Cayenne and clove; sage and almond; citrus and basil; chocolate and black pepper. For a home baker whose culinary schooling was more a matter of fueling three sons than any type of classical training, Marcie Place of The Chocolate Spoon has a knack for unique flavor combinations that are as tactful as they are tasty. Many of the herbs she uses come straight from the market, resulting in a refreshing zest unique to her creations.
Although it might be those market-fresh herbs that make Marcie’s baked goods so scrumptious, her background in home baking plays a part, too. She recalls spending a lot of time in the kitchen cooking for three hungry sons, one of whom was a runner for Saratoga Springs High School. When race day approached and it was time to “carbo-load,” it was her cookies and cakes that came to the rescue. But, “Once he left for college, I still kept baking,” Marcie remembers. She found that the baked goods began to pile up in the kitchen, and so with the magic of a mother’s love she began The Chocolate Spoon, a home-based business in Saratoga Springs.
True to her roots as a home baker, Marcie makes it a priority to bake in small batches, with a quick turn over. All of her products are made within 24 hours of their sale, keeping her cookies either soft or crisp and her cakes fresh. All cookie packages at The Chocolate Spoon are priced at $2.00, cupcakes are $3.00 and teacakes are $9.00. “I want people to feel like they’re in a candy shop,” Marcie says, adding that the reasonable price allows customers to try a variety of different options. Now in her second year at the market, Marcie remarks that the chocolate black pepper cookies, as well as her favorite blueberry lemon teacakes, have been quick to become customer favorites.
You can try some of Marcie’s unique flavor combinations—or stick with another best-seller, her classic chocolate chip cookie—Wednesdays and Saturdays at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market.
Lime & Cinnamon Basil Cookies
The farm-fresh egg and cinnamon basil in this recipe are available at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market.
2 cups flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
2/3 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 farm-fresh egg
1 tsp good vanilla
1 tbsp grated lime peel
3 tbsp freshly chopped cinnamon basil
Sift all the dry ingredients together. Beat butter and sugar together. Add egg, vanilla, basil and lime zest until fluffy. Add dry ingredients in four batches. Turn dough onto floured surface, divide into 4.
Make each roll 5 inches long and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill at least 1 hour or overnight. Slice the dough 1/8th inch thick and place 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8 minutes at 375 degrees until only lightly browned. Cool and coat in powdered sugar. Enjoy!
Adapted in part by cooks.com