Something about springtime renews my interest in bakery treats like cupcakes, cookies and cakes. I like seeing cakes decorated with pretty pastel frosting and little chicks and bunnies made out of sugar. Springtime also reminds me of the soft, buttery cookies that my grandmother would buy from her local Polish bakery every Easter.
In order to get my springtime bakery fix, I stopped by in Algonquin and spoke with owner Anna Majewski. She opened Sugar Hills over four years ago, and she opened another location in Wheeling about one year ago.
She runs a European-style bakery, meaning she offers pastries that are popular in countries like France, Italy and Poland. It also means her baked goods are not quite as sweet as traditional American pastries. “We use less sugar, so you can actually taste the flavor,” she said.
Sugar Hills does everything from wedding cakes and catering to tarts and colorful frosted cookies. The cookies are a constant bestseller, and the bakery changes its selection based on the season and demand, which often go hand-in-hand.
“We have certain styles for each season,” Majewski said. “With Easter approaching, we’ll have more ducks, chicks, bunnies, that sort of thing. But there are some we sell all year round, like the smiley faces and Elmo cookies.”
In springtime, the bakery items at Sugar Hills shift slightly to lighter, more fruity options. Fruit tarts and mini raspberry chocolate baskets are springtime favorites, said Majewski. She also recently launched a mini cherry cheesecake that she said turned out very well.
“So we’re now looking into other chocolate mousse cheesecake flavors, like mango and green tea,” she said.
Even though spring brings with it a greater interest in Easter cookies and fruit tarts, Majewski said the chocolate items still sell.
“I’m more of a chocolate person myself,” she said, admitting that she likes richer flavors like chocolate, coffee, and nuts. But customers often change their tastes depending on the time of year.
While visiting, I did buy a pastel-blue sugar cookie decorated with a springtime motif, but I also couldn’t resist buying a miniature chocolate coffee cup filled with chocolate mousse. Even though I often lean towards old traditions and seasonal specials, chocolate is always a standby of my own as well.
“Chocolate is always going to sell,” said Majewski. “You can’t go wrong with chocolate, no matter what the season.”