Category Archives: Connecticut

a puppy & valencia luncheria

hubs and i drove up to connecticut this weekend to pick-up harry, our new puppy! he’s a black & white tibetan terrier, who at 3 months is weighing in at a whopping 7 lbs 14 oz.  he’ll be making future guest appearances on the blog. . . well, that is until he learns to write his own!

on our way up to the breeder, hubs and i made a pit-stop in norwalk, where we ate at valencia luncheria, Continue reading

baking up the sono brownies

i’m onto my third brownie recipe.  this time it’s from the sono baking company. these brownies are moist and delicious. dense and fudgy, they’ve got little bits of melted chocolate chips mixed in that give it an extra goo-iness.  i’d say that the baked brownie has got more chocolate intensity (but then that’s probably highlighted by the salt and not a very good apples – to – apple comparison) and that thomas keller’s version has a bit more buttery richness.  the sono brownies, however, take the prize for moistness!

well if you want to bake them at home and judge for yourself, here’s the sono version, with my adaptations an all:

Sono Brownies
(makes on 8×8 inch square pan of brownies,  about 12 if cut into long rectangles)

Flour ½ cup
Cocoa powder, unsweetened ½ cup
Salt ½ tsp
Baking powder ¼ tsp
Baking soda a pinch
Butter ½ cup
Sugar 1 cup (I used about ¾ cups)
Corn Syrup 1 tbsp ( I substituted with honey as I have no corn syrup at home)
Eggs 2 large ones
Vanilla extract 1 tbsp
Semi-sweet chocolate chips 1 cup
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350ºF.  Butter and flower an 8×8 inch baking pan and set aside
  2. Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder and soda in a medium sized bowl and set aside.
  3. Melt butter in the microwave (about 1 minute).  Remove from microwave and pour into the bowl of your standmixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
  4. Add in sugar and honey/corn syrup.  Mix together on high until smooth.
  5. Turn the mixer down to medium speed and Add in eggs one at a time and then vanilla until well incorporated.
  6. Reduce speed to lowest setting.  Add in the dry ingredients and mix until some of the flour/cocoa powder is still visible.
  7. Turn off mixer and fold in chocolate chips.
  8. Transfer the batter to the baking pan and smooth the top with your spatula.
  9. Bake for 30 minutes and then remove from oven to cool.
  10. When cooled to room temperature, invert and cut into desired shapes.

field trip to sono baking company

i purchased john barricelli’s baking book a few weeks back.  it was filled with such wonderful recipes that i convinced  hubby, g and i to take a little field trip up to his bakery south norwalk, ct. it’s about an hour drive from downtown manhattan.  the bakery itself is a full-fledged commercial facility located in what looks like an old warehouse/factory space from the outside.  i could smell flour while walking past its loading dock space.  once inside, the bakery is arranged rather cheerfully with yellow walls, brightly lit pastry cases for delicate cakes and off white wooden counters topped with granite for the freshly baked croissants and tarts.   i couldn’t decided what i wanted what inside.  should i get cheesecake, strawberry cheesecake, a tomato tartlet, an almond croissant or the whole store?  i ended up buying (1) an apricot, pistachio and almond cream tart and (2) a plum filled tart. they were both quite delicious, although i preferred the apricot tart.  (as you can see, i sneaked a bite before remembering to snap a photo).

i did find somewhat remarkable that john so generously included in his book the recipes for so many of the baked goods actually sold at his store.  i will certainly be baking up some of his recipes that i didn’t get around to at home.

sono baking company also offers breakfast and lunch options, like omelets, eggs, sandwiches and soups — though the offerings tend to be more limited on sundays.  there’s some indoor and outdoor seating — strictly self-service. large windows are installed towards the back of the store, allowing us to peak in at the bakers at work.  while there, we watched on one of the bakers roll and shape croissants — talk about speedy!  — and i saw perhaps one of the largest stand mixers i’ve ever set my eyes upon.  commercial baking is a whole different animal from home baking.

Sono Baking Company
101 Water Street
Norwalk, CT 06854-3012
(203) 847-7666

Mon 7am-3pm
Tue-Sat 7am-5pm
Sun 7am-4pm