Dewey’s Bakery has been a landmark in Winston-Salem since 1930. It’s one of those things that is ingrained in your mind as are other local brands that make doughnuts, hot sauce, tobacco products or services like grocery stores and banks that have been around for generations. Winston-Salem “staples,” all. All of the companies in these prior categories have all found regional, national and even international success and now, it’s time for Dewey’s Bakery to do the same thing.
Earlier this week, I was privy to a sneak peek of a new line of Southern, bakery-inspired cookies and crackers that Dewey’s Bakery is getting ready to launch, not just locally, but nationally early next month. Now, you may be asking, Tim, doesn’t Dewey’s already make Moravian Cookies? and the answer to that is, yes. But, this isn’t that. Sure, those are delicious and famous, but now is the time for a new chapter in the Dewey’s Bakery chronicle.
All in all, there are six new cookie flavors and five new cracker flavors. Let’s talk cookies first.
The new cookies range from soft to crispy and the flavors are:
- Brown Butter with Sea Salt. This was my favorite cookie even though the name was a slight bit offputting. I think with the exception of brown sugar and hash browns, things that have “brown” in their name sometimes have a negative connotation and I think that could potentially be a problem with this cookie and that would be a shame because it tasted so good! But, they browned, or “toasted” the butter and added coarse sea salt, dark brown sugar and pure vanilla sea salt to it to make the cookie taste more like a toffee. In fact, Kristen Daukas and I stayed behind and talked with Dewey’s marketing folks about it and “toffee” was an alternative we suggested. But, this cookie was really good.
- Pecan Praline. Dewey’s came really close to the classic shortbread confection we call pralines or sometimes a “sandie.” They have been using the praline pecans for generations. The cookie was buttery and just the right balance of the creaminess expected in a praline and the right crispy consistency; not too crispy.
- Caramel Popcorn. This was weird for me at first but each successive bite brought a new appreciation to the concoction. It’s a soft and crispy treat all in one. It’s sweet and salty, starting with the sweetness and delivering buttery goodness in a lightly crispy cookie and then the saltiness of the caramel popcorn provides that finish. As I said, if you weren’t expecting it to be dually-based (sweet and salty) then you may be in for a shock initially, but stick with it as you’ll enjoy the outcome. Very good cookie. It tastes kind of like a Cracker Jack in cookie form.
- Banana Pudding. Dewey’s, being Southern, knows about some banana pudding. They’ve been doing it for a long time. So, when I saw this cookie, I knew it would be good. It has a soft, pull-apart texture and a comforting blend of real bananas and pure vanilla. The body of the cookie is airy, light, fluffy and, yes, banana-y. It was indulgent, true, but you didn’t feel decadent for eating it. At least I didn’t.
- Triple Chocolate Brownie. So, full disclosure, here. I love chocolate when it comes in dark, milk, semisweet and in chip, truffle or bar form. I am not a fan of chocolate cake, ice cream, brownies or other chocolate flavored things. So, I can only say that I thought it was a good representation of what it was supposed to be, it just wasn’t my favorite. In the product description, Dewey’s says you feel as though you’re savoring one of their treasured brownies fresh from their bakery ovens. They do use semi-sweet chocolate morsels and a blend of two premium dark cocoa powders.
- Lemon Bar. My other favorite of the cookies mainly because I love anything lemon. Dewey’s uses cold-pressed Meyer Lemon Oil, lemon zest and brown sugar for a sublimely tart treat bursting with citrus flavor. To top it off, literally, they give each lemony batch with a dusting of powdered sugar, making this that classic lemon bar flavor. Delicious!
- Carolina Style Barbeque. I’ll be honest, I didn’t taste the “Lexington style” BBQ in this, but it did have a slight vinegarish tang and smokey, savory flavor. I could have used a little more BBQ flavor and not the BBQ potato kind. That being said, I enjoyed eating it.
- Sharp Aged Cheddar. Dewey’s describes this as being like a cheese straw and that is exactly what it tastes like. Just enough of the cheddar to offer that tangy-yet-savory bite that it is supposed to deliver but the cracker isn’t a “crisp” as much as a softer cracker, which is fine with me. That was, again, more in the realm of the cheese straw. This was probably my second favorite cracker flavor.
- Chipotle Cheddar Cornbread. Because this is made with cornmeal and sweet corn, and you mix the savory spice of the smoked Chipotle peppers, throwing in a bit of the Extra Sharp Cheddar, the finish of this cracker really does taste like the jalapeno or other hot pepper cornbread my family used to make. Chipotle is just a dried jalapeno that is smoked so, that makes sense to me. The cracker is crispy but the flavor is more spongy like a true cornbread. I’d go with my third favorite of the crackers on this one.
- Sweet Potato with Cinnamon and Brown Sugar. As with the chocolate cookies, I don’t particularly care for sweet potatoes, no matter how they’re prepared. I would rather just have white potatoes. Dewey’s says this was “inspired by sweet potato casserole baked fresh for Sunday supper.” The crackers are made with North Carolina sweet potatoes grown on farms not far from Winston-Salem. There are also touches of cinnamon and brown sugar, too. I did try it and I will say that I thought it tasted good, it is just that sweet potatoes are not my thing.
- Low Country Boil. This was my favorite of the cracker flavors. You can really taste the Old Bay in the cracker. Low Country Boil is generally made with shellfish, corn on the cob, Kielbasa or some other Polish sausage style, red potatoes and sometimes ham. Now, granted you’re not tasting shrimp, corn on the cob or the rest of that, but you do get a savoriness that is kicked over the top with the “old bay-like” seasoning. I would love to try this with some very good crab or lobster dip. I think it would be the perfect pairing.
I mentioned Dewey’s Bakery going nationwide with these new creations. In fact, they have partnered with The Fresh Market to start the ball rolling. They are going to be on other grocers’ shelves, as well, but they’re starting with The Fresh Market. The crackers and cookies will be available starting in October. If you live outside of Winston-Salem, you may not be familiar with Dewey’s Bakery, but you soon will. If your grocery store carries them, grab some and sample them. If the grocers don’t carry them, ask for them. You won’t be sorry.
Winston-Salem folk can sample these lovely treats on October 1 by visiting one of the area’s Dewey’s Bakery locations (262 South Stratford Road and 2876 Reynolda Road). Tell them that The Man Who Ate the Town sent you!
All Pictures Courtesy of Dewey’s Bakery and All Rights Are Assumed