Review: AJ’s Creations, Covington

A bit of a disclosure: the husband of the owner of AJ’s Creations is a coworker of mine.  I hesitated writing this up because I didn’t want to appear to have a conflict of interest, but there are so few bakeries in Cincinnati that specifically deal with allergens that I can’t not share.

DSC_0124AJ Creations is the creation of Amber Jones and her husband, Jason.  She’d always wanted to open up a bakery, and saw a need for certain allergen-free pastries.  They renovated a (truly adorable) storefront in a growing area of Pike Street and now they’re open Tuesday-Saturday, selling all sorts of goodies that can be tolerated by those with allergies.

The one allergy they do not cover is nut allergies– since they are a gluten-free bakery, they use nuts as a substitute. Sorry, nut allergy folks.

DSC_0125All of their pastries are gluten-free, many are sugar free, and many are also dairy free.  When Terry and I stopped by a few weekends ago, we sampled a little bit of each of the categories.  Their assortment is always changing, so give them a call if you’re looking for something in particular off of their menu.

I’m always pretty skeptical of “substitutes”– be it meat substitutes for vegetarians, or wheat substitutes for gluten-free.  Often, it doesn’t taste the same, or doesn’t taste good enough in its own context that I want to eat it.  Between The Sensitive Epicure and AJ’s Creations, my opinion may have changed on Gluten Free.  There is some excellent, excellent baking going on.

DSC_0129Here’s what I tried:

Clockwise from left: A cinnamon scone, which was light and airy, not heavy like scones so often are.  The texture wasn’t scone-like, but I could easily imagine this eaten with a cup of coffee.

Buckeyes, which are made with agave and are gluten-free (though I don’t think buckeyes usually have gluten, do they?  Delicious, just like my grandma used to make.

Lemon bar– a lemon bar is one of my very favorite homemade pastries.  This was nice and tangy, not too sweet, but very soft.  The main difference between GF and non GF was texture– it didn’t have the crust structure a non GF pastry would have, so it was a bit messy but very, very good.

Cinnamon coffee cake– a bit more solid than the other coffee cake (the next choice), and equally delicious, with a delicate crumb.

Strawberry coffee cake– Amber had gotten in strawberries and made a coffee cake with them, so this cake was extra moist– we needed a fork.

They also have all sorts of  caramels that are great– my favorite was the sea salt, and the chai was really delicious, too.  They are made by an outside vendor, but are gluten-free.

They recently shared a recipe with Fox 19- so if you’d like to try their junk muffins at home, head to their site.

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