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REVIEW + PHOTOS: Two bakeries keep life sweet in Little Rock

By Jennifer Christman

This article was published April 26, 2018 at 4:30 a.m.

Cinnamon rolls are the stars at Little Rock’s Cinnamon Creme Bakery.

Cinnamon Creme Bakery

Address: The Centre at Chenal shopping center, 17200 Chenal Parkway, Little Rock

Hours: 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday

Cuisine: Cinnamon rolls, doughnuts, cookies, breads, pies, cakes

Credit cards: AE, D, MC, V

Carryout: Mainly carryout

(501) 821-0002

facebook.com/CinnamonCremeBakery

The Whimsy Cookie Co.

Address: 401 S. Bowman Road, Little Rock

Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday

Cuisine: Cookies

Credit cards: AE, D, MC, V

Carryout: Mainly carryout

(501) 400-8154

whimsycookieco.com

Click here for larger versions
Photos by Jennifer Christman

A Strawberry Gooey (clockwise from left), a Chocolate Chip Gooey, a Chocolate Chip Oreo and a lips sugar cookie come from The Whimsy Cookie Company in...

Eye-catching display cases tempt at The Whimsy Cookie Company in Little Rock.

Cookies are big enough to share at Cinnamon Creme Bakery.

Cinnamon Creme Bakery in Little Rock serves several dipped doughnuts, including chocolate.

We recently checked out two newish west Little Rock bakeries -- Cinnamon Creme Bakery and The Whimsy Cookie Company -- where sweets-seekers can stop and smell the flours.

CINNAMON CREME BAKERY

Cinnamon Creme Bakery, tucked away on the northern side of the Centre at Chenal shopping center, isn't new to Arkansas; it's a spinoff of County Village Oven Bakery, a Star City staple of more than 20 years. And it's not even that new to Little Rock anymore; it opened last fall.

But it's hidden. I managed to overlook it for months, though it's just doors down from my nail salon.

And now I wish, as does my low-carb diet, that I could forget about it.

With striped pink wallpaper, a white chandelier and twin pink settee benches (but no tables), Cinnamon Cream is cute and welcoming to its primarily carryout clientele.

The full-service bakery does it all: doughnuts, pastries, cookies, cupcakes, muffins, breads, rolls, candies, cakes, loaf cakes and pies. Whether you're craving a klobasnek (sausage roll, $2.95 each, $33.95 per dozen), Boston Creme Pie jumbo cupcakes ($3.50 each, $39.95 dozen) or Three Cheese Pizza bread ($6.95), Cinnamon Cream is capable of handling it all and much more.

But not all items are available at all times, and sometimes it looks like hardly anything is available, so if there's something special you want, order it in advance.

The glass cases looked sparse when I popped in shortly after the bakery opened on a Friday morning, on a mission to take treats to the office. Still, the two gentlemen working there told those waiting that there were plenty of fresh doughnuts just ready to be topped, as well as more cinnamon rolls, in the back.

I ordered several dipped doughnuts ($1.65, $18 dozen), doughnut holes (50 cents, $4.95 dozen), cookies ($1.50, $16.95 dozen) and cinnamon rolls ($2.50, $28.95 dozen).

To me, the soft, sticky, massive glazed cinnamon rolls -- best when microwaved a few seconds as recommended -- were the best of the bunch, second only to the giant, fresh, warm chocolate-dipped doughnuts that were irresistibly yeasty.

Here are observations that co-workers shared:

Cinnamon rolls: "Good balance of flavor and sweetness -- I'm a big fan of light icing on cinnamon rolls if there must be icing at all -- and a fairly good texture." "Just right -- the amount of cinnamon flavor, the amount of glaze, the degree of doneness."

Chocolate doughnuts: "Insanely soft, chewy, not overly sweet, and the right amount of goopy." "Mmmmmm. Melt in my mouth. Give me more!"

Salted caramel doughnuts: "Strong flavor without being overly sugary." "I was skeptical on this, but I'd order it again.. ... The salted caramel topping was rich and scrumptious."

Doughnut holes: "Warm, sweet and soft." "Right amount of fluffy and flaky for this style of doughnut. Not too sweet."

Snickerdoodles: "Standard fare." "Cinnamon flavor is stronger than sugar, which is a good thing, but it's a little too low-key, flavor-shy."

Oatmeal cookies: "The texture was not as moist and pliable as most." "Too sweet and with too much maple flavoring."

Toasted Pecan Sandies: "Buttery and fresh and thus my favorite." "Done just right. If they make me think of my mom's baking AND wish I had a tall glass of milk to go with them, that's a good thing."

Sadly, I can't do too much Cinnamon Creme sharing with co-workers in the future. The bakery doesn't open until 10 a.m., which isn't at all convenient for those needing an early sugar rush.

THE WHIMSY COOKIE COMPANY

The first franchise of Memphis-based Whimsy Cookie Company opened across the street from Corky's BBQ on Bowman Road in late January.

And more are coming. The website reported April 12 that it has sold franchises in Fayetteville and Jonesboro as well as Nashville, Tenn., and Dallas. The boutique bakery, founded by Laurie Suriff and Collins Tuohy, brags, "Our clients range from little girls' birthday parties to corporate accounts like FedEx, authors Emily Giffin and Maya Angelou and even celebrities Tim McGraw, Reese Witherspoon, Miranda Lambert, Emma Thompson, Emily Blunt and John Krasinski." Tuohy, by the way, is the daughter of Leigh Anne and sister to football player Michael Oher, as in The Blind Side -- read their story at whimsycookiecom.com.

Just like Cinnamon Creme, the space is girly and decorated in shades of pink and white. But Whimsy, which also has no tables, offers a bit more seating -- a plush couch, ottomans and two pink-and-gold throne chairs -- as well as a shopping area with T-shirts for sale.

Also, just like Cinnamon Creme, this bakery doesn't open until 10 a.m.

In the cheerful display cases: cookies, cookies and more cookies. Like Gooey Butter Cookies in various flavors,($2-$2.25); sugar cookies shaped like everything from baseballs to flowers to smiley faces ($3.50); "detailed" sugar cookies like glittery lips ($3.50); and Chocolate Chip Oreos ($2.50).

One can call and speak to a "cookie fairy" to order cookies for shipping. Or one can just walk in and buy a box of assorted cookies to take home -- if they make it that far -- and enjoy. That's what I did on a recent Friday afternoon visit.

I chose a Strawberry Gooey, a Chocolate Chip Oreo, a Chocolate Chip Gooey and a lips sugar cookie. While adorable -- particularly the pink, sparkly lips -- they looked rather lonely in the box and totaled nearly $12.

Both gooeys, dusted with powdered sugar, were buttery and rich.

The sugar cookie -- nicely balanced and softer than one would expect -- was as pleasing as it was pretty.

And why did I never think to bake an Oreo -- which takes on a softer composition -- inside chocolate chip cookie dough?

And how do I get that whim out of my head now?

Weekend on 04/26/2018

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