The Michigan-based company specializes in baking individual dessert bars in a variety of flavors.
The homemade taste of baked goods from her own grandmother’s kitchen inspired Jill Bommarito to found Ethel’s Baking Co. The Michigan-based company specializes in baking individual dessert bars in a variety of flavors.
The bars are uncommonly delicious — I’ve tried a few! — and that seems remarkable for commercially prepared food. Adding to their appeal, the treats are gluten-free. They may be enjoyed by those with celiac disease or sensitivity to wheat, barley and rye.
Some potential customers will appreciate that the bars are also kosher. Packaging bears the widely accepted hechsher of the Orthodox Union. The “circle U” and “D” indicate that the dessert bars are certified kosher dairy products. Rabbi Simcha Smolensky is the O.U.’s rabbinic field representative conducting regular inspections of Ethel’s Baking Co. in St. Clair Shores. The facility opened in December 2012.
With Ethel’s growing success in achieving “No. 1 in the dessert bar category,” according to CEO Bommarito, the company is opening a new 19,000-square-ft production facility in Shelby Township. The larger facility will allow Bommarito and her team — including daughter Lily, director of marketing and sales — to keep up with demand and expand distribution of Ethel’s “handmade with love” dessert bars. Additional flavors will be developed.
“We’re available from coast to coast in the United States and Canada,” said Bommarito, whose immediate family also includes husband, Vince, and their son Joseph.
Her first product starting out in 2011 was Pecan Dandy. Like most of the bars, it begins with Ethel’s signature buttery shortbread crust.
“We cover the crust with layers of flavors — such as caramel or pecans,” Bommarito said. “Our homemade cinnamon filling is topped with streusel and a glaze.” Each layer is baked separately before adding another.
A reading of ingredients on the label shows nothing artificial.
“You wouldn’t find any corn syrup in our products. We make our own caramel,” she said. The locally sourced ingredients include hormone-free butter and cage-free eggs.
Other Ethel’s varieties include a fresh-tasting Raspberry Crumble and Cinnamon Crumble, both pastry bars. Blondies are buttery chunk bars. Turtle Dandy — featuring chocolate, crushed pecans and caramel — sounds downright decadent. Only the crusty, very chocolatey Brownie, is almost flourless.
Prepared in small batches using mixers, dessert bars in a package of three (2.4 ounces each) retail for $9.99. A single-serve bar costs $2.99.
Supermarkets determine the products’ expiration dates. Bommarito said protected bars can be left on the counter or stored in the pantry for up to 10 days. Then they could be refrigerated or even frozen. But why wait so long?
Plum Market was the first local retailer to carry Ethel’s Baking Co.’s dessert bars. Ethel’s is also found in the bakery section at Whole Foods Markets, Fresh Thyme Market in Farmington, Meijer Woodward Corner Market in Royal Oak, Meijer in Southfield, Nino Salvaggio International Marketplace in Bloomfield Township, Westborn Market in Berkley and Western Market in Ferndale. Ethel’s bars are available online at ethels.com and amazon.com.