You encounter the smell of sweetness the moment you walk into Homestyle Desserts Bakery in Peekskill.
Inside is a colorful array of cakes, pies, pastries and cookies with recipes from around the globe.
Homestyle Desserts Bakery has been an institution in northern Westchester for decades. The legacy of the bakery is being continued by co-owners Laura Elias Timmons of Cortlandt and her brother, Jason Elias of Cold Spring.
Timmons said last week her father owned donut shops and personally created donuts, while her mother made cakes. “It took off,” Timmons said.
Timmons and her brother began working in the family business as youths. “My brother would fry donuts when he was six,” she said, adding part of her work included boxing donuts.
The Elias family business, which originally was known as the Dutch Mill Donuts factory, opened in Buchanan in 1970, with the retail aspect of the business starting in 1982. The bakery moved to its current location on South Water Street in Peekskill in 1984.
One of the reasons she enjoys co-owning a bakery is “I like to create new items,” Timmons said, adding later, “Every winter I find something new to make.”
All the baking is done on site, with the brother and sister duo doing some of the baking, Timmons said.
Timmons said the extensive selection of items sold at the bakery include wedding cakes, cookies, pies, chocolate dipped cheesecake slices on a stick, cupcakes, waffle sandwiches stuffed with one of 20 flavors of cannoli cream, macarons, pastries and seasonal favorites. Baked goods of many nationalities are available at the bakery, she said.
“We have a German baker, a French baker, an Italian baker, an American baker and an Ecuadorian baker,” she said.
Timmons and her brother created cannoli chips and dip, which was featured in a New York Times article. The chips are fried at the bakery and have such toppings as powdered sugar and chocolate. The chips are intended to be dipped into cannoli cream.
The bakery’s clients include New York Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner and the players. The other customers come from “everywhere,” Timmons said
Timmons and her brother also operate another store in Cold Spring, which opened last August.
The duo is not sitting on their laurels. The pair is planning to open an ice cream shop, Homestyle Creamery, next door to their Cold Spring business, with a potential opening day of May 1, which will include donuts stuffed with ice cream, Timmons noted.
A key to the success of the bakery is the loyal staff. Timmons said many employees have been working for the business for decades, as long 40 years in the case of one employee.
Though Timmons enjoys concocting new desserts, she also continues the traditions of the bakery. “We make everything from scratch,” she said. “I went to a bakers’ convention, it was all premixed stuff. It wasn’t always that way.”