The marzipan rainbow cookie is my favorite cookie. Not a cookie I’d ever attempt to make. Way too complicated for my baking abilities. And for whatever reason, finding them in a bakery is like searching for the proverbial needle…. The one bakery near our house where I was able to get them closed several years ago.
Enter Dolce Calabria! It opened a few months ago in Freehold. I found out about it on Chowhound’s NJ board. The person who posted actually did so to rave about a special pastry that was being sold there. When I checked the website, there were photos, among which was one with cookies. And one of those cookies looked suspiciously like my favorite. I say “suspiciously” because there is a cookie that looks exactly like the one I adore. BUT there is one difference and it’s major: it is not made with marzipan. I have tasted that ersatz rainbow cookie. Blech! So, I called Dolce Calabria and asked if their rainbow cookies are made with marzipan. To my delight, the answer was yes.
When I visited the shop for the first time, there were no rainbow cookies in the cases. I was told they were still being baked and wouldn’t be available for a while. Bummer!! However, my acute disappointment was brief. Turned out there were individual chocolate-covered cakes inside of which were marzipan tri-colored layers. Of course, I bought one (along with a few other things). Marzipan cookies are normally baked in a large sheet and then cut into cookies. So, I did the same with the little cake. Et voila! Cookies! Heavenly! The next time I went, the cookies were available, as they have been each time I’ve gone there.
The cases at Dolce Calabria are filled with many tempting treats. What’s nice is that the cakes are baked in individual in size or are offered in slices. One of the latter is the ricotta cheesecake. So deletable, I’ve bought slices twice. The cannolis, filled when you buy them, are excellent. I’ve recently become enamored with red velvet cake, and the version here is wonderful. (I was gifted a red velvet cookie which was quite tasty.) There are also first-rate macarons, a surprise find in an Italian bakery.
As for the pastry that drew raves from the NJ Hounds, that would be the graffe. Since it’s available only on Sunday mornings, it took me a while to get around to trying it. It’s like a light-as-air donut. As soon as it’s removed from the oven, it’s sprinkled lightly with sugar, then split and pastry cream is piped into the middle. Sensational! Truly deserving of the raves.
Dolce Calabria is owned by a young couple. Joe takes care of the front. His wife Vicenza is the baker. The only thing she doesn’t make are the macarons, which are Joe’s specialty. A large glass window with its view into the kitchen allows customers to see Vicenza at work sometimes aided by her sister.
It’s great to have such a wonderful pastry shop in our area. I wish Joe and Vicenza much success!
To see all the Dolce Calabria photos, click here.