Hen + Heifer

I have a little a confession to make... I am a perfectionist. I can't speak for all perfectionists, but for me, I can be pretty unforgiving when it comes to myself in the things I do (actually achieving perfection, is another story). Yesterday morning, I was thinking of my next blog post, inspired by a bag of blood oranges I found at a local natural foods store. I was considering a recipe for blood orange caramels, but the make or break of it was, how to ensure said caramels would have straight, cut sides. And how to wrap them with crisp, perfect edges. Hmm. These are the all-important things that I think about.

Which is one of the reasons why I feel like I've arrived in heaven when I visit my favorite bakery, located a couple of towns over, called Hen & Heifer.  A tiny jewel-box of a shop with three tables, everything there is conceived and executed with such intense attention to detail, the result is what I am pretty sure is the most beautiful, perfect place on earth.


they have cannelé...

diminutive fluted cakes with a crisp burnt sugar shell, enclosing a soft rum-scented custard interior, speckled with vanilla seeds.

And shiny chocolate hens.

And caramelized white chocolate shiny hens.

and this.

along with other beautiful confections.

including soft handmade caramels: vanilla, peanut, or coffee walnut.

a selection of Parisian teas that you are not likely to find anywhere else, locally anyway. Served in a Parisian ceramic mug.

buttery-crisp shortbread chickens and cows, of course.

as well as caramel and vanilla syrup for your coffee, meticulously arranged in lovely glass dispensers.

even the trash receptacles are pretty.

In addition to this ever-changing selection of beautiful desserts, cakes, tarts, and cookies, they also offer breakfast treats, including freshly baked muffins, coffee cake, and an amazing yogurt parfait, layered with the delicious crunch of handmade granola, silky local yogurt, and the tiny brilliant citrus slices of syrupy kumquat jam. Steel cut oatmeal, too, if you decide to be a little healthy.

On weekends they sell out of their amazing almond, chocolate, and plain croissants. They suggested calling ahead to have a few set aside.

You will think I made this up, but I swear on my life it's true, yesterday afternoon as my daughter and I sat at one of the small tables in their shop, devouring enjoying tea and coffee cake, I overheard the proprietor begin to provide instruction to the young woman working behind the counter on how to wrap caramels, "giving them a little air", so that they would maintain their rectangular shape.

This place makes me happy.

Hen & Heifer is located at 23 Water Street in Guilford, Connecticut. For the enjoyment of perfectionists and non-perfectionists alike.

Read more about them here.

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