By Jill Nagy
Whether one’s holiday dreams include visions of
sugar plums, peppermint pigs, or holiday cookies
and milk left in anticipation of Santa’s visit, Saratoga’s
candy shops and bakeries can fulfill them,
and more, this holiday season.
Plum Dandy Cookies and Milk, a new shop at
55 Railroad Place in Saratoga Springs, owned by
the same folks as the Plum Dandy frozen yogurt
shop, is promoting “Dandy Deals” for Thanksgiving.
They are boxed cookies: the Bowtie (six cookies),
the Pennyfarthing (12 cookies), and the Tophat
(24 cookies), in handmade boxes tied with a bow.
For Christmas, Santa will come by to help kids
decorate cookies and the selection of holiday themed
cookies will include gingerbread men and
women. A bit of caroling is planned as well.
In the shop, people can enjoy a cookie or two and a glass of milk, regular or cereal-flavored. The special at Saratoga Sweets, at 1618 Route 9 in Halfmoon, is “what we offer every year, the Peppermint Pig,” says ownership.
Made of pink hard candy and packaged in a bag with a small hammer, the pig is a revival, after a hiatus of 50 years or so, of an old Saratoga Springs tradition. Traditionally, the pig, in the bag, was passed around the table after Christmas dinner.
Each person at the table gave the bag a firm tap with the hammer and told of something good that had happened in the past year. Then the pig, now in pieces, was removed from the bag and eaten. Saratoga Sweets, then on Caroline Street, revived the tradition with a test run of 100 pigs soon after the shop opened in 1988. They used the original recipe and borrowed some of the old molds. Last year, they made 130,000 of the pigs.
Some who telephone Saratoga Sweets, at 373-0073, and have to wait on hold, will hear a Peppermint Pig song, reminding you that, “It’s a holiday tradition.”
Kilwins, at 422 Broadway in Saratoga Springs, will raffle off a chocolate Santa about three feet tall. They also expect a live Santa to drop by and, if all goes well, he will give away hot chocolate during the Victorian Street Walk on Broadway in Saratoga Springs on Dec. 5. Both for Thanksgiving and Christmas, Kilwins will offer baskets of goodies, either something pre-packaged or custom-filled, at prices beginning at $25. Owner Bill Hoffman also expects to have the cafe open before Thanksgiving.
The Candy Company, at 5 Washington St., just off Broadway, is making chocolate turkeys and turkey or pilgrim lollipops for Thanksgiving as well as “heavenly” pumpkin pie fudge. Owner Dawn Oesch also recommends boxed fudge and other candy for hostess gifts.
For Christmas, “the whole store just explodes with color and Christmas goodies.”
Among the goodies are sugar plums–round, purple, coated all over with sugar, tasting like sugar-coated grapes–and Celtic caramels–dark chocolate coated with sea salt. The store will also have handmade candy canes and a selection of “penny candy,” which now cost a dime.
Oesch is looking forward to the annual Dec. 24 visit from a customer who comes every year to buy candy to decorate gingerbread houses. She takes pride in being part of that family’s holiday tradition.
The Bread Basket, at 65 Spring St. in Saratoga Springs, across from Congress Park, keeps pretty much to its regular selection for the holidays, according to owner Matt Tallman. Some 80 percent of their business consists of rolls and pies, especially apple and pumpkin pies for Thanksgiving. There will also be turkey cupcakes and lots of cream pies.
For Christmas, Tallman plans to offer peppermint layer cake and yule logs (chocolate or raspberry), plus special cookies and cupcakes.