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The Trip of Baking Inspiration

by on ‎09-29-2016 04:19 PM

My folks live in Alabama and any chance we get, we love to go south. It’s always restful, re-charging, and SO MUCH fun. We get to spend time with family, which is the best time spent in the world. The trips are always shorter then we’d like, but we’re grateful for every minute!


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Now since I didn’t grow up in this town, but love it just the same, I love to go exploring in it. I’m endlessly curious and I love to cook & bake. You can imagine: we wind up chatting about food A LOT especially since my mom is such a tremendous cook. Last week, over breakfast, the group topic trended toward dessert. As you do! EVERYONE, and I mean EVERYONE in the restaurant said, “Oh you HAVE to go to Rolen’s Bakery”. A unanimous decision about the best desserts? Yeah, I am THERE.


Rolen Sign.jpg


We found it easily and went inside. THE AROMA. OH MY GOODNESS, knock-you-to-your-knees heavenly. I’m talking, slap down, what just happened, can I get an Amen, I’ll take 6 boxes of whatever to go, DELCIOUS. It smelled like rich brown sugar, warm butter, fresh vanilla, and an instant feeling of comfort. The first two things I saw? The cake-and-pie case and the pastry case. I’m telling you, I wanted to do a Dukes-of-Hazzard power slide over the counter and hug somebody. Real hard.


Cake and Pie Case.jpg

Pastry Case.jpg


We were greeted by Carl (the first time we went. Consequently, we went there three times in a WEEK) and he is wonderful. He is kind, answered my litany of questions, and an inspiration. He is an avid exerciser and he works in a bakery. Um, WOW. He’s got an incredible personal success story which is quite motivational. He introduced us to Manager Tammy who is warm, welcoming, and SO knowledgeable about Rolen’s history and all things BAKING.


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While taking as many deep breaths as possible, I asked her to tell us a bit about Rolen’s Bakery. She pointed out a picture (below) and shared that they had been in this location since August of 1971. Nothing is “shipped in”, everything is made fresh on site, and something very special happens in November every year. Guy Rolen, the bakery’s namesake, comes in and makes is super-famous and beloved fruitcake. He has to come in and make it because NO ONE else has the recipe. We were told: if you think you don’t like fruitcake, you haven’t had this one.


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NOW I had to know: what is Rolen’s Bakery’s biggest requested item? There is a list! Petit Fours, Chocolate Pie, Cheese straws, Egg Custard pie, Chocolate Chews, and it continues. I was drooling in front of these nice people, so it was time for me to stop.


Choco Marshmallow Bars.jpg

Egg Custard Pie.jpg

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Chocolate Chews Lemon Muffinsresize.jpg


While we were there, it was a steady stream of folks in and out. I got to chat with a few folks and heard more great things. One patron was preparing for a big football weekend. She said, “we get the petit fours for the game because we have to keep our strength up to cheer them on”. People kept telling me how they have been coming for years, the love the treats, and they wouldn’t have it any other way.


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We got to try and took home quite a few treats. Let’s just put it this way: not a crumb left in sight! Now I know, I have to omit certain foods from my diet, so I didn’t get to try everything. I relied on my husband and parents to give the full report and they raved. Mr. D loved the chocolate pie, my mom loved the petit fours, my dad and I loved the chocolate chews (they are meringue cookies with a little chocolate and toasted pecans – fainted).


NOW I’m completely inspired to Fall bake! This kitchen is going to be a WRECK! Pies, bars, crumbles, cookies: all of it. Any requests? I’ll get to work on it for you! Looking forward to hearing about what’s inspiring you these days.


I leave you with this sweet video clip from my all-to-brief time home. It’s peaceful and sweet, just like all the folks we love there. Enjoy and much love to all of you! Xoxo, Mary


on ‎09-29-2016 06:59 PM

Nice to hear about your visit with your family......and your new find!  That bakery looks amazing.  OMG.  I'd have to try one of everything.

on ‎09-29-2016 08:26 PM

..............I need dessert.

on ‎09-29-2016 09:18 PM
Sounds like a purrrfect vacation! I'm so ready for Fall Baking...and my brother's work is ready, too. I bake for them all the time. Thank you for sharing!
on ‎09-30-2016 12:02 AM

Say what you want about the south.   But it is the best place on earth.  Things just run a little slower and not so fussy.  By the way, I'm from East Texas.  Love to cook, especially during the holidays.  Local family is regrettably getting smaller.  I have got to find people to cook for.  At Christmas, Mom, my sister and I would make sweets for a week.  Just in case family and friends dropped in.  Also made a huge batch of spiced tea.  Those were the days.  Thanks for your tour.  Did not mean to get so wordy.

on ‎10-01-2016 01:12 AM

Road Trip!


I'm glad it's far away.  I would be there every day and as big as a house.  LOL

on ‎10-03-2016 12:10 AM


Such a nice post!  I could almost smell that bakery from that wonderful, in-depth description you gave!!


Small home-town bakeries like these are rare nowadays it seems, at least where I live in upstate NY.   I have to rely on Wegman's bakery, which is good, but nothing like the smaller bakeries like you visited.  All of the goodies looked yummy, but I was especially drawn in by the lovely "cream horns" as they are called in the grocery store.  Those delicious looking pastry horns filled with white cream filling!!  I bet they are 100 times better at that bakery!!!  Everytime I go in our local grocery, those dang things call me, I swear!  They come in a package of 5 and my husband doesn't like them, so I just can't justify buying them cause I would EAT THEM ALL!  If only they could be frozen, but I don't think the filling would freeze well at all!  Oh, if only I could find a bakery where I could buy one at a time!

Wait, maybe that wouldn't work either, I'd be there every day, buying one!!!  After a month, that would really add up and I'd be wearing them on my backside!

Oh well, thanks for sharing,'s nice you have such a special place to visit! 

on ‎11-11-2016 10:17 AM

Thank you for this post!

It is perfect, a little of everything, happy times, casual pictures, good information...thank you!