Monday, August 9, 2010

Sweet Potatoes aren't just for the Holidays

*This is an updated post to include a recent news piece from NoBaddNews August 2010!

My best friend is from Detroit, Michigan. I visited her last year for my birthday. As my birthday comes around again later this month, I am remembering my last trip there. Like the rest of the nation, Detroit was affected by the recession. But being the "Motor City" they took a harder blow years ago when automotive jobs went overseas. They have been rebuilding for some years now and with the influx of tourists to the new casinos downtown, you can see a revival taking place. I have visited the city a few times in the 10 years my friend and I have known each other. My visit last year was the first time I got a tour of the sights and the rebuilding efforts. I visited the stadium where the Tigers play baseball, Motown Museum and Sweet Potato Sensations.

This bakery that makes all their treats from sweet potatoes, has been in Detroit for over 20 years. They have grown and moved into a larger, new bakery with seating for the public. Sweet Potato Sensations is the “Sweet Potato Lover’s Heaven on Earth”. Owner, Cassandra Thomas, developed a sweet potato cookie recipe in 1976, to expand her husband’s favorite dish - candied sweet potatoes (commonly know as candied yams). After conducting market tests and distributing hundreds of cookie samples, the feedback was overwhelmingly positive.

From that cookie recipe, an entire line of delicious sweet potato products has been created. Presently the product line includes: Sweet potato cookies, sweet potato cheesecake, sweet potato pie, sweet potato cake, sweet potato ice cream, sweet potato pecan pie, candied yams and sweet potato cobbler.
I tried the sweet potato cookie with chocolate chips (I should mention here that I love chocolate), the cake (oh my, this was the best cream cheese frosting I've ever tasted), the cheescake (can we say silky smooth?)and of course the pie. Get the recipe for the sweet potato cake and icing here! A Facebook picture of the cake.  I give them all a thumbs up!

With sweets this good, there is not way I can only have sweet potatoes at Thanksgiving and Christmas. This family run business (Cassandra is supported by her husband and 2 grown daughters) is dreaming up some innovative recipes with this under-appreciated root! You can tell the love that goes into these treats. Look at the line of people before Thanksgiving 2009
Over the years, their efforts haven't gone completely unnoticed. Sweet Potato Sensations has been featured in various national and local publications including: Detroit Monthly Magazine, one of the Best of Detroit, in their 11th Annual List; The Detroit News, The Detroit Free Press, AAA’s Michigan Living Magazine. Cassandra and Sweet Potato Sensations were featured Spring 2004 on “The Best Of’, the highly rated Food Network program hosted by Marc Silverstein. Cassandra has also appeared on Kelly & Company of Channel 7 (ABC News Affiliate; Best Bets of Detroit, Channel 4, (NBC news affiliate) and Glenn Plumber of CTN-Channel 26. Sweet Potato Sensations has been selected to serve desserts at the Detroit Branch NAACP Fight for Freedom Fund Dinner, the largest sit down dinner in America, for the past seven years! The National Coalition of 100 Black Women and WINGS (Women in Need of Guidance and Skills) , recently honored Cassandra Thomas as an outstanding business woman of the year!

Are you drooling yet? Well, if you are not planning to visit Detroit anytime soon, the good news is that a good number of menu items can be flash frozen and shipped to you in the US. You can taste that they use only the finest ingredients. The items are baked fresh and there are no preservatives. Cookies have the longest shelf life and are easiest to ship. I was told yesterday that they have introduced a new cookie with pecans, chocolate chip, and coconut cookie which I will order for my Gumdrop Swap grand opening later this month.!/pages/Detroit-MI/Sweet-Potato-Sensations/307506540576



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