COSTA MESA, CA, January, 2013 — Blackmarket Bakery opened its second retail location at The CAMP in Costa Mesa. Chef/Owner Rachel Klemek has made a name for herself since opening her first bakery in 2004 by producing delectable confections and baked goods with quality, whole ingredients—butter, flour, sugar and eggs.
The name hearkens back to WWII when those baking fundamentals were hard to find except on the black market.
Blackmarket Bakery’s website highlights the indulgent side of baked goods with its tagline: “Resistance is futile” and a moving image of cake-shaped UFOs flying off with transported humans. One bite of any of her baked treats and you’ll discover the truth of that phrase.
With no cupcakes or cake pops in sight, Rachel bakes the classics with inspired twists. Her Florentine bars are made with sliced almonds, cranberries and candied ginger in honey caramel, while her Farmer’s Daughter cookie is a dark chocolate drop with corn nuts and hint of cayenne.
She makes marshmallows from scratch in rotating flavors including vanilla, strawberry and cinnamon. Her Blackstrap Betty cookie (recipe follows) is made with molasses and dried apricot and the Rocky Rue tart features toasted hazelnuts, dark chocolate ganache and vanilla bean marshmallows in a chocolate tart shell.
Absolutely unique to Chef Rachel is her wine flour focaccia made with cabernet wine flour, the essential ingredient for a grilled cheese sandwich with mushrooms and shallots. The slightly tannic flavor is delicious when spread with butter.
Rachel trained at the Culinary Institute of America Greystone in Napa Valley. There, she was lauded for combining traditional European techniques with exotic flavors.
Before opening her first Blackmarket Bakery location in 2004, her experience included working for the eccentric Dutchmen of Utopia Bakery in San Luis Obispo (since closed), Josiah Citrin at Melisse in Santa Monica, and Zov Kararmardian at Zov’s Bistro in Tustin.
Rachel graciously agreed to answer some of my most pressing questions.
WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO OPEN YOUR OWN BAKERY?
I decided to open my own bakery so I could put out a product that I could stand behind.
I also wanted the freedom to innovate and come up with my own product line—and that’s hard to do when you’re working in a restaurant kitchen or someone else’s bakery.
WHY THE CROSSED SWORDS IN YOUR LOGO?
Blackmarket Bakery has always intended to offer a worthy alternative for those looking for a responsible, quality product.
At the time of development, we wanted to have a logo that was in-your-face, sassy, bold… my goal has always been to create a conscious moment of indulgence for guests, and we were almost daring folks to come embrace whole foods.
We encourage them to indulge in the most natural baking fundamentals such as butter, flour, sugar and eggs—all of which were black market goods during the second World War.
We really focus on delivering a culinary experience that revolves around natural ingredients, complex textures, and global flavors, with a bit of punk rock tucked inside, of course.
HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE WINE FLOUR FOCACCIA?
The wine flour itself was brought to our attention a few years ago and the tannic quality of the powder from the Cabernet grape seemed to pair well with the sourdough starter. It is one of my most favorite things we make—I love its simplicity—and I should add that it’s also vegan
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THE CAMP?
We have always had plans to open a second location to follow up on our first in Irvine, which opened in 2004.
The Camp presented an opportunity to come to a central location and be among other innovative, interesting concepts run by like-minded entrepreneurs.
HAVE YOU CREATED ANY NEW PASTRIES AT SOMEONE’S SUGGESTION?
Yes, definitely. A perfect example is our client, Nordstrom, who features us in six E-Bars in OC. They wanted a simple chocolate chip cookie, which we didn’t make, so we created a great recipe that is now featured at their locations and also at Kean Coffee locations in Orange County.
Blackstrap Betty cookie
These easy drop cookies provide satisfying chewy texture and the right amount of spice. They keep well if not consumed quickly.
8 1/2 oz melted unsalted butter
1 lb granulated sugar
6 1/2 oz dark molasses
20 oz all purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
11 oz dried apricots, chopped
Combine sugar, butter, molasses, and egg in a bowl until homogeneous. Sift together flour, soda, salt, cinnamon and ginger.
Stir dry ingredients into the sugar/butter mixture, until combined. Do not overmix. Stir the apricots into batter until combined.
Scoop dough into even balls and roll each in additional granulated sugar. Place on a parchment lined sheet pan and bake at 350 until set on the edges but still slightly gooey in the center.
The recipe should yield 12 - 15 large cookies… bake at 350 F.
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