WILTON, Conn. — In a world where portion sizes keep getting bigger, satisfying a sweet craving without overindulging can be hard. That’s why pastry chef Mary O’Brien of Wilton and longtime friend Joy Gifford of Norwalk launched Heavenly Bites, a business dedicated to bite-sized desserts.
Specifically, Heavenly Bites are bite-sized cakes handmade in Wilton using fresh, high-quality ingredients. And because one cake bite is 100 calories or less, O’Brien said, you can satisfy your sweet tooth without feeling guilty after.
“It’s perfect for when you want a little treat, but don’t want an entire piece of cake,” said O’Brien.
O’Brien— who started baking as a child and went on to become a pastry chef in New York— stressed that Heavenly Bites are not like cake pops. Instead, she said they are “classic-style, decadent cakes” you can eat in three bites or less.
Heavenly Bites come in four classic flavors: carrot cake, lemon drop, devil’s food and red velvet. The devil's food and red velvet recently won first and third place, respectively, in the dessert category of the Connecticut Specialty Food Association's Product Awards Competition.
There are also two signature flavors, vanilla latte and chocolate espresso, and seasonal flavors. In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, the current seasonal flavor is creme de menthe, and available through the end of March.
From start to finish, O’Brien said it take about four days to complete an order of bites. First, the sheet cakes are baked, usually 10 to 15 at a time, she said. Once the cake is cooled, it’s broken down, blended with icing and shaped into balls. From there, they are hand-dipped into chocolate coating (white or dark), decorated with chocolate drizzle and placed into the freezer.
“It’s a labor of love,” said O’Brien, who handles all the baking. Gifford, who has a background in marketing, handles the day-to-day operations.
The bites have to be frozen, O’Brien added, because there are “absolutely no preservatives whatsoever.”
When O’Brien and Gifford first launched Heavenly Bites, it was an online-only business. But last fall, they teamed up with local retailers to sell their product in stores. The classic flavor collection is carried at Village Market in Wilton, Walter Stewart’s Market in New Canaan and Palmer’s Market & Bakery in Darien, and can be found in the freezer section.
“We’re doing phenomenal in the shops,” Gifford said. “We hope to branch out to more local, mom and pop type specialty stores throughout the county.”
Heavenly Bites can also be ordered as corporate gifts and favors for special occasions, like weddings, communions/confirmations, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs and bridal/baby showers. Favors are available in two-piece boxes or one-piece gift bags/boxes, and can be customized.
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