(Previously published in The Sturbridge Times Magazine, July 2016)
Food has a way of bringing us closer together. Ethel Mertz famously shared her foodie secret with Lucy Ricardo when she admitted, “I can’t help myself. Eating is my hobby.” Fiskdale resident Nicole Latch has a friend who inevitably asks, “Can I have a nibble of yours,” whenever they dine out and dessert arrives. Through the years her BFF has requested a little taste so frequently that Nicole, an avid baker, would tell her, “If I ever have a bakery I’m going to name it after you.”
Nicole recently made good on that promise when she turned her small kitchen on 251 Arnold Road into a home bakery specializing in a variety of treats, breakfast and dessert platters, and cakes. Just a Nibble Home Bakery has been serving the Sturbridge area in Central Massachusetts since 2015, delivering to Sturbridge, East & West Brookfield, Brookfield, Brimfield, and Holland.
“We specialize in baked goods that celebrate small things,” says Nicole. Small as in brownies and blondies and cinnamon rolls (her favorite) shaped like bunnies for Easter and men’s ties for Father’s Day. Her frosted chai spice sugar cookies have become a popular order since she introduced them to her cookie menu in May for Mother’s Day. “ I thought of chai tea and cookies . . . I experimented a bit,” she says, referring to the cardamom that is sprinkled on the thinly rolled dough along with traditional spices.
I got to sample one of these – tangy, sweet, and warm– when I visited Nicole early one morning. She greeted me at the door clad in a full, ruffled peach and aqua apron, looking a lot like the silhouette on the “Just A Nibble” trademark on her web page (www.just-a-nibble.com). “I just love the Fifties,” she admitted, referring to this iconic housewife look. Very Lucylike.
Just a Nibble delivers to your door, a practice Nicole began long before she went into business. Melissa Beachemin, director of the Sturbridge Senior Center, has never tired of seeing Nicole or her husband Rob, along with their three children ages three to eleven, visit the Center with trays of goodies. The two women met at a ServSafe class, a food safety course. “I love her. She’s the most positive person,” says Melissa, recalling the trays of Valentine cookies the Latch family brought to the Center this year and a small wedding cake Nichole baked for the annual Not-So-Newlywed Game.
The home business also specializes in traditional and custom chocolate and vanilla cakes frosted with a variety of fluffy buttercreams (including peanut butter) and toppings (drizzles, sprinkles, cookies, malted milk balls, etc.).Customers can pair together any combination. “No judgment here,” the website assures. Lots of choices continue on the cookie and brownie menu which also features the “brookie,” a chocolate brownie topped with a chocolate-chip cookie.
Personally I have my eye on a crunchy brownie layered on crushed pretzels and brown sugar. But then there’s that chocolate-chip, flower-pot cookie with a pretty sugar flower sprouting from a bit of crushed Oreo-cookie “dirt”, featured this month. I’ll guess I’ll just have to have a nibble of both. Join me at www.just-a-nibble.com.