Thomas Keller's food has always contained a healthy dose of purposeful whimsy, so it makes sense that the Bouchon Bakeries across the country are selling some seriously whimsical and delicious Halloween treats. None of them is cheap enough to give away to trick-or-treaters, but if you are having a few people over or you just want to treat yourself and/or your spouse to a serious sweet Halloween treat, they are certainly worth considering. (Note: Each of the three bakeries does not carry every item. Call first to avoid disappointment.)
Peanut butter cup ($5.75): The most serious peanut butter cup ever? Could be. The ingredients are all top notch (Vahlrona chocolate, house-made peanut butter mousse, fleur de sel), and the resulting confection is intensely chocolatey, creamy, and just salty and sweet enough. This would be the only Bouchon Bakery Halloween item that could be given away to trick-or-treaters, but it would be prohibitively expensive to do so. Plus, these babies are just too good.
Bat-shaped TKO cookie($3): A bat-shaped version of Keller's Oreo-like TK cookie filled with white chocolate ganache. It's a fine, fine cookie, it looks great, and if you like Oreos (or Hydrox) you can't go wrong here.
Caramel apple ($8.50): Is this caramel apple worth $8.50? I'm not convinced. The caramel is delicious but not as buttery as I would like, the Spanish peanuts are a nice touch, and the apple is a standard Granny Smith apple. I don't regard it as the paradigmatic caramel apple, but because it comes with the Keller seal of approval and costs $8.50 it should be. On the other hand, all those other oversized gift caramel apples sold in department stores cost as least as much. Go figure.
Witch's hat s'more bar ($4.60): A homemade graham cracker and house-made marshmallow filling surrounded by milk chocolate, shaped like a witch's hat. It's adorable and delicious.
Spider cookie ($3.50): This spider consists of a large, round, ridiculously buttery vanilla shortbread, piped with vanilla & chocolate fondant icing shaped like a spider. The icing is really just for looks. It's just a really fine shortbread cookie. Imagine the best Lorna Doone ever.
Pumpkin cupcake ($4.90): The oversized cupcake has strange and spooky orange colored fondant frosting that's filled with devil's food cake and hazelnut mousse. Where's the pumpkin flavor? Maybe the Halloween gremlins made it disappear.
The Venetian Resort-Hotel-Casino
3355 Las Vegas Boulevard South, Las Vegas Nevada 89109 (map)
No caramel apples, no witch's hat
6528 Washington Street, Yountville California 94599 (map)