Suarez Bakery, on Park Road, has been serving Charlotteans sweets since 1992. The local hotspot was started by Carlos Suarez, a Cuban native with a wealth of knowledge when it comes to handmade, from-scratch desserts, breads, and pastries. He infuses his own flair with French tradition baked goods and southern staples, so you can find everything at Suarez from fresh, sweet Cuban breads to petit fours to pecan pie. So, whether you’re in need of a treat for a holiday party or just craving a fresh pastry and a hot cup of coffee, Suarez Bakery has you covered. Carlos even threw in a recipe for us, so you can get in the kitchen and give it a whirl yourself.
What are the top selling items for the holidays at Suarez?
Our top-selling holiday items are our hand-iced and sanding sugar cookies. Also very popular for the holidays are our Yule logs, gingerbread cookies and houses, cinnamon bread, pies, and winter cupcakes. Choosing a favorite baked good would be like choosing a favorite child; we love ‘em all.
What flavors or ingredients do you most associate with the holiday season?
We’re currently working on an Orange + Clove cupcake for winter, so that’s what we’re associating with the season right now. Traditionally ginger and spice, nutmeg, peppermint, and white chocolate are tastes we associate with the holidays and use in our Ginger + Molasses cookies and winter cupcake lineup.
We know you all like to mix it up – what are some of your most unique holiday offerings?
We probably get the most questions about our Croquembouches, which are cones of about 60 stacked choux pastry balls (profiteroles) wrapped in spun sugar and dusted with powdered sugar. Yule Logs—rolled chocolate sponge cakes filled with chocolate mousse and covered in dark chocolate fudge icing—are another popular but lesser known holiday specialty.
Everyone is cooking up a storm this time of year; what are a few holiday baking tips you can offer the at-home chef?
Mise en place—“everything in its place”; have everything you need prepared before starting a recipe. Also, rest cookie dough overnight—or up to 36 hours—before baking for better flavor and consistency. Above all, have fun, and know that even if something doesn’t turn out perfect, it will probably still be pretty tasty.
Would you share a favorite recipe – simple! – recipe for us?
Suarez Classic Chocolate Chip cookies
Yields 3-4 dozen cookies
1 ¼ cup butter, room temperature
1 ¼ cup dark brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups bread flour
2 cups cake flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 ½ tsp kosher salt
1 # 2 oz chocolate fèves (can substitute chocolate chips)
Preheat oven to 350
Cream butter and sugar until fluffy
Add eggs and vanilla until incorporated
Mix dry ingredients in a bowl
Slowly add wet mixture until incorporated
Add chocolate fèves until just mixed (We use Valrhona 53% Tropolia fèves)
Chill dough for at least one hour, but preferably overnight or up to 36 hours
Scoop room temperature dough in 3 ½ oz portions onto parchment-lined baking tray
Bake until golden brown—about 8-10 minutes