line up with correct change (the farmers market friend).   We scramble to wait on them even as we struggle to get the tent up and canelés out of their boxes and  onto their covered display trays, which instantly fog with steam.

herb at the marketFor the next four hours we will stand without a break, bagging and boxing customer purchases, answering questions and making change.  There will be no time to eat, and we will drink water sparingly to avoid needing bathroom breaks.

The day starts chilly and overcast and customers are wearing jackets and long sleeves, but by ten the sun is shining with an intensity customary to the penninsula. The warmth is nice on my neck and the canelés glow gorgeously in the yellow California sunlight, seemingly a million miles (though geographically, only twelve) from our fog-swaddled house near the Presidio with it’s gloomy, soaring Lord of the Ring eucalyptus trees.

The stream of customers flowing by our tent grows from desultory to steady.  The regulars push and pull all manner of conveyances for their market booty; baguettes and sunflower heads and lettuces of every shade of green imaginable poke from bags and totes and stroller pockets and red Radio Flyer wagons.

My iphone says the temperature is 72 but it feels much warmer, and the farmer’s market browsers seem to agree; men doff their fleeces and stroll about in short sleeves, moms tote babies in sun hats., teen girls sport tank tops and swirly sun dresses.  Families herd children in baseball and soccer uniforms, their arms tanned a sunburnt brown.

row of canelesMost of the people stopping at our stall have never heard of canelés, and, attracted by their glossy, inviting perfection, want to know about the origin (French) ingredients (simple), flavors (today: five) and how they’re made (a ridiculously complex 17 step process that takes 48 hours from start to finish). So many people stop by we talk, it seems, nonstop, and at the end of the day I’ll need Ricola lozenges and green tea to soothe my throat.

Most of the vendors here have another, ‘real’ job – the one that pays the bills and funds their aspiration to turn their market stall into a full-time flourishing business.  The seller of scones is an HR executive; the ceramic artist owns a carpet cleaning business.  They are boot-strapping entrepreneurs in the truest tradition, though few of their well-heeled customers see them that way — our market location is near the heart of Silicon Valley, where the word entrepreneur has come to be associated almost exclusively with software startups that will go on to become billion dollar businesses returning VC capital infusions by a factor of 100x.

During my own software startup years I would visit the farmer’s market of a Saturday, and allow myself to somewhat romantically think that the market vendors there with their singular focus on a single product they totally controlled had it easier than technology workers –  less hours, more control, and an abundance of good food (starting with their own) so easily accessible.

As it happens, the hours I put in at my technology jobs, not to mention my training as an ultra runner, have been the perfect warmup for the grueling hours I put in as the founder and 85% of the workforce of my fledgling food start-up.   In the first six months, eighteen hours days were so common that I routinely fell asleep at stop lights.

Those bleary nights seem far behind as we serve the eager customers crowding the front of the stand. It’s a beautiful spring day and somewhere in the market a high school marching band is putting on a spirited exhibition; during their break, two of the band members will appear at the booth and buy mini canelés, then amid cries of “Oh my God  you guys these are UNBELIEVABLE!” return with the entire band to buy one of every flavor, size and package.

france (1)A Frenchman stops by to ask, “May I ask, why canelés?” We chat about all things canelés (he is from the Bordeaux region, as it turns out). They are the best thing, when they are made right, he enthuses.  He calls us naughty Americans for adding flavors to the classic recipe.  Sacré bleu! he exclaims in mock horror at my flavor listing….but in the end buys a classic vanilla (naturally)…….and pineapple cancan, which I consider a moral victory.

A woman walks up and says oooh, they are so pretty, what are they? The Frenchman winks conspiratorially as he answers her, They are the most incredible thing your mouth can ever imagine! He turns to leave, saying to me over his shoulder with a mouth full of canelé: These are just right. I sketch a curtsy with my apron, we all laugh.

A middle-aged woman with a somewhat stern and unsmiling countenance hands me exact change for her regular order, two boxes of classic vanilla.  She is one of those people blessed with a commanding voice which is perhaps unsurprising given her occupation – she is a flight attendant, sometimes coming to our booth before or after her shift in the sky, her crisp blue uniform and sensible heels startling amid the crowd in its California casual fleece tops and sandals.

The flight attendant  has appeared every Saturday since our first chaotic market day, but though I am grateful for her loyalty I find her a bit intimidating to talk to. Today I resolve to break through her reserve (and my own); handing over her pristine white boxes of canelés, I shyly offer a free pineapple cancan and am surprised how quickly her reserve cracks open.  She gives me an unexpectedly lovely smile that warms her face.  Why thanks, she says in her low, throaty voice.  I really appreciate that!

april pineappleWe appreciate your loyalty, I tell her, and she says Well, you will have a lot of loyal customers like me, because these – she gestures with her box of canelés –  are So. Good.   Her authoritative contralto voice gives the statement the ring of an incantation, or a blessing, which I instantly take to heart.

One o’clock rolls around quickly and we pack up efficiently. The sounds of tables and tents breaking down always reminds me of that Jackson Browne song, The Load Out, the one about the roadies taking the stage, the one with the Frankie Valley falsetto asking the audience  to stay a little bit longer:

Pack it up and tear it down
They’re the first to come and last to leave…..
….I can hear the sound
Of slamming doors and folding chairs

As we work, we amuse ourselves by guessing at the tally in the cash drawer. My daughter does the official count: we have tied with our biggest day, it turns out, and we are in a celebratory mood as we drive off.   I like that lady, says my daughter abruptly out of the blue and I know without having to ask that she means the flight attendant with her omniscient sounding voice.

I do too, I say, and  smile as we pull away, singing Jackson Brown under my breath

People you’ve got the power over what we do
You can sit there and wait
Or you can pull us through..
Oh won’t you staaaaaay,
just a little bit longer……

Wherefore Art Thou, O Canelé?

canele and cancansWhy canelé? people ask, after I sold my software startup and bought and restored a commercial bakery, where we focus on (and only on) the delectrable canelé.

And I think of all the things I could say in answer.  I think,

Canelés because they are the perfect coffee companion.
Canelés because they are made from all the good things.
copper canele mold
Canelés because it’s mysterious to make them – a process with a high degree of difficulty.
Canelés because it’s well worth the required persnickety perfectionism.
Canelés because they are also the perfect wine companion.
Canelés because they are as beautiful to look at as they are to eat.
Canelés because we were tired of years of puffed up dried out flat out indifferent tasting pastry from San Francisco’s many gourmet coffee purveyors.
Canelés because mini canelés cancans are as adorable as they are delicious.

chipsCanelés because flavors like caramelized pecan and Ghirardelli dark chocolate chunk.
Canelés because seasonal variations like pumpkin, eggnog, pineapple.
Canelés because savory and sweet flavors are equally good.
Canelés because…bacon canelé.
Canelés because they make a great bring-with-you to brunch, or dinner.
Canelés because not too sweet, and totally satisfying.
47Canelé because mini canelés cancns are just 47 calories each.
Canelés because rum scented.
Canelés because it’s time San Francisco’s treat was something other than Rice-A-Roni.
nun (1)
Canelés because they have a 300 year old history.
Canelés because little copper molds.
Canelés because the chocolate pecan ones are especially awesome right out of the freezer, like a frozen Snickers from heaven.
choc chunk canele
Canelés because creamy custardy interior like a portable crème brûlée.
Canelés because crisp caramelized exterior.
Canelés because the textures and flavors open up as you chew so you start with an oh but end with an ooooooooooooh (la la).
Canelés because it means ‘fluted for her pleasure’ (actually just fluted, I added the pleasure part).
Canelé because it’s fun to say!

Canelés because cancan means scandalous and that’s how mini-canelés taste, like a delicious little scandal you can’t wait to repeat.
Canelés because the four pack of Classic Vanilla have a satisfying heft in your hand,
like happiness ready to happen.stairway

But more often than not I simply hand the asker a canelé, because one bite, and they have the answer themselves.

You can buy canelés online here.  Canelés are shelf stable for 4-5 days, and can be frozen with impuity! Just thaw and serve, or take directly from the freezer and heat in the oven at 375 for 15 minutes.