Black Walnut Bakery: A first look

Dazzling downtown denizens, Sarah Botcher and Black Walnut Bakery
Dazzling downtown denizens, Sarah Botcher and Black Walnut Bakery
Joy Summers

Sarah Botcher has been winning fans with her elegant take on homey desserts at Butcher & the Boar since they opened. She's recently decided to step out and start her own business. Every Thursday she sets up her stand, hangs out her card and shares her talents with downtown Minneapolis farmers market customers. We stopped by for a taste.

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Botcher trained at the Culinary Institute of America and has worked locally at Muddy Waters, Patisserie 46. She also spent time at the renowned Tartine Bakery in San Francisco.

Somewhere in the mixing, baking, proofing and rolling, Sarah found time to marry local chef Peter Botcher. He is the main meat man and chef alongside Jack Riebel at Butcher & the Boar. As the restaurant was being built around them, Sarah and Peter were in a small corner of the basement, working every corner of the kitchen to create the sausages and sweets for the new restaurant.

When Butcher & the Boar first opened the meat-wooed customers, the bourbon lulled them into an agreeable state, but it was the inventive twists on homey desserts that would continually haunt their dreams at night. Botcher's take on toasted marshmallows would arrive, subtly charred, toasty, fabulously gooey -- the aroma alone brought childhood memories of campfires. Paired with dark chocolate and bitter-rich Dogwood coffee, it's a balance of giddy summer anticipation and adult sophistication.

She's brought those talents, that ability to walking the fine line between homey flavors and refined French technique to the baked goods she sells every Thursday beginning at 7:30 a.m. at the downtown Minneapolis farmers market on Nicollet Mall. We found her between 9th and 10th Streets.

Kouign Amann fun to order and to eat
Kouign Amann fun to order and to eat

Joy Summers

Baked goods include savory, like a ham and Gruyere cheese croissant ($4) as wells as a pile of sweet treats. The Black Walnut Lemon Cake ($3), described as the essence of Black Walnut is a beautiful thick slice of pound cake, with a wonderfully moist crumb filled with sunshiney citrus tartness. It's just sweet enough to pair well with a cup of coffee, difficult not to devour.

Her bockstock ($3) is just a little sticky, tacky on the teeth from a brand syrup coating, the interior is tender with a frangipane cream and studded with sour cherry conserve. 

Current and pistachio studded Kugelhopf
Current and pistachio studded Kugelhopf
Joy Summers

The Kugelhopf ($3) are shaped like muffins, but made of a bready dough. Tossed in a layer of crunchy sugar, the interior is studded with little sweet-tart currants and satisfyingly meaty pistachios.

Affordable and easy to eat on the go, these treats are a lovely way to wake up to the work day or top off a business lunch. So far, she only accepts cash and when they're gone, they're gone until the next week. Plan accordingly.

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Minneapolis Farmers' Market

312 E. Lyndale Ave. N.
Minneapolis, MN 55405


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