Sweets for the sweet: SugarGoodies bonbons come in several flavors, like hazelnut and mocha. Photo: Billy Dohrmann.
Writer: Karla Walsh
The best part of waking up? Sure, Folgers is fine, but SugarGoodies founder Jessica Robertson recommends some chocolate-dipped biscotti to dunk in it. “It’s a nice treat,” she says. “The chocolate is so luscious.”
This Valentine’s Day—or anytime you want to treat someone (including yourself)—consider the local company’s biscotti, chocolate bars, hot-chocolate bombs or homemade marshmallows. Or try the bonbons in the “support local” section at Crème, which blew me away with their pure chocolate essence.
“I’m inspired by flavors that are familiar but done well,” Robertson says, listing off her current favorites: caramel, hazelnut, dark chocolate and mocha. SugarGoodies uses grand cru dark chocolate from suppliers who pay a premium price for sustainable, fair-trade cacao beans. The result: delicious chocolate, from a process that supports the farmers and their farms for generations.
Robertson started her dessert career as a cake decorator in 2007, first for Walmart and then for Dahl’s. She taught herself how to bake from scratch and eventually garnered enough skills and confidence to knock on the door of Baru 66 and inquire about its opening for a pastry chef. She was initially turned away but returned week after week until the owner told her to show up on a Thursday with a chef’s coat.
Since then, Robertson has worked at top-notch restaurants in Chicago, New York City’s Eleven Madison Park and even a Michelin-starred restaurant in Scotland called the Peat Inn. When it shut down during the pandemic, she moved back home with her husband and three kids but found few options in the Midwest for pastry chefs, even of her caliber. So she read about chocolate, watched YouTube videos, taught herself how to create epic confections—and founded SugarGoodies.
As she puts it, “I developed a passion out of necessity and curiosity.”
You can find her latest updates on Instagram (@sugargoodies3) and buy her treats at Crème, in care packages through Happy DSM, and on the SugarGoodies website. Delivery within 5 miles is free, but she’ll ship her goodies anywhere in the lower 48 states.