Behind the Sweets: Jen Templeton creates Chocolate Whirlaways at Gingersnap Sweets & Such

[Photographs: Lindsey Becker]

As someone who doesn't like sweets very much, Jen Templeton sure makes some outstanding pastries. A French Pastry School-trained chef, Jen just opened Gingersnap Sweets & Such two months ago. She's built her menu on the idea of the familiar made enticingly unfamiliar. From hand-pies filled with almonds and pears to a unique molasses-free gingersnap, Jen's selection is diverse though she admits it does lean a little French at times. She likes "that fancy, French stuff" like entremets (coming soon), but she always wants her food to be approachable. The day I visited, the aforementioned hand-pie was cut in half so you could see exactly what it was filled with.

Though approachable will never mean boring or expected. She changes up her menu daily to keep her customers curious. One of the few staples she tries to always have on-hand is her signature Whirlaway, a swirl of yeast dough that can be made savory or sweet. She kindly walked me through the making of a Chocolate Whirlaway, the most popular variation. Click through the slideshow to learn more about this singular creation.


If Lakeview is a little too out of your way, Jen's creations will soon be on the menu at The Boarding House, Alpana Singh's much-anticipated multi-level social club of a restaurant. Make sure to tell the staff if you're celebrating a birthday as one of Jen's plans include miniature tiered birthday cakes—again, the usual reformed into the unusual.

Gingersnap Sweets & Such

1416 W Irving Park Rd, Chicago, IL 60613 (map)