Worth the wait

Photo by Susan Wenzel
The morning of December 23rd, my husband and I stopped by New Palace Polish Bakery in Hamtramck, Michigan (a Polish community within the city of Detroit) to buy Chruściki.

I first tasted “angel wings” years before when my husband took me to Hamtramck to visit some of his family still living in the area. His little Polish aunt presented us with cut crystal glasses of sweet wine and a platter piled high with this delicate holiday favorite to nibble while we chatted. So crispy and light, sweet Chruściki dough is irresistibly twisted into the “wing” shape, deep-fried golden and generously sprinkled with powdered sugar. Although I tried to restrain myself, Aunt Dorothy nonetheless noticed my enthusiastic consumption – I challenge anyone to stop at just one – and presented me with an entire box tied shut with string to take home.

Photo by Susan Wenzel 
Now wedged in with several dozen of my closest friends, I took a number and eagerly awaited my turn to order from an extensive selection of breads, cookies and other traditional Polish delicacies piled high in the glass cases lining the walls and front window of the store. As I listened to people order, some in English but many in their native Polish, I dreamed of ordering some of each – Seven Sisters layer cake akin to a huge petit four, braided Chalka bread topped with sweet crumbles, Christmas tree shaped Keks adorned with multicolored candied fruits, even several kinds of Perogi and locally made Kowalski sausage (a favorite of my husband's I occasionally have shipped overnight down here to Virginia Beach).

Over a half-hour later, I stepped up to the counter and asked for three pounds of Chruściki and, tempted by the handwritten menus displayed on the back wall, a pound slice of Makowiec (a traditional holiday jellyroll type yeast bread crammed full of rich black poppyseed filling) and two pounds of Kowalski holiday kielbasa perfect for Christmas breakfast.

As I left the warmth and sweet smells of the bakery with my string-tied white boxes, I looked forward to sharing one of my favorite Polish treats with my own family. 

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