Our Baking Buyer staff traveled to Houston this month just in time to sample some wonderful holiday ideas.

At Three Brothers Bakery, which recently gained notoriety by Good Housekeeping magazine for serving the best pecan pie in the land, their decorators are busy creating terrific products like chocolate fudge pecan pie, 3-D turkey cookies, individual cheesecake slices, and “Death by Chocolate” cupcakes, made with devil’s food chocolate cake filled with chocolate fudge with a chocolate glaze.
The three-dimensional turkey cookies are piped in orange feathers, brown bodies, and yellow feet with red icing piped in between the body and feathers as a colorful accent. 3-D cookies piped in icing are a rapidly growing trend in the cookie business and can add profits to your bakery because these cookies can sell for up to $3 apiece.

Cake slices are another trend, and Three Brothers offers slices of traditional cheesecake and a wide variety of cake flavors. To keep the cake slices fresh, Three Brothers uses polypropylene wraps (with the Three Brothers logo imprinted on both sides) that are wrapped around both sides of the cake slice. “It’s worked out very well for us,” says Robert Jucker, a fifth-generation baker and owner of Three Brothers Bakery in Houston. Jucker says they buy their imprinted wraps from a local supplier, but other packaging companies like Unger offer imprinted labels.

At Julies Cakes in the Houston suburb of Missouri City, TX, decorator Lindsay Youngs created a new turkey cookie design for this year’s holiday season. The cookies are thick and crunchy and are piped in red, yellow, orange and brown icing in the design of a plump turkey.
Julies Cakes also sells a ton of gingerbread houses during the holidays. They buy packaged gingerbread house kits from a local hobby store and custom design the gingerbread houses using their own special buttercream icing.

Another Houston bakery that is wowing the local crowds is El Bolillo Bakery, which caters to Hispanic customers and all others with its own unique variations of tres leches cakes – an Hispanic favorite. El Bolillo Bakery makes a wide variety of flavors of tres leches cakes, which are made by soaking the cake layers in three milks: evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk and heavy cream. Often, they are topped with fresh strawberry slices and chocolate pieces. El Bolillo even makes a single-serve version of tres leches cake packaged conveniently in a clear plastic cup.