Step into the Carpenter's Wife store these days and a delicious aroma, one no scented candle could ever compete with, wafts around the corner, bidding you to hunt down the source of the delightful smell of fresh baked goodies.
The Red Elephant Bakery Cafe has opened in Payson.
Leoni Dobbins, a long-time resident of Gisela has been serving up scrumptious homemade delights in the form of cookies, cakes and pies. Herbal teas, gourmet coffees and flavored lattes add to the growing menu.
"I've wanted to do some kind of baking and I couldn't do it from home because of the cats. I thought I could start by going into people's homes and cooking," she said. "It's become quite a big thing now in the cities for chefs to go into people's homes, spending the whole day there. The chefs cook meals for a week of a month or whatever and then go home again. Then I heard that Kristie Dillman wanted to do (open up a bakery) and I went straight to her and said, ‘I want to come and bake for you.'"
Dobbins successfully baked her audition for Dillman. Next came the search for a name. She came up with the name after looking through a book on Southwest Flowers of the Mountains.
The symbol for Dobbins' bakery is a mother and baby elephant .
Her Wisconsin red sour cherry pie has an elephant cut out of the center and rather than leaves, has elephants marching around the edge.
The Red Elephant always has cookies and cakes. Apricot bars from an old family recipe are the most popular, with brown sugar shortbread running close behind.
While Dobbins does the baking, Lora Lee Libolt does the decorating.
Cakes available at the Red Elephant include gingerbread chocolate chip, peanut butter lovers and Tennessee jam cake. Dobbins has made cakes for many occasions in a range of prices. The five-layer lemon cake with a marzipan rose sells for $25. An 8-inch round cake, that is a double-layer cake with unsweetened whipped cream and unsweetened fruit preserves in between the layers, topped with a powdered sugar doily, is suitable as a wedding or anniversary cake.
Dobbins' grown daughters -- Lorien Partridge from Denver and Audrey Dobbins from South Africa --ave come to inspire recipes like coffee cheesecake, bringing with them a caffeine-free herbal tea from South Africa called Rooibos. Tea and coffee drinks are served in china cups if you wish to enjoy your repast in the lovely, cozy, ever-changing sitting room, which is also available for larger parties with reservations.
Little tea sandwiches also are available, and in the summer, the Red Elephant will have offer more seasonal vegetables. The winter sandwiches feature cream cheese spreads in red (red pepper and tomato), blue (blue cheese and capers) and green (green onion and celery).
Patrons with a heartier appetite may try a bowl of Dobbins' homemade soup of the day (onion, cheesy potato, minestrone) or a slice of quiche (asparagus or tomato, onion and cheese) served with a slice of freshly homemade french or whole wheat bread for $2.50.
The Red Elephant at the Carpenter's Wife is at 112 W. Wade Lane in Payson. Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday; noon to 4 p.m. Sunday.