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'From Halloween to Christmas, it's all about sweets'

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By Katie Hogan

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Dolly Parton once sang of a day working 9 to 5.

For Harriman’s Pattycake Pastries, the day begins much earlier.

At 6:30, in the pitch blackness of an overcast Wednesday morning, store owner Mike Borman has already been whipping up the day’s blissfully sweet indulgences for two and a half hours.

The strong smell of rum fills the room as Kevin Pyles mixes the batter in an industrial-sized mixer from 1925.

In just a couple more hours, customers will be able to walk into the store, hear the bell ring and purchase the tea cookies that this batter will eventually become.  

The cream horns are sprinkled with powdered sugar, and the cannoli are going out into the mercantile cases.

Doughnuts and macadamia-nut cookies fill the trays outside the oven, which came to the original Merrimac store by train nearly 57 years ago, and the apple fritters are frosted and set to bake.

Borman and his crew are not stopping there. Borman meticulously places fork marks in the peanut butter cookie batter, lining an economy-sized cookie sheet.

Bulk-sized containers of flour and sugar fill the counters, ready to be transformed into edible delicacies.

Borman assists his mother, Kathy, in rolling the cookies with colored sugar cookies before placing them in the oven with the other pastries.

“From Halloween to Christmas, it’s all about sweets,” Borman said.

Having run his business from his home for a year and a half before moving into the old Merrimac shop last November, Borman has had a passion for pastries for quite awhile.

It runs in his blood: Borman’s paternal great-grandparents brought their business to Queens, N.Y., all the way from Germany. It comes full circle with Borman, who serves up his finest on Harriman’s Queen Street.

Pattycake Pastries serves up all the Merrimac classics, while providing new favorites as well. The most rewarding part? Seeing all the previous Merrimac regulars come in with the next generation of pastry lovers.

Later that day, Janice Brock brings her grandson in to experience the same tea cookies that brought her to this same building when she was younger.

“There’s a lot of memories here,” she said.