Our Seasonal Fall menu includes an Apple Pumpkin Bundt Cake, Pumpkin Bread, White-Chocolate Pumpkin Biscotti, a Gleuten Free Apple Oat Muffin, and (starting tomorrow, Saturday Oct. 6th) Maple Bacon Scones.
Check out this post for more about our Fall Seasonal Drink Menu or keep reading to get to know the woman behind all the baked goodness at Coffea.
I sat down with Coffea’s in-house baker, Hannah Tollefson, to talk about what she's cooking up, what defines "Fall Flavors," and what makes baking a passion of hers.
Hanna has worked at Coffea for about a year and has had a passion for both coffee and baking for much longer.
"I’ve alway loved baking, and always loved eating baked goods, but I’m so picky. That’s how I got into it. If I’m going to eat a muffin, I’ve got to be sure it’s a great muffin, otherwise it’s a waste."
She says she's always loved baking, but when pressed about a bread or a cookie she experienced, or a person that made her want to be a baker, she started beaming before she answered.
As a side-note, I love interviewing people who genuinely love what she or he does for a living. This interview was one of those times.
It wasn't even a moment's hesitation before she said, with a smile in her eyes, "It wasn’t somebody else, it was a sense of accomplishment. It was me, actually. I tried to make a swiss meringue--a chocolate caramel swiss meringue. It sounds daunting but it’s really not that hard. So I went to try to make this thing and I didn’t fail. I made it and said, 'Really? It’s that easy?! All I did was follow the directions!' And it was a sense of accomplishment. I realized I could do this and do it well, and do this professionally."
When it comes to this Fall's seasonal menu, I asked the professional baker what exactly designates something to have that warming, cozy Fall flavor. "I think it's that mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg--you know, the Fall spices."
This take on Fall means you can enjoy Fall seasonal eats without having to eat pumpkin for breakfast, lunch, and dinner--and that snack between breakfast and secondsies--but we've also got some great pumpkin concoctions for those of us who look forward to gorging ourselves on gourds--even at second breakfast.
Baking with pumpkin can be a tricky thing, though, says Tollefson. "It adds lots of extra moisture. So coming up with pumpkin scones or biscotti is a big trial and error process. Breads are easier to troubleshoot right off the bat, but with things like Biscotti that you know should be drier, it can easily become cakey or something you know you don’t want it to be."
Tollefson likes the classic version of scones that are a little drier (and happen to go better with coffee). So hearing that pumpkin creates a trickier baking process, I had to ask if there's anything she's still working on that we can anticipate. She smiled and said, "There's a cranberry pumpkin scone I’ve been working on… that’s definitely something I'm still working on trying to perfect." We both laughed and she added, "It’s a consistency that hasn’t yet gotten to that classic scone level I’d like."
That's the thing about Hannah's baking skills. She's talented and very particular about her craft. That's a great combination that Coffea's lucky to have, and makes us proud to serve her work.