The Minneapolis Farmers Market has a new booth to soothe your sweet tooth. Petite Sweets Pastries launched last weekend with seven different flavors of whoopie pies and bars. This is the first physical location for owners Melissa Gallant and Anthony Guarnaccia, two Boston natives attempting to bring the east coast treat to Minnesota. “It was a great success,” says Gallant. “We basically sold out day one and completely sold out day two.”
“We were up until about 12am this morning and woke up at 5am to come set up,” says Guarnaccia. It took the duo nearly nine hours to prep, bake, and fill 300 whoopie pies and bars — a feat since they’re also managing full-time jobs at General Mills and Target. “The biggest challenge for me is finding time to unwind and recharge,” says Guarnaccia. Gallant chimes in, adding that there is a delicate balance in splitting their focus between suiting up during the day and baking and running numbers at night. “Sweets make people happy and I love knowing that people are enjoying them,” she says.
Gallant has been baking as long as she can remember. She learned her tips from her mother at an early age. “Holiday cookies and fresh bread are the two things I baked the most with my mom,” she says. “She and I have always been so fond of a picture of me at five years old, holding the first loaf of bread I baked from scratch — including hand-kneading the dough myself.” Baking followed her through her studies at Boston College and eventually bite-size delicacies became her niche. “I’ve always done mini treats because I can never decide what kind of dessert I want,” she says.
Her first whoopie pie flavor was Dark Chocolate Candy Cane in 2003 and it is still on her menu today. “The first time I had one was December 2005,” says Guarnaccia. “We both worked at Welch’s in Boston and Melissa made 25 days of sweets. Every day she would bring in a different cookie for the floor. Most were a hit, but people would mob her cubicle for the Candy Cane whoopie pie.”
Flavors will vary weekend to weekend, but it’s likely that their two bestsellers — Salted Caramel Bars and Coconut Key Lime whoopie pies — will be mainstays. They heat up caramel on the stove top, and pour it over a butter shortbread crust. “Then we sprinkle them with a liberal amount of sea salt and top it with more shortbread,” says Gallant. The Coconut Key Lime whoopie pies are a multi-day project. “We make our own lime curd from eggs, sugar, lime zest, and lime juice and let it sit overnight to strengthen the flavor,” says Guarnaccia. The cookie is made by adding ground coconut flakes and real vanilla bean into a coconut flavored batter. “Once the cookies are baked we make a vanilla filling again, using real vanilla beans,” he says. They layer the lime curd on a cookie, pipe the vanilla filling on top, and sandwich the two cakes together. “The final step is to roll them in crushed graham crackers. The result is like a two-bite key lime pie.”
Other flavors included Horchata whoopie pies (rice milk, cinnamon, and a rice pudding filling inspired by a trip to Mexico) and Strawberry Rhubarb bars (using real chunks of strawberry). In the spirit of Farmers Markets, they plan to use local ingredients too. Think Chocolate Stout whoopie pies using Badger Hill beer and raspberries, peaches, and apples in the bars. “The best thing is we are at the Minneapolis Farmers Market so there is always fresh inspiration,” says Gallant.
Petite Sweets Pastries will be available Sat / Sun at the Minneapolis Farmers Market every other weekend (beginning June 1-2). They are also available for delivery via their website, and plan to pair with local food trucks during the summer season.
312 E Lyndale Ave N
Minneapolis, MN 55405