Buy the Expensive Dessert, You Deserve the Expensive Dessert
On Blondery's Variety Sampler Blondie Box and Lizzo's "Soulmate"
February is Black History Month so every Sunday edition of Snack and Destroy this month will feature a Black-owned snack or candy company. Buy their products! Support them on social media! They’re doing really delicious things.
Blondery’s Variety Sampler Blondie Box
A Blondery blondie is a pure indulgence.
Each picture-perfect one-inch square looks expensive, tastes expensive, and, well, is expensive. At $35 for a box of four — or $75 to $125 for a box of 24 — these blondies are not an everyday luxury, but they are worth it. You are worth it.
Pastry chef Auzerais Bellamy founded the online bakery in 2016 after she kept getting passed over for new opportunities in the fine-dining world. (Read more about her journey — and how the restaurant industry often fails Black women — in this New York Times article.)
Potential employers may not have seen it at the time (idiots) but Bellamy clearly knows how to cast a spell with sugar. The Blondery’s decadent treats have earned praise from Food & Wine (love you, Kat Kinsman!), Bloomberg, Eater, Cosmopolitan, and more, and the blondies, cake jars, and layer cakes often sell out within hours of their weekly restocking.
The cheapest — but not cheap — item in Blondery’s online store is the blondie sampler box, which includes the Brooklyn Blackout, Cinnamon Sugar, and Pecan and Salted Caramel blondies as well as a rotating flavor of Bellamy’s choosing. For my recent order, it was Birthday Cake, a double-decker dark chocolate blondie with vanilla filling.
The Brooklyn Blackout and the Cinnamon Sugar blondies are simple and well-executed. Cinnamon Sugar has a tender crumb with a caramelized sugary top making it both chewy and crispy like any good Snickerdoodle cookie should be.
The gluten-free Brooklyn Blackout — topped with chocolate sprinkles — is as chocolatey as any brownie you’ve ever had, thanks to a good dose of dark cocoa powder, but it’s less dense. The texture is lighter, airier — it’s similar to a bar cookie, which is essentially what a blondie is. It tastes like a brownie but eats like a blondie — I told you Bellamy could cast spells.
Bellamy says the Pecan and Salted Caramel blondie is what started the Blondery, and the recipe has been 10 years in the making. You can taste the thoughtfulness. It’s salty, sweet, nutty, chewy, crunchy — all the necessary adjectives.
The butterscotch blondie base is dotted with chocolate chips, slathered with deep caramel, and topped with sizable chunks of toasted pecans at an almost 1:1 blondie-to-pecan ratio. Have you ever had a blondie that has as many nuts as it does blondie? I have not! And I won’t believe you if you tell me that you have!
My favorite was the Birthday Cake. Ooooh, the Birthday Cake. You must try the Birthday Cake.
Before founding the Blondery, Bellamy worked at Thomas Keller’s famous Bouchon Bakery. I love their TKO Cookies, Keller’s high-brow version of an Oreo, composed of chocolate shortbread and white chocolate filling. In it, Keller uses cocoa noir — black cocoa powder — which is what Bellamy also uses to get such a deep, dark color and flavor in the chocolate layers. The result is soft and moist, so very different than the TKO or an Oreo. The layer of vanilla cake batter icing in the middle brings everything together to taste like the perfect bite of gooey, dark chocolate birthday cake.
You will wonder, “How?!” when you first take a bite, but you also won’t care enough to investigate the mystery any further because you will want more immediately. You will pop the rest in your mouth and groan with delight.
What’s $35 for such a pure moment of happiness?
Bellamy stocks the Blondery every Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. EST. Act fast, things can sell out. This week Bellamy also started offering some of the bakery’s more popular items — including the sample box of blondies and dog treats (yes, dog treats) — on a more regular basis throughout the week. Join the waitlist and be notified when the shop’s restocked here.
“Soulmate” by Lizzo
I almost didn’t order the blondies.
Like I said, a box of four one-inch squares costs $35 and a box of 24 can go for $75 to $125.
It’s $95 for four of the nine-layer cake-in-a-jar desserts that made Kat Kinsman of Food & Wine freak out, and $250 for the big ol’ 11-layer cake that’s stacked high with devil’s food cake, salted caramel ganache, chocolate buttercream, chocolate chip blondie, toasted pecans, and more. (Look at it, it’s beautiful.)
I’m not mad about the prices. Everything is made with premium ingredients by a talented pastry chef and the price includes two-day shipping via FedEx. Still, I work in a dying industry — that money is not nothing.
But then, I did order the blondies.
I wanted the blondies!
I wouldn’t think twice about ordering them for a friend who needed something sweet to celebrate a birthday, a new job, or the fact that they simply survived one more day in this hellscape that’s constantly trying to destroy us.
So why, if the blondies are just for me, do I hesitate? Why don’t I treat myself with the same care I’d happily extend to anyone else I love?
I have been especially hard on myself in recent years. Maybe you have, too.
Life during the pandemic feels like trying to put together several different puzzles with all the pieces mixed up in one pile and no pictures to use as a guide. It’s exhausting.
When things don’t go smoothly — and things rarely go smoothly — I blame myself. I’ve squished myself into an itty-bitty little miniature Megan so as to not take up too much space in a world I have convinced myself I don’t deserve to be in.
It sounds bleak and it is. Brains are wild, man.
Lizzo, the Grammy-winning rapper, singer, songwriter, and classically trained flutist who has collaborated with everyone from Missy Elliott and Cardi B to Ariana Grande and Charli XCX.
Lizzo’s songs are clinics in self-love and empowerment:
In “Good as Hell” she sings, “Boss up and change your life / You can have it all, no sacrifice / I know he did you wrong, we can make it right / So go and let it all hang out tonight.”
In “Like a Girl,” after name dropping other superwomen like Chaka Khan, Lauryn Hill, and Serena Williams, Lizzo sings, “If you fight like a girl, cry like a girl / Do your thing, run the whole damn world / If you feel like a girl, then you real like a girl / Do your thing, run the whole damn world!”
She has called out our society’s fatphobia over and over again and she’s been outspoken about the problems with the supposedly inclusive body positivity movement, and she’s done so in major fashion magazines that have historically been a part of the problem.
Next month her new show Watch Out for the Big Grrls will premier on Amazon Video and yes I got teary-eyed watching the trailer:
Lizzo has also been vulnerable; she has bad days, too. Her confidence can be shaken and she shares those moments with us so we know we’re not alone in our bouts of self-doubt.
We don’t deserve Lizzo!
The Lizzo song currently on loop for me as I try to uncover my self-confidence is “Soulmate,” a song I didn’t initially connect with when her record Cuz I Love You dropped in 2019 because I was too busy listening to “Tempo” over and over again.
These days, though, it’s exactly what I need to hear, a high-energy R&B track with the chorus, “'Cause I'm my own soulmate / I know how to love me / I know that I'm always gonna hold me down / Yeah, I'm my own soulmate / No, I'm never lonely / I know I'm a queen but I don't need no crown / Look up in the mirror like damn she the one.”
My friend Kim Baldwin wrote a stunning essay for the Nashville Scene last week about being in the picture. Read it! So much of it is what has been spinning in my brain — learning to see yourself again, learning to like what you see, learning to trust that you are worthy of whatever it is you want in life.
At the end of the essay, she writes, “I made a decision a few years ago to take up space, with my body and with my words. To quit ‘protecting’ people from what I look like and what I think.”
I’ve been doing the exact opposite.
I’ve been hiding.
I almost didn’t start this newsletter because I thought, “No one wants to hear a fat girl talk about snacks.” People hate it when fat women do anything and that’s especially true when it’s something considered indulgent like dessert! Or love. Or happiness. Or confidence.
People can suck.
But Kim is right. I don’t need to shrink myself — physically, emotionally, professionally. Lizzo has it right, too. I am my own soulmate. I do know how to love me, and you know what? Loving myself involves buying the $35 blondies, taking a chance on a silly candy newsletter, and appreciating the people who see me right now instead of getting hung up on how to change the minds of those who don’t.
Listen to Lizzo. Be in the picture. Buy the $35 blondies.
Hell, buy the $95 cake jars that were so good Kat Kinsman ate them with her hands. And, if it’s not too presumptuous to say, maybe subscribe to this newsletter so someday I can afford to buy the Blondery’s $250 eleven-layer cake because ohmygod. Seriously. Look. At. It.