It's Sweet to be Square

Sweet Square's S'mores Bar Proves it's Sweet to be SquareWith the holiday season right around the corner, it's time to start thinking about gatherings, celebrations, indulgences, and treats. Of course, sometimes we get in a holiday rut; the same old-same old cookies, cupcakes, and pies. LAist recently got tuned into a truly delicious alternative, the Los Angeles based Sweet Square, who make really scrumptious squares and bars available by order. We were lucky to sample some of their four-cornered fare, including the Oatmeal Fruit Squares, the S'mores, their fudgy Brownie, and, our favorite of the bunch, the Peanut Butter and Jelly.

Sweet Square is run by Samantha Page and Camilla Yates, who were kind enough to answer a few of our "hard-edged" (get it?) questions.

LAist: Why squares?
Samantha and Camilla: Samantha started making Magic Cookie Bars for friends’ birthdays. They were more popular than any other treat she had made for them before. When one party go-er said, “This tastes like my childhood,” it was a light bulb moment for us. We had been trying to come up with a dessert concept that set us apart from everything else out there, and we knew that bar cookies were it.

Angelinos are crazy about cupcakes and freak out about fro-yo, so where do squares fit into the picture?
We felt the dessert market was flooded with cupcakes and frozen yogurt. Los Angeles is a city that has seen everything and then some; we wanted to present something to customers that was just as tasty but hadn’t really been done before. At most bakeries you can find any number of round cookie varieties, but brownies and lemon squares are usually the extent of their bar cookie repertoire. It seemed to be an untapped area in desserts. We wanted to take it one step further and come up with bar cookie varieties people hadn’t seen before.

When and how did Sweet Square open?
Sweet Square began in May 2008. We both love to bake and have been baking for family and friends for many years. We’ve always talked of opening our own business in the future. We finally realized, “Why wait?” And we decided to work on a business plan. We started small by selling to family and friends by word of mouth. After we published our website, more people started to take notice. Our business continues to grow as more people taste our delicious dessert bars.

What are your culinary backgrounds (education, work experience, etc)?
We both grew up with mothers and grandmothers who understood the art of homemade baked goods. We both loved being in the kitchen and learned by watching. As we grew up we perfected our skills through doing the baking ourselves. Our culinary backgrounds add up to home training and good genetics. Samantha has taken a short-series professional baking class. Aside from that, we have no official training or work experience in the culinary arts, just a love for baking deliciousness.

Who should order Sweet Squares, and for what occasion(s)?
Sweet Square dessert bars are perfect for everyone for any occasion! Birthdays, anniversaries, “thank yous,” office functions, parties, weddings, there’s never a bad time to order Sweet Square dessert bars. We fulfill orders as small as 1 dozen and as big as anyone needs.

Sweet Squares: Oatmeal Fruit, Brownie, S'mores, & Peanut Butter and JellyWhat are your most popular varieties?
People are obsessed with our S’mores Bars and Magic Cookie Bars right now. They can’t get enough!

What's your craziest flavor invention? Did it make it on the menu?
Our craziest flavor invention to date is probably our Peanut Butter S’mores. They’re a new variety on the menu. They came about by pairing classic flavors a little differently than you would normally think to. They got such rave reviews from our family and friends (our trusty taste-testers) that we had to put them on the menu.

How often do you add/remove varieties on the menu?
During holiday times we come up with seasonal varieties that are only available for a short time. Right now we have fall, Christmas, and Hanukkah offerings that will be available until the end of the year. All of our other varieties are permanent staples of the Sweet Square menu that can be ordered anytime.

Do you source your ingredients locally?
We pride ourselves on using the best ingredients we can find to put into our bars and squares. When possible we love to use local fresh ingredients like eggs and butter. We are a local business and like to support LA based businesses whenever possible.

Any favorite places in LA for shopping for ingredients or supplies for baking?
We’re always at Surfas in Culver City for supplies and specialty ingredients, and Restaurant Depot in West Adams for bulk items. We also get all of our packaging from www.papermart.com, which is based just outside Downtown LA.

Do you have a storefront?
At this time we don’t have a storefront. We’re strictly internet based, but we’re hoping as our business continues to grow we can open a storefront in the not too distant future.

How do people get a hold of Sweet Squares?
Everyone can check out our website to get all information about our dessert bars as well as place an order.

Photos by Lindsay William-Ross/LAist