A quick stroll along Newcastle Street and one thing becomes crystal clear — downtown Brunswick is certainly feeling the love this time a year. Storefront to storefront is adorned with red and pink hearts, heralding the coming of Valentine’s Day.
And Pam Pam’s Cupcakes is certainly one of the most festive. From a heart shaped cupcake display to tabletop decorations, the bakery is ready to roll come Thursday — so too is the owner herself, Pam Taylor.
While it’s an incredibly busy time, it’s one that she looks forward to each year.
“Love is in the air,” Taylor said with a smile as she rearranged cupcakes on a tray. “It’s the busiest time of year for bakers.”
There’s certainly something special about sharing sweet treats with love ones come Feb. 14. And Taylor expects to see a steady stream of customers sweeping through to pick up her signature pink, “Pam Pam” boxes filled with cupcakes.
“You just want something that looks good and tastes good for your loved ones,” she said.
While her patrons come clamoring for cupcakes, Taylor also enjoys serving up cookies for the special day. One of her favorite recipes is a simple sugar cookie with a surprising twist.
“It has lemon zest in it, and that’s what makes all the difference. You cannot forget the lemon zest ... you wouldn’t expect it but it makes it really good,” she said.
The cookies can be cut out in the shape of hearts then decorated for a personalized touch. And of course, it’s not just something to be shared by lovers — baking up a batch can be a great activity for parents and children.
“This is actually the same recipe I use to make the sugar cookies we use on Saturdays and in our summer camps. The children come in and we make cookies. They get to decorate them the way they want ... it’s a lot of fun,” she said.
“It’s a really good thing for parents to do with their children at home too. Kids love it.”
Pam Pam’s Sugar Cookies
Yields five dozen
• Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees
• Assemble 21/2 inch cookie cutters
• An ungreased cookie sheet
4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons of grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Coarse or granulated sugar
• On a sheet of wax paper or in a bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
• In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add lemon zest and juice. On low speed, gradually add flour mixture, beating until dough becomes too stiff for the mixer, then finish mixing with a wooden spoon to form a smooth dough.
• On a floured surface, roll out dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes using floured cookie cutters. Place about 1 inch apart on a cookie sheet. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until light golden around the edges. Cool for five minutes on a sheet then transfer to a race and cool completely.