Shandaken Bake Tempts With Sweet Treats in Tannersville

The hype is real at this Greene County pastry shop, which serves desserts that are just sweet enough and wow the crowds.

Craig Thompson pinches himself when he looks out the window of his Tannersville bakery and sees a line of people stretching around the block. He pinches a little harder when, after just a few hours of operation, all of the artisan pastries, pies, cookies, tarts, and biscuits he’s lovingly crafted have sold out. To him, it’s affirmation that he’s doing what he was put on this planet to do: Bake with great intention.

For 30 years, the 52-year-old Thompson dreamed of opening a bakery, so when his shop, known as Shandaken Bake, finally materialized last June, he was overwhelmed with gratitude and emotion. “There was a moment when we were almost done with construction last year, and I realized that this dream no longer lived in my head. It existed in the world,” says Thompson, a self-taught baker and former pastry chef at The Pines in Mount Tremper.

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Thompson’s background doesn’t include a degree from a culinary school. His biggest inspirations were Florence and Ann, his grandmother and mom. “Baking has always been a connective thread through my life, whether it was memories of my grandmother cooking corn-starch pudding in her kitchen, or the white-crumb apple pie my mom made. They instilled those traditions of home baking in my life early on,” he says.

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Get to Shandaken Bake early to snag buttermilk biscuits, cute cookies, and lots more.

Let’s get the record straight: Shandaken is 25 minutes southwest of Tannersville. But with a devoted fan base like Thompson’s—you can’t change the name now. (He lived in Shandaken about 20 years ago when he first started out.) The bakery’s first iteration was at the Pakatakan Farmers Market in Halcottsville. For seven years, Thompson wowed customers with his now-famous sweet-and-salty trail bars, chocolate banana bread, sweet-cream biscuits, and rustic fruit tarts.

Devoted fans followed Thompson to Tannersville for those farmers market faves and more, including key lime pies with homemade browned-butter graham cracker crust and billowing clouds of whipped cream, and straight-from-the-oven chocolate chunk cookies.

Don’t get us started on the legendary “chubby squirrels,” a pastry based on the memory of one he had tasted at a NYC bakery decades ago. “Folks love them,” says Thompson. “I would describe it as scone meets coffee cake. I wanted it to be named after a woodland animal of the Catskills, and a friend said, ‘It looks like a chubby squirrel’s tail,’ so chubby squirrel it was.”

Shandaken Bake is not the sort of shop that makes super-sugary desserts—and that’s intentional. “I love to pull the savory qualities out of things we think of as sweet. For me, it’s about striking that balance,” he says. “When I use the word ‘savory,’ it’s about honoring the fruit, chocolate, or nuts in the pastry. It’s not about using sugar to mask the tartness of something like rhubarb.”

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The bakery is open Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. until sold out. On select Thursdays from 2–6 p.m., Shandaken Bake hosts an afternoon tea with offerings like roasted squash and cauliflower hand-pies with chutney or quiche and salad. “When I opened a year ago, I had such a wonderful turnout. After building relationships for so many years, everybody showed up and I am ever grateful,” he says.

Shandaken Bake
6036 Main Street, Tannersville
@shandakenbake

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