I note this because I have delayed for months a post about Touche Touchet. The bakery is off Rte 29 so close to my house, and I just thought that I was missing something. I visited after people commented about its absence on my post about bakeries in Howard County. I liked my cupcake. I liked my croissant. The pastries were pretty, but I just wasn't inspired enough to rave or sure enough of myself to write something lukewarm.
Now, I know that I was missing something. You should read all of B More Sweet's review, but this is the money quote:
[I]t was Touche Touchet's cupcakes that really won first place in my baker's heart. I had been suffering of late from a serious case of cupcake fatigue, where everything seemed too cutesy-pie and nothing tasted like anything other than a big cloud of cloying fluffiness. You know the kinds of cupcakes I'm talking about - you can buy them all over the place in Baltimore, I'm afraid, and I blame Sex and the City for that. It only took a step inside Touche Touchet for me to get the heck over my cupcake boycott. Here the cupcakes are ethereal, dense and beautiful, appropriately-sized, and not cloyingly sweet. Each cupcake is its own work of art, , and each is fun to eat. These are truly the cupcakes that all the other bakeries want to bake, and these are the cupcakes that grown adult people want to eat.B More Sweet is a pretty, thoughtful blog by a former Howard County resident who both shows her own confections and comments about bakeries, mostly in Baltimore but sometimes into Catonsville. She knows her baking, so I took her opinion and went back to Touche Touchet last week. (B M S is also a lawyer, nicknamed her spouse in the blog, and denounced Facebook. This makes her very big at HowChow.)
Touche Touchet is a sweets bakery except for some savory croissants. I think that's why I missed the point. My cravings run salty so I'll plan my errands around the tastiest taco truck, but I have been jaded by desserts that were nothing but sugar and empty calories. With B M S's prodding, I paid attention at Touche Touchet, and I liked everything that I saw and tasted. The coffee cake is moist and slightly sweet. The coffee is delicious. The tarts are beautiful. And the cupcake was everything that B M S promised. I chose lemon drop. Moist cake. A dense lemon filling hidden inside. A hard frosting that was artistically swirled and added something more than the tooth-shocking sweet of a cheap dessert. They were head-and-shoulder better than the dinner party dessert that Mrs. HowChow had picked up a few weeks ago at one of Baltimore's cupcake specialists.
This should be a casual pilgrimage for anyone who wants to try the best in Howard County cupcakes, muffins, brownies and more. You can buy beautiful pastries to serve at home. You can stop for a snack at either the few indoor seats or the tables outdoors. (A few outdoor chairs look on the woods next door, but you can get the Columbia special -- seats where you can watch your car.) This would be a magical place to bring a child for an afternoon break of cupcakes and milk.
Check out my post about bakeries in Howard County. Touche Touchet does not bake bread like Bonaparte in Savage.
Touché Touchet Bakery and Pastry Shoppe
Atholton Shopping Center
10400 Shaker Drive
Columbia, MD 21046
NEAR: This is right off Rte 29 in Columbia. Trust me. You get off at the Seneca Drive / Shaker Drive exit (Exit 17). Go east and turn right immediately onto Shaker Drive. The Atholton Shopping Center is a few blocks down on the left. Shaker then continues down and hits Rte 32. You could come from that direction as well, although it's semi-residential so don't drive too fast.