This weekend, as we prepare to start producing our holiday and Christmas goodies lineup, memories flood back for us, no different than anyone else this time of year. Below are some memories us three Schenk kids have of some holiday sweets, and the love and hard work that goes into making it through a Montgomery Bakehouse holiday season.
Springerles hold a special place in my heart! They’re one of the signs that Christmastime has come to the bakery. Christmas 2007 was our very first Christmas at Montgomery Bakehouse, and we were doing good just to make ends meet. We baked a whole batch of Springerles, and the last pan out of the oven made the rack of cookies shift, causing the whole batch of Springerles to come crashing down and spilled all over the floor! My dad and Grandad were furious, to say the least! It was no one’s fault, but I think what was so upsetting was the how hard we worked on them just to spill all over the floor! We ran another batch, and over a decade later, the Lord has really blessed our family business. Funny story aside, these cookies are unique and the recipe dates back to the 1930’s. I hope you try one of my favorite Christmas cookies!
Fruit Cake; it conjures up images of gross wet “cakes” that you regift or use as doorstops. That never stopped me from liking Fruit Cake! Even as a little kid, I couldn’t wait for Christmas time to roll around for me to get a slice of that spiced and fruity sweet goodness! Growing up in the bakery business, it also meant long hours of work, but spending time with family! For years, my Grandad and I would soak the fruit for Fruit Cake together. It was our tradition. Over 50lbs of fruit, Brandy and nuts would soak together for maximum flavor! Grandad always knew exactly how much Brandy to put in! Last year was the first year I had to soak the fruit by myself. With a lump in my throat, I went to work, scaling and mixing by hand the fruit. Memories stirred like the cinnamon in the air. As I get ready to mix this year’s fruit, I let my mind go back to those mornings with my Grandad. If you’ve never tried Fruit Cake, do yourself a favor, and try ours. There’s a reason we’ve used the same recipe for over 80 years! What family traditions revolve around sweets in your family?
I was 9 years old when we opened Montgomery Bakehouse. I could barely see over the showcases to wait on customers. But that didn’t stop me. When it’s the holiday season at the bakery, its all hands on deck! Stollen is a huge seller at the holidays, and my earliest memories of Stollen involve me handing out samples. My parents sent me out into the storefront that first week in December of 2007 to hand out samples. We had just baked our first batch of Stollen, and we wanted to share it with Conroe! I loaded up a tray with pieces of Stollen, and marched out. About 10 minutes later, I came back with an empty tray, and a whole crowd of patrons looking to buy the delicious Christmas bread they just had! All these years later, that first batch of Stollen out of the oven reminds me of that day.