Sweet Days at Tullio’s Bakery

Lacy, coffee-colored cannolis, with creamy, chocolate-chip-dotted filling peeking out of each end. Cupcakes swirled high with buttercream under a shower of cookie crumbs. Artfully decorates cakes and pies, almost too pretty to eat. These were the first things to grab my attention walking into Tullio’s Bakery in Duck. The next was Dawn Amoruso with bright blue eyes and a pretty smile, busying herself behind the counter. She and her husband Tom have owned Tullio’s since 2003; Tom is the baker and when he and Dawn decided to move to the OBX from New York and purchase the bakery, he learned all he needed to know practically overnight from the previous owner.

At the time, Tullio’s was a small, two-case shop occupying a treehouse of a space upstairs in Duck’s Scarborough Faire. The Amoruso’s soon outgrew that setting and relocated to the Loblolly Pines shopping center, where they began expanding their selection of scratch made sweets to include everything a traditional New York bakery would feature.

Dawn said she wanted a place with baked goods that would remind people of home and their childhoods. They’ve accomplished that with classics like Italian sprinkle cookies and gorgeous cheesecakes in flavors like Raspberry Grenache with Oreo crust. They serve a breakfast menu complete with egg sandwiches and some pretty legendary cinnamon buns, turnovers, and danishes. By the time we line up in the morning to spoil ourselves on Tullio’s goodies, Tom will have already been in the kitchen baking, filling, and decorating them for 5 hours or more. 

The owners of Tullio’s Bakery in their kitchen

A private slice of heaven

Tullio’s is also famous for their uniquely designed wedding cakes – unsurprising, considering the stunning cakes and pies lining one full dessert case in the front of the shop. I was fortunate enough to score one of Tom’s fresh key lime pies to serve as dessert for family visiting from out of town. As expected, though, I had the pie home for about 10 minutes before I was tearing open the white cardboard box like a Christmas present and easing a tiny wedge out for myself. Some things are meant to be eaten in private. This pie, at least for one quiet bite or two, is one of them. The velvety key lime custard has just the right amount of pucker and that fruity tartness is smoothed out by a graham cracker crust that’s a few steps back from sugary and exactly satisfying. A dollop of thick whipped cream on top ties the flavors together like a period at the end of a sentence.

A key lime pie with graham cracker crust, decorated with lime wedges

sharing the love

Making breads, pies, and pastries from scratch every day leads to a certain amount of leftovers. If our sun is shining too bright, calling folks to the beach instead of to the shops and not all of Tom and Dawn’s delicious items sell in a day, they donate them to homeless folks in need and send them off to round out meals for international students here working on J-1 Visas. A sweet way to avoid waste and help our community at the same time.

sentimental sweetness

For me, I didn’t grow up in a town with anything resembling Tullio’s but we did have a Giant grocery store and my brother and I sure did coerce mom into buying us the black and white cookies: big as a paper plate, with a creamy, saccharine glaze of icing on top, black on one half, white on the other. My brother and I could be trusted to administer this treat ourselves- “the middle” already determined by the baker, leaving no need to argue over the definition of “half”. This taste memory is buried deep in my bones and the sight of Tullio’s classic black and white cookies put me, just as Dawn and Tom probably intended, right back in the navy blue leather seat of the family station wagon, on the way home from Giant, licking icing off my fingers and littering my lap with sugar cookie crumbs.

I’ll definitely be lining up at Tullio’s again soon for some sugary childhood memories, and a cookie or two on the side. Dawn’s words as she thanks you for coming to the bakery are, “Have a sweet day!” Easy to do when your morning begins at Tullio’s.

Chicken Noodle Soup with Sherry and Cream

Slide over, holiday food… soup season is still going strong and cannot be stopped. This Chicken Noodle Soup with Sherry and Cream is the latest thing I’ve been cooking for any and everyone, any chance I get. After years of making it, following the discovery of a version of the recipe somewhere online and making a handful of tweaks and twists, this soup has finally reached its status as lifelong love, forever in rotation, Best Chicken Noodle Soup Ever.

Chicken Noodle Soup with Sherry and Cream in a white bowl

For a long time, I only made it when Joey or I were sick or after something sad, like a funeral. That’s a lot of responsibility to put on one soup but, also… that’s the best endorsement I can give a food, right? It’s the thing you eat when you’re at your lowest. That’s pretty powerful stuff. Thanks to the *most* flavorful stock, silky egg noodles, lots of carrots and celery, and slow-simmered, shredded chicken, this soup can handle any situation you throw at it. Don’t wait for a bad day though, it’s definitely worth whipping up for happy moments/regular boring Wednesdays too.

One quick thing. Please don’t judge my excessive chicken flavor tactics in this recipe. The cluck is here in every form: actual chicken, chicken stock, and chicken bouillon. I promise the flavor is like no other chicken noodle soup you’ve had, especially when you stir in nutty, caramel-y tasting sherry, then richen everything up with a healthy pour of cream.

Chicken Noodle Soup with Sherry and Cream in a white bowl

It’s a pretty simple process, too, as any chicken noodle process should be. It’s just soup, ya’ll. Just the very best Chicken Noodle Soup ever, ya’ll.

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Chicken Noodle Soup with Sherry and Cream

Chicken Noodle Soup with Sherry and Cream in a white bowl

The best, lifelong love, forever in rotation Chicken Noodle Soup with Sherry and Cream. It’s rich and satisfying, with a healthy dose of vegetables, silky egg noodles, and slow-simmered shredded chicken.

  • Author: Megan
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour and 10 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American
Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts
  • 1 onion, peeled and quartered
  • 1 TBS garlic, minced
  • 1 3/4 tsp lemon-garlic pepper, or lemon pepper
  • 1 TBS Italian Herb Blend
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4 C chicken stock
  • 4 C water
  • 1  1/2 TBS Better than Bouillon, or 2 cubes of dried chicken bouillon 
  • 2 ribs of celery, diced
  • 2 carrots, cut in half lengthwise and chopped into half-moons
  • 1/2 a bag of egg noodles
  • 1/3 C + 1 TBS dry sherry
  • 3/4 C heavy cream

Instructions

  1. Place the chicken, onion, garlic, lemon-garlic pepper, Italian herb blend, water, stock, bouillon, and a good pinch of salt in a large Dutch oven over high heat. Bring it to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and let simmer until the chicken reaches 160 degrees (about 30 minutes).
  2. Move the chicken to a large bowl or plate and let cool a bit. Using a slotted spoon, remove and discard the onion. 
  3. Taste the stock, it should taste rich and chicken-y. If it’s bland, add more bouillon or salt. Bring the chicken stock back up to a low boil and add the carrots and celery; cook for about 7 minutes.
  4. Add the egg noodles to the stock and cook until done – about 8 minutes. Meanwhile, shred the chicken, discarding the skin and bones. Add most of the chicken (I usually have about 2 cups leftover) to the pot along with the sherry and cream. Cook for 1 or 2 more minutes and taste. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve!

Notes

Sometimes this soup needs more salt than you think, be sure to taste and adjust during cooking!

 

For more soup season deliciousness, try my Sausage, Kale, and White Bean Soup, or my Broccoli Beer Cheese Soup. Yay, soup!

Local Goodness at Tarheel Too Produce Market

Is there a connection between who you are and what you eat? The adage is likely hinting at our waistlines more than our personalities but, in my view, I’ve never met a person who truly enjoys some good North Carolina-grown produce that I couldn’t get along with. Sweet potatoes, scuppernong grapes, butter beans, and the prized mattamuskeet sweets breed kind, good-humored people, as far as we can tell here on the OBX. Those friendly folks near Kill Devil Hills all seem to gather in one place, around another kind-hearted soul – Ed Goninan at Tarheel Too Produce Market.

Tarheel Too Produce Market and it’s owner, Ed, bagging arugula
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