Table Hopping: Old-fashioned baking at Sweet Dreams
Assortment of minis includes a gluten free peanut butter cup sweetened with agave ($2), traditional éclair filled with pastry cream ($2.25), almond shortbread cookie with apricot jam ($1.50) and a gluten free almond sandwich with raspberry jam ($2), and a blueberry kolacky with cream cheese dough ($1.50). | Lee A. Litas~Sun-Times Media
Sweet Dreams Organic Bakery & Café
1107 Waukegan Road, Glenview
8 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Wednesday; 8 a.m.-10 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday
(847) 657-1092 or sweetdreamsorganicbakery.com
Updated: March 13, 2013 7:44AM
For anyone who thinks organic means nothing but sunflower seeds, tofu or teeth-shattering granola Martha Sutton has good news.
She’s executive pastry chef at Sweet Dreams Organic Bakery & Café in Glenview, and when she says organic, she means ripe fruit, genuine cream, raw sugar, fair trade chocolate and rich cocoa from Ecuador. “There is just no compromise in ingredients. As a chef these are without a doubt the best ingredients I have ever worked with.”
As former executive chef to a number of white tablecloth North Shore establishments, Sutton was looking to sink her teeth into something she really believed in and was struck by Sweet Dreams’ insistence on being a one hundred percent organic scratch bakery. “There are just so few of those left,” she said.
Family-owned and operated since 2005, Sweet Dreams follows the philosophy of owner Mary Sopcic who grew up eating this way in her native Croatia. When Sopcic decided to share her organic lifestyle with the world, she found that, “amazingly, eight years ago, that was cutting edge,” said Sutton.
So what is organic, really? “Organic means free of any hormones, pesticides, additives or artificial flavors,” explains Sutton. If it’s not certified organic by the FDA, it does not go into any product at Sweet Dreams. That means all Sweet Dreams regular, gluten-free, vegan and gluten-free vegan options are organic.
From a labeling standpoint, that may not be sexy. Sutton has watched customers automatically bypass pastries labeled organic, gluten free or vegan, and wishes they’d keep an open mind, or rather palate. “We try to make everything delicious regardless of what it does or does not have in it.”
Case in point: SD’s densely-chocolate and ultra rich gluten free peanut butter cups sweetened with agave nectar ($2). They’re not good because they are gluten free; they’re just good.
Plus, said Sutton, “There is something very freeing about knowing that everything on the menu is 100 percent organic.”
While desserts take center stage, savory dishes and even spirits abound. Sweet Dreams makes delicate crepes filled with a spicy creamed chicken goulash, served with a side salad and tangy vinaigrette. Or sample the popular grilled chicken ciabatta sandwich with avocado and greens, offered with a cup of thick, homemade navy bean soup ($14.50 each). Pair the meals with any of SD’s organic wines or beer ($7-$8 glass/$20-$24 bottle).
Sutton and Sopcic take turns at baking. Sopcic makes her family’s famous strudel by rolling out a homemade phyllo-type dough on a special table she designated just for this. The delicate pastry is layered with organic apples in the fall; and plums, ripe blueberries and sweet cherries and cheese throughout the rest of the year ($3.50/slice).
Can’t decide? Choose from an assortment of minis such as the traditional éclairs filled with decadent pastry cream ($2.25), almond shortbread cookies with tangy apricot jam ($1.50) or the gluten free almond sandwiches with raspberry jam ($2).
“It’s how baking used to be,” said Sutton.