Now that December’s frost is on the lawns, what better way to knock off the chill than to step into the sweet warmth of Merridee’s Breadbasket? Originally owned by Merridee McCray and family, the Minnesota-born baker of Swedish descent was a blue ribbon winner before she was a business owner. After winning several first place prizes in the Tennessee State Fair for her baked goods such as Swedish tea rings, whole wheat rolls, and lemon meringue pie, Merridee began selling her treats out of a log cabin in Fairview. In 1984 she was invited to move her bakery to Fourth Avenue into what used to be the old Bennett’s Hardware warehouse, as part of a campaign to bring life back to downtown Franklin. Today, Merridee’s Breadbasket happens to be the oldest running retail business in downtown Franklin.
Jim Kreider has been the current owner of Merridee’s since the fall of 1994 – not long after Merridee’s passing. A tree stands in her memory in what’s known as Five Points of downtown Franklin. “I just thought that was really cool,” said Jim about the memorial. “It’s emblematic of how loved she was by her local community.” He and his staff have preserved the quality and the spirit that Merridee founded in her bakery and have proved it over the years by winning several awards such as Best Bakery in Williamson County and others. Patrons still love the old favorites like the chicken salad, the molasses cookie, and the fruit tea, but don’t miss Merridee’s
Christmas menu including Cherry Cream Cheese Candy Canes and Peppermint Brownies.
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup oil
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoon vanilla
- Combine ingredients and mix until well combined, using a whisk or stand mixer.
Scant 3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
- Combine dry ingredients then add to egg mixture and stir until just combined.
- Pour batter into a 9x13 pan and bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes. Turn halfway through baking and bake until done.
- Cool and top with peppermint frosting (recipe below).
- Decorate with chocolate or ganache drizzle and white/red chocolate curls.
3 cups powdered sugar
6 oz butter
1/2 tablespoon peppermint
2 tablespoons milk
- Combine powdered sugar and butter. Using a mixer on medium speed, mix until color and texture have lightened. Scrape the bottom of the bowl at least once while mixing. Add peppermint extract and milk, mix until combined.