Top Pick Of The Week

August 6, 2013


The Devil In Ganache, a devil’s food cake frosted with deep chocolate ganache. All photography courtesy Mah-Ze-Dahr Bakery.

WHAT IT IS: Artisan baked goods.
WHY IT’S DIFFERENT: Old School quality with New School creativity.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Just like our mom used to make—and our mother is an exceptional baker.

Chocolate Explosion Cookies

Chocolate Explosion Cookies.

Mah Ze Dahr Bar.

Umber Ahmad and Tom Colicchio.


Mah-Ze-Dahr Bakery: Classy Calories


If she weren’t so very gracious and lovely, you could really feel inadequate after meeting Umber Ahmad.

Gorgeous, elegant, eloquent, brainy (MIT undergrad, Wharton MBA) and a successful international investment banker (Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs), she  decided to trade finance for flour.

Oh, she’s an incredible baker, too (and she plays the violin). Her wonderful wares are available online from her debut entrepreneurial venture, Mah Ze Dahr Bakery.

Umber grew up in Northern Michigan, where her Swedish nanny—“she was like an adopted grandmother”—was a great baker. Her protegé learned well.

Umber and chef Tom Colicchio (you’ve heard of him?) are looking for a retail space in Manhattan to open a retail bakery. It will be worth waiting in line, because the goods are great.

Mahzedahr, explains Umber, is an Urdu word that describes the taste essence of food—the flavor and magic that make it delicious. It represents something that one cannot describe, but which one wants to experience over and over again.*

*The term also refers to non-food items: a great outfit, an attractive person, etc. 


What We Ate

  • Chocolate Chip Cookies, baked in a traditional chewy style with a twist: brown sugar with a fleur de sel counterpoint. As good as any we‘ve had.
  • Chocolate Explosion Cookies, says Umber, are “when a brownie meets a cookie.” Deep chocolate dough is rolled in confectioners’ sugar and baked until the chocolate cookie breaks through the white peaks of sugar crust (photo at left).
  • Dark Chocolate Brownies, a cakey brownie with chocolate chunks in the batter and a crisp top crust, dusted with confectioners’ sugar.
  • Mah-Ze-Dahr Bars start with an oatmeal-brown sugar cookie base, which is topped with toasted pecans and chocolate bits. But that’s not all: It’s then bathed in a brown butter caramel sauce and baked to marry the flavors together. 
  • Shortbread that’s fragrant, crumbly and melt-in-your-mouth good.

You don’t have to choose: Just order the Heaven In A Box Sampler.  Check out the entire line at


— Karen Hochman


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