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High On SUGAR

Amelia Island bakery takes the cake

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Macarons, Mile-high cakes, cookies, giant cinnamon buns and more await at Nana Teresa’s Bake Shop on Amelia Island. It’s the ideal shop for holiday sweets, with all the goodies you (and that right jolly old elf) want and more.

The enormous cinnamon buns ($4.25) are sliced in half and stuffed with a filling of nuts and sugary cream cheese that perks up the slightly dry dough. The treat, which is as big as your face, really can be entirely consumed, but it’s not a Nassau County ordinance … yet. Let the masterminds behind the many delights; i.e., Teresa and Mark Markarian, warm it up for maximum tastiness.

I shriek with sheer joy every time I find a spot with Italian rainbow cookies displayed in a shiny glass case ($14.95/pound). The tricolored treats are more like little cakes than cookies, but it’s all semantics after that first bite. Each layer–green, red and white–is an almondy tidbit, coated with a fruity jam like raspberry or, my favorite, orange marmalade, then covered with chocolate. They’re sliced to show off those lovely layers. The artists at the ovens don’t make these in-house, but they were so delicious I let it slide.

Nana Teresa carries a full line of macarons ($2.50) as well; not coconut-based macaroons, but the French delicacy that’s meringue-based. Mexican Chocolate, lavender, pumpkin and fruity pebbles are a few of the flavors available. Of those I picked, it was the luck of the draw. Some were a little on the stale side, their shells crumbly rather than the signature creamy and crunchy outer shell of macs; others were absolutely flawless. As they say, ya pays yer money and ya takes yer chances.

To reel you totally in, I’ve saved the best for last. Cakes, cakes, cakes! Giant stacks of happiness, they’re as high as you’ll feel after you devour a slab or twelve. New cake flavors pop up in the display often. The day we went, the Chocolate Marble Cake caught our fancy. The generous piece ($4.95) was moist with thick, homemade buttercream frosting covering the whole shebang. The icing on the cake (figuratively, that is, lol) was a pudding-like chocolate filling between the layers. Attack zestfully with a fork.

The Markarians offer a variety of coffees and teas, so you can linger over a cup of chai or a latte with your pastry. And a first-rate rarity also awaits you at Nana Teresa’s: eg creams. C’mon–you’ve been to Brooklyn. Mark scored a grand old soda fountain (think Jeff Daniels’ soda shop in Pleasantville) where, using his own handmade syrups, he concocts some of the best egg creams this side of Brighton Beach.

The full-service bakery has wedding cakes, cheesecakes, smash cakes, pies and more. Worried about gluten? Have no fear–Nana Teresa’s offer items just for you. Simply tell them of your restrictions and they’ll be happy to make substitutions.

Noshing at Nana Teresa’s is an excellent way to cap off a meal–or go crazy and their sweets into a meal. After all, ’tis the season. (Psst–I suggest the cake.)

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