Andrea Reubin says "a combination of things came together" to turn her from a hobby baker with a big sweet tooth into the "chief dessert officer" of Just Sweets. As a social worker helping the 13-year-old daughter of migrant workers, she realized that "there is a segment of society that can't lift themselves out of poverty." In business school, she learned about corporate social responsibility. She put the two together, and lo, Just Sweets was born.
The online "dessertery," as she calls it, combines indulgence and social justice by not only using Fair Trade ingredients, but offering an entire line of Fair Trade certified baked goods. All cocoa, chocolate, vanilla and sugar used in the treats are Fair Trade, and the other ingredients are local and organic whenever possible.
Reubin's creations arise from a combination of inspiration and adaptation, and she's always experimenting. One standout we sampled at a recent tasting was the Sweet Potato Criss-Cross Squares ($25 for six generous servings), a flaky-crusted, subtly sweet tart that will soon be added to the line. Reubin said, "I had to really play with the filling. Adding bourbon dominated it because it's a very thin layer, so I ended up flavoring it with just vanilla and spices."
Another standout is the Fair & Square ($30 for 6), a petite dark-chocolate cake with a buttercream filling that's reminiscent of the treats you used to find in your lunchbox - but infinitely richer and more delicious.
We sampled another future offering, the six-layer Chocolate Mocha Sensation (one taster called it "heaven on a plate.") Fudgy dark-chocolate layers of cake alternate with vanilla, mocha and chocolate Italian buttercream, and the whole thing is encased in ganache.
All Just Sweets products are made by Reubin at the Midtown Enterprise Center's commercial kitchen, and are available exclusively online. Monthly, twice-monthly and weekly subscriptions are available, and the goodies can be shipped nationwide. You can also order for pickup at the Midtown Enterprise Center.
Just Sweets Desserts, justsweetsdesserts.com