By Sarah Morin
“I can’t play favorites with my sweets,” confesses Julie Paul. “Everyday it changes. If something isn’t a favorite, I work tirelessly to make it that way.”
Paul is the owner of Sweet and Sassy Confections, one of the newest vendors at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market. She bakes homemade cookies, biscotti, buttercream cookie sandwiches, and mini cakes out of her home, and sells the items at the farmers’ market on Saturdays. She also will be part of the Taste NY group of vendors at the Saratoga Racetrack during the track season, and fills orders via her web site, sweetsassyconfections.com.
As someone who grew up in the area, she says she always has loved the Saratoga Farmers’ Market, and strives to offer her customers the highest quality of products possible. She bakes in small batches from scratch and does not use processed ingredients, preservatives or pre-made mixes or fillings. Paul also uses fresh and local products whenever possible.
“People that visit the market appreciate the quality of product they find there and the time spent producing it,” said Paul, adding that Saratoga is an area where she’d like her business to grow.
Paul says she began baking as therapy. “It started as just an outlet for stress while I was in school and quickly became an obsession,” she said. She began Sweet and Sassy Confections in 2010, and is licensed to bake out of her home. As her business continues to grow, she continues to love the fact that she gets to be creative every day and taste all of the finished products to satisfy her sweet tooth.
“I love how happy a sweet treat can make people,” Paul says. “As someone with a huge sweet tooth, I know how just a single cookie or piece of cake can brighten your day. That’s why dessert is always used in celebration, I loved being a part of that for people.”
Even if Paul refuses to play favorites with her sweets, she does have a recommendation for first-time customers: One of her cookies, an item she calls the “World’s Best Chocolate Chip!” “I’ve been told it’s the best people have ever had,” said Paul, adding that she gave the item its name for that reason.
The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is open 3-6 p.m. Wednesdays and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays May through October at High Rock Park.
Cherry Almond Scones
Recipe courtesy of Julie Paul
Makes 8 scones
*Ingredients found at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market
• 2 cups flour
• 1/3 cup sugar
• 1 Tbsp baking powder
• 1/2 tsp salt
• 4 oz cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
• 1 cup fresh Farmers Market cherries, pitted and cut into quarters * (measured after cut)
• 1/2 cup sliced almonds (and more for topping)
• 11/4 cup heavy cream *
• 2 tsp almond extract
• 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
• 2 Tbsp water
• 1 tsp Almond Extract
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium sized mixing bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or by hand until it resembles a very coarse meal, with large chunks of butter still remaining.
Mix in cherries and almonds and place bowl in the freezer for 10 minutes.
Sprinkle some flour on a wooden surface and remove mix from the freezer. Combine heavy cream and almond extract in a measuring cup. Add 1 cup to the mix. Combine with a fork until it comes together, dough will be sticky.
Using your hands, form the dough into a large ball and place on the floured surface. Sprinkle a little more flour on top and form into a large flat disk with your hands.
Using a large knife or bench scraper, cut into 8 equal triangles. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and brush with remaining cream.
Bake at 450 degrees for 12 minutes. Cool completely.
Whisk together confectioner’s sugar with water and almond extract until it is a thick drizzle (may need more water), drizzle over scones.