Sugar Hooker's Sweet Treats

The Sugar Hooker arrives with sweet treats, late hours and a few new tricks up her sleeve

The Sugar Hooker arrives with sweet treats, late hours and new tricks

Fluff Bake Bar
Rebecca Masson, center, with assistants Russell van Kraayenburg and Kimberly Margioni (aka, The Ninja). Photo by Eric Sandler
Fluff Bake Bar
Lemon ricotta pound cake with lemon curd, English tea ice creamm candied lemon zest and milk paper. Photo by Eric Sandler
Fluff Bake Bar
Blackberry bakewell tart with blackberry jam and lemon verbena ice cream. Photo by Eric Sandler
Fluff Bake Bar
Risotto zepolle with honey semifredo.  Photo by Eric Sandler
Fluff Bake Bar
Masson's familiar treats are all availble: including unicorn cookies, fluffernutters and Cup|Cakes. Photo by Eric Sandler
Fluff Bake Bar
Fluff Bake Bar
Fluff Bake Bar
Fluff Bake Bar
Fluff Bake Bar

The Sugar Fairy has found her castle.

It's been about a year-and-a-half since pastry chef Rebecca Masson, known as both the Sugar Fairy and the Sugar Hooker (depending on who you ask), raised over $53,000 to open a brick and mortar location of Fluff Bake Bar. On Thursday, the dream became reality when Masson opened the doors for the first time at her new shop in Midtown. 

 Fluff will stay open until 10 p.m. during the week and until midnight Thursday through Saturday to serve diners who want a pastry to wrap up their evenings. 

Masson is known for her kicked-up version of classic treats like Moon Pies, cookies and Fluffernutters — all of which are available at the shop — but it's the "bar" part of the name that Masson is most excited about exploring in the form of charcuterie plates and plated desserts with wine pairings.

Fluff will stay open until 10 p.m. during the week and until midnight Thursday through Saturday to serve diners who want a pastry to wrap up their evenings. Masson gets a gleam in her eyes when asked about why she's offering plated desserts at the shop. 

"My entire career has been, from the minute I got out of culinary school and started working in New York, in restaurants. I’ve always done plated desserts as someone’s pastry assistant or being the pastry chef," Masson tells CultureMap. "I have a lot more tricks up my sleeve, you know? I’ve got more than Fluffernutters and Moon Pies."

Plated desserts 

Fluff opens with four plated desserts priced at $12 each, or diners can opt for a three-course tasting of smaller desserts for $21 with a $12 wine pairing. Options include the "cup of tea," lemon ricotta pound cake with lemon curd, English tea ice cream and "milk paper," a blackberry bakewell tart with blackberry jam and lemon verbena ice cream and Italian-style zeppole donuts with risotto and honey semifredo.

 "I figure out the taste first and then the aesthetics. I put (the zeppole) in a brown paper bag, because that’s how you get them in Little Italy." 

"I did pick the opening menu of things I know work," Masson explains. "The risotto zeppole, that got me the job in New York at the Red Cat in 2005. It never went out of style. It’s freaking delicious. It doesn’t have to be all frou-frou.

"Sometimes you see desserts that are gorgeously plated but they just don’t deliver. I figure out the taste first and then the aesthetics. I put (the zeppole) in a brown paper bag, because that’s how you get them in Little Italy."

Serving plated desserts late with beer or wine is what sets Fluff Bake Bar apart from a relative newcomer like Common Bond (closes at 7 p.m.) and traditional favorites like Dessert Gallery and The Chocolate Bar that don't serve alcohol.

It also gives Fluff a niche in Midtown's suddenly booming restaurant scene that includes recent additions like Oporto and The Republic Smokehouse and an exciting newcomer in soon-to-open Izakaya. 

Not alone

Masson won't be alone on this new adventure. She's joined by her longtime assistant Kimberly Margioni (affectionately known as "The Ninja") and pastry cook Russell van Kraayenburg. The chef says she see Fluff as an opportunity for both them and some new hires to grow as chefs.

Every single one of these people can come to me with a cake, a cookie, a plated dessert and be, like, ‘here it is.’ We’ll work on it. We’ll figure out what works, what doesn’t work. If it’s good, throw it up on the specials board. If it  flies, I’ll throw it on the menu," Masson says.

"I want people to learn. We’ve made Ninja a little celebrity in her own right. Now everybody’s going to be able to see what she looks like," she adds. "I want it to be a place where people want to come to work everyday, and I want it to be a place where everyone’s happy. Yeah, you might have to scoop 300 cookies, but, at the end of the day, you get to work on something you want to learn."

Coffee skills

Masson may be ready to guide her team while they adapt to restaurant-style service, and she's certainly ready to serve as a mentor who helps her assistants grow creatively as chefs. So, what is she most nervous about?

"Somebody asked me for coffee. That’s the thing that’s going to scare me. It’s that freaking coffee machine. That thing is a beast. I was, like, ‘Really, Avi? Really?’," she says with a laugh. "I was a barista in college before being a barista was cool. It wasn’t like this. I didn’t have a freaking timer timing my shots. I was exerting 40-pounds of pressure on the thing."

Regardless of her skill with latte art, Masson is certainly gifted when it comes to pastries. Now that it's open, Fluff Bake Bar becomes an immediate must-visit destination for Houstonians with a sweet tooth.