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Elliott’s Bakery

Elliott’s Bakery published on 3 Comments on Elliott’s Bakery

Elliott's BakeryWhenever I fly up to Detroit to visit my family, I always try to squeeze in a visit to Elliott’s Bakery.  Located in a retail district in the older part of Trenton, Michigan, the bakery has been in business since 1931 and is a popular hangout for local senior citizens who enjoy gathering each morning for pastries, coffee and the latest gossip.

Upon entering the bakery, you are immediately inundated by the mouth-watering aroma of baking cakes, cookies, pies and pastries and, of course, freshly brewed coffee.  This isn’t some ersatz bakery tucked into the corner of a grocery store.  This is the Real Deal.  The Genuine Article. The Real McCoy, and most definitely the Cat’s Pajamas.

On the left are the glass display cases taunting you with all manner of baked goods.  Straight ahead is the counter with the cash register – they accept cash, only – and a row of diner-style counter stools.  In the mornings, these seats will be taken up by the regular senior patrons who like to “belly up to the bar” with a hot cup of joe and “chew the fat” along with their favorite pastry.

Like an outlaw motorcycle gang hanging out at their local ice house, every time the bakery door opens, these seniors will turn around to see who it is. If they don’t know you, they’ll check you out, and I swear I’ve caught some of them reaching for their canes.

For a brief moment, you wonder if you’re about to be run out by a small army of senior citizens, because if they don’t like the looks of you, that’s exactly what might happen.  Many of these folks are war veterans – Korea, Vietnam, maybe even a World War II vet or two – or the spouses of war veterans, which pretty much adds up to the same thing.  Either way, these are not the folks you’d want to mess with.

And if they were, I’d ask you what the hell you were thinking.  Messing with senior citizens?  In a bakery?  You must be out of your mind! I mean, really!

Anyway…

Each time I venture into Elliott’s Bakery, I’m always prepared to drop the names of my grandparents who lived in the neighborhood for decades, just in case.

In addition to the counter stools, there are also several restaurant-style booths to the right of the entrance and directly across from the pastry cases.  So you can decide what else you want to eat once you’re finished eating what you’re currently cramming into your mouth.

One of Elliott’s specialties is a light, flaky butter cookie that melts in your mouth and leaves you begging for more.  They make two varieties of these culinary gems.  Their currant cookies are square shaped with tiny, chewy, purple currants throughout and sprinkled with coarse, white sugar crystals. Delicious!

The other variety is their plain butter cookie, but there’s nothing plain about it.  These cookies come in round, star shapes and are liberally topped with jimmies sprinkles whose colors change to match the appropriate season or holiday.

Everyday Jimmies:        Autumn Jimmies:

multicolored jimmies

autumn jimmies

 

 

 

 

 

 

Patriotic Jimmies:         Christmas Jimmies:

patriotic jimmies

xmas jimmies

 

 

 

 

 

These little devils are a delight to the eye as well as the palate.  The only thing that gets you to stop eating them is an empty box!

There’s another item that Elliott’s Bakery makes that has been my personal favorite since childhood:  The Cream Horn.  This delectable delight is self descriptive:  A horn-shaped cone made of light, flaky pastry filled with fluffy white icing and a decorative dusting of lovely, yet utterly superfluous, powdered sugar. The wider end of the cone is topped with a star-shaped dollop of icing, its air-exposed surface hardened into a delicate, sugary shell.

When I was a kid, I remember going to the case where the cream horns were displayed – always the same place – and eyeing them covetously, my mouth watering in anticipation.  If I were an addict, this creamy white confection would be my cocaine, and I wanted… no, needed it.  Badly! With a large glass of milk.  Oh, creamy, flaky, sugary bliss!

As far as I’m concerned, Elliott’s Bakery’s cream horns are the Standard to which all other creams horns are held, and I have yet to meet its equal.

I have since moved far away from Trenton to Houston, Texas.  I have yet to find a bakery that offers up anything even remotely close to Elliott’s specialties.  That’s okay with me, though.  Too much of a good thing can spoil the joy of it forever.

If you ever find yourself in the Detroit area and have some extra time, check out Elliott’s Bakery.  It’s located at 2636 West Jefferson Avenue, Trenton, Michigan, 48183.  Please note, however, that they are closed on Sundays.

And if you go in the early morning and encounter the Elliott’s Bakery Seniors, just smile and say “Hello.”  They won’t hurt you.  Probably.

3 Comments

And MY personal favourite pastry (and entirely separate from the cookies, because they are two distinct categories), is the Chocolate Long John- a delicious, oblong raised donut, piped full of creamy, sweet, chocolate-laced icing, and with the top slathered with a generous blanket of chocolate donut glaze. Scrumptious.

Did you know those currant cookies freeze really well? That is, if you can keep your greedy face out of the box long enough to exercise enough discipline to put them into the freezer in the first place, which is difficult…

Without a doubt, Elliott’s Bakery has set the standard that all other’s are compared to. In my life I have only found one that comes even kind of close and it wasn’t a full blown bakery, just a donut shop.

Starting when I was 3 or 4 and able to make the walk from the 3rd St. house to downtown Trenton, my mother and I had a Thursday afternoon ritual. The mail would come around 11:00. In the mail would be the weekly paycheck. We were always ready to move out upon arrival of the check. The mail would be quickly sorted, a final pit stop to the bathroom and off we’ld go. Five blocks to the south and one block east. At 3 or 4 years old, the trip seemed as long as walking the Appalachian Trail from end to end. Mom would take care of any family business at the bank, we would have lunch at Amanda’s or the Cozy Diner and do a little shopping. The final stop would always be Elliott’s. Being a little tired from all this hiking around, I was in need of refreshment. This usually came in the form of an ice cold glass of milk and a chocolate covered donut. Sometimes I would throw the lady at the counter a curve ball and get something else. But, not too often. We would sit in one of the booths, eating our donuts. Mom would be sipping a coffee and chatting with people she knew who would come in. I would be scolded at least once to not blow bubbles in my milk with the straw. Next, came the selection of what would be coming home with us. If there was a birthday in the house, it would be a cake. Otherwise a couple dozen of a variety of delicious cookies or a dozen donuts. Of course, I got to help picking those out and it was not an easy task. We would first make sure everyones favorite would be accounted for, then came the real work, filling out the rest of the dozen. Not a task to be taken lightly. We would then start the long trek back home. If I played my cards right, I could get a rest stop on the way. A few minutes to sit on the steps on the church at 3rd and Cherry St. accompanied by a butter cookie if that was our weekly take.

Every time I’m in Trenton with my family, a stop at Elliott’s is demanded. Not by me, but by my family. We get a few dozen butter cookies, some currant cookies and a loaf of cheese bread. You haven’t lived until you have had a grille cheese sandwich made from that bread. Once Elliott’s on gone, so will be downtown Trenton. It’s the last long landmark still standing there.

Thanks for reading! Please let me know what you think by leaving a comment below!

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