Deviny Herrera is obsessed with macarons, and while that obsession may cause her some sleepless nights and OCD flare-ups, it means stunningly beautiful and creatively delicious cookies for you via her Black Knife Bakery. Herrera’s fixation on the colorful cookies began during a trip to Las Vegas, when she first bit into a chocolate macaron at Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery. When she got home, she couldn’t let that taste memory go, and, newly unemployed at her job as a phlebotomist, the self-taught baker began devouring all things macaron she could find—from the cookies themselves to YouTube tutorials to dozens of online recipes.
“All I did was bake,” Herrera says. “I was baking 10 to 15 hours a day. I didn’t like how any of the recipes I tried tasted, so I’d change one thing at a time. After a few months, and 30 or 40 recipes, I found my recipe. I have awful OCD, and I have to do something until I get it right.”
Get it right she did. Now Herrera runs Black Knife full time and routinely sells out of Black Knife’s monthly variety boxes filled with intricate specialty flavors. February’s box features 12 oversized macarons each in six flavors: dulce de leche Nutella cheesecake, espresso maldon salted caramel, cherry blackberry rose Champagne, dark chocolate raspberry molten, strawberry with condensed milk, and lavender passionfruit lemonade (she’s sadly sold out for the month but plans to announce available delivery dates for March on Instagram soon). Since Herrera loves to experiment with new flavors, you probably won’t see any of those varieties again anytime soon, but her specialty cookies always have that sort of familiar-with-a-twist style. “I make stuff I want to eat,” she says.
Herrera currently has a growing list of 120 specialty flavors, in addition to her 50 classics. All can be ordered by the dozen, in towers, wholesale, or even airbrushed with custom designs for delivery to addresses in the metro area, from Longmont to Centennial, and pickup in Westminster outside of her apartment. Herrera only asks that her mac fans have patience; she does everything herself, including baking through the night in an Adams County commissary kitchen, coordinating pickups, and making the weekly Saturday deliveries.
Just down Highway 36 from Herrera is Chelsea Berman and her Broomfield-based Phresh Baked Goods. (The name is a nod to her favorite band: Phish.) Berman was a pastry chef at Serendipity Catering before getting laid off in March at the onset of the pandemic. She found herself with a lot of time on her hands, and so she did what she does best: bake. She baked for friends and neighbors as a cottage food business, starting with necessities like breads and breakfast items. But it was when she added her favorite things to make—cookies and cakes—to the menu, that she found herself with a growing following.
“COVID lasted a lot longer than I thought, and work wasn’t getting back to normal at all, so I started at farmers’ markets last summer. That jumpstarted everything,” Berman says. Now fully licensed and working out of a commissary kitchen, she offers all sorts of sweet treats for delivery and pickup, but it’s her custom sugar cookies, especially, that are edible works of art. They take days—plural—to create, requiring a minimum of 48 hours to fashion, and that’s for the less complicated designs.
True to her namesake, Berman has made several rounds of cookies and cakes for her fellow jam band fans. “A huge portion of my customer base has ended up being Phish fans, so a lot of my stuff is Phish themed or Grateful Dead themed, just by customer demand,” she says.
Phresh Baked Goods’ Phish (and otherwise) cookies, cakes, cupcakes, whoopie pies, and various desserts are available for pickup outside her Broomfield home, or she delivers throughout the Denver and Boulder areas. Someday, though, when the world settles back down, she hopes to open her own storefront. Where? “Definitely on the west side,” she says.