There’s something special and very New England feeling about walking into a cozy bakery on a crisp day in autumn. Days when the slight chill in the air finds its perfect complement in the smell of locally roasted coffee and muffins straight from the oven.
Nestled in Newburyport’s North End neighborhood, Goose Chase Baking Co. is picturesque from the outside, and a walk through the door does not disappoint. Warm wood tones and small tables outfit the space, most of which is consumed by a large counter, a vehicle to display a mouthwatering selection of made-from-scratch items. Some people might describe the bakery as “tiny” and that’s just the way owner and baker Gina DiGiovanni likes it. “It is great to be here in this little spot” says DiGiovanni, who has nothing but love for the neighborhood and the greater Newburyport community. Prior to opening Goose Chase, she was the owner of Soufflés less than a mile down the road, where she developed her love for the people in the area and her love for baking.
If you walk into Goose Chase on a given day, you are likely to find DiGiovanni at the back counter (she’s the operation’s sole baker) happily whipping up a confectionary delight checking on something baking in the oven. You might even be greeted by her daughter, who was nicknamed Goose as a child—so it’s not too big of a leap to guess who inspired the bakery’s name.
Regardless of the time of day, you won’t be able to miss the aroma of the freshly brewed coffee, which is fair trade, organically grown, and roasted in small batches every week in southern New Hampshire. Espresso drinks are hand crafted in the shop’s Italian espresso machine, and DiGiovanni makes her own syrups (including all the regular suspects but once you try the Ginger Vanilla, you’ll be a convert for life).
The bakery menu includes scones (you’ll always find at least four varieties) as well as sweet rolls, muffins, breads, cookies, bars, coffee cakes, house-made granola, and more. DiGiovanni loves incorporating seasonal items; a visit this fall will score you one of their pumpkin whoopie pies, which were off-the-charts popular at Soufflés and are likely to be a hit at Goose Chase as well. Their rotating menu features gluten-free selections; DiGiovanni is a fan of making recipes that happen to be gluten free and also taste amazing; try their naturally gluten free peanut butter cookie and you’ll see what I mean. The bakery also has an ever-changing selection of savory quiches for the non-sugar loving set.
If you’re already familiar with Goose Chase, I probably don’t need to tell you about their donut muffins, except to remind you that if you want one, make plans to arrive early. Is it a donut? Is it a muffin? Well, it’s both and they’re pretty out-of-this-world delicious. Tip: Follow Goose Chase on social media for a heads-up on when this elusive baked good is scheduled to make an appearance.
Owner and Baker Gina DiGiovanni
For all of the culinary magic DiGiovanni creates, it is her natural warmth and hospitable nature that are a big part of what keeps people coming back to Goose Chase. She thinks nothing of stepping away from her work to greet a customer by name or introduce herself to a new face. Because while most people will take a donut muffin with or without a smile, with one is so much better.
PUMPKIN WHOOPIE PIES
> 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
> 1 tsp. salt
> 1 tsp. baking powder
> 3/4 tsp. baking soda
> 1 Tbsp. cinnamon
> 1.5 tsp. ground ginger
> 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
> 2 cups packed brown sugar
> 1 cup vegetable oil
> 3 1/4 cups canned pumpkin purée
> 2 large eggs
> 1 tsp. vanilla extract
> 3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
> 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
> 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
> 1 tsp. vanilla extract
> Pinch of salt
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves together.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk the brown sugar and oil together until combined. Add the pumpkin puree and whisk thoroughly.
4. Add the eggs and vanilla and whisk again.
5. Add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and mix until completely combined.
6. Use a large ice cream scoop or 1/3 cup measuring cup to drop batter onto prepared baking sheets, several inches apart.
7. Bake for 18-22 minutes, until the cakes are starting to crack on top and a toothpick inserted into the center of them comes out clean.
8. Cool the cakes completely before filling.
For the Cream Cheese Filling
1. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter until it’s completely smooth. Add the cream cheese and beat until combined.
2. Add the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth.
Assemble the Whoopie Pies
1. Use an ice cream scoop or a tablespoon to drop filling onto the flat side of a cake.
2. Place another cake, flat side down, on top of the filling. Press down lightly to spread filling to the edges of the cake.
3. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.
Goose Chase Baking Co.
38 Washington St., Newburyport,