An Homage to Mani’s Bakery, Here in LA

As some of you know and many of you don’t, Ray and I do not eat white refined sugar. We haven’t since the early 1980s, with the exception of a few slip-ups on my part a few years back. (Ray never slips when it comes to white sugar, much to his credit.) We eat instead sweets made primarily from honey, molasses, maple sugar, maple syrup and agave syrup.

As you might imagine, it’s not very easy to find actually good sweets made from the above ingredients. They often are only marginally tasty. Hence the reason why I have become a fairly competent baker of sweets using those more natural ingredients. The one exception to the paucity of “good” desserts we could eat came from a bakery here in LA called Mani’s. It was located on Fairfax and they specialized in desserts made with only the sweeteners that were on our list. Needless to say, when we moved here in 1994, we spent A LOT of time at Mani’s, perusing the bakery shelves for goodies.

Unfortunately, Mani’s closed a few years back, probably because it’s so much more expensive to make sweets from natural sources versus white refined sugar. With that closure, we were back to basically home baking for our sweets, and Ray, all of our daughters and I have become quite adept at creating seriously delicious cakes, pies and cookies without even a pinch of sugar. However there was one special cookie that we all loved at Mani’s, a chocolate truffle cookie, which we could never manage to re-create. Actually, it was two cookies with a big glob of creamy chocolate in the middle and we just couldn’t figure out the right combination of ingredients.

This is the long way around to say that today, Rachael, with the aid of a coveted Mani’s cookbook and Ray’s direction, re-created those wonderful chocolate truffle cookies. She also made some with vanilla cream inside, which are a combination of cocoa butter wafers and honey.

This was a big day at our house. These cookies took us right back to those delectable Mani’s visits, when we had a real place we could go visit that offered desserts we could eat.

We all agreed that we have to freeze almost all of these cookies are we’re going to weigh 300 pounds within a matter of weeks. However, to recreate a taste treat that we literally haven’t had in at least ten years was quite an accomplishment. And we continue to be duly impressed with Rachael’s growing baking skills.

Here’s a photo of the cookies made in our kitchen today. Yum.

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