Last Sunday at the Kingfield Farmers Market, I found myself confronted by three of the most enticing words in the English language: salted caramel brownies.

Need I say more? Each generous, super-dense square found butter and dark chocolate obviously duking it out for top billing, and oozed a rich, seductive caramel. The chocolate, a 70 percent cacao, boasted a bite so intense that it overrode any sweet impulses. If there was flour in the mix, it was minimal. A hint of espresso powder only added to the allure.

It was, in short, an ideal brownie, and quite the opening salvo for Bogart Loves, where baker/owner Anne Rucker specializes in performing high-end makeovers on homey items along the crumb cake/Whoopie pie end of the baked-goods spectrum. Last year, after being repeatedly advised to start a food blog, Rucker did just that. "And from there I got the guts to apply for a spot at the farmers market," she said. Her stand, co-staffed by proud husband Dave Merryfield, debuted a few weeks ago.

Rucker, an attorney with a lifelong passion for baking, is one focused woman. She methodically developed her vanilla cupcake recipe during her first year of law school. "I was making two dozen cupcakes a week, for a year, it was ridiculous," she said. "But I was determined to get to a place where I was happy with it. That's a craziness in me."

That lunacy has a happy ending, cupcake-wise, with each moist, not-too-sweet treat crowned by a dainty swirl of almond-flavored icing. The chocolate versions are so unapologetically chocolate-ey that they should be sold with a cautionary label, along the lines of "Warning, must consume with a tall glass of milk."

There are cookies, too, including a crazy bacon-chocolate chip combination that would make a great Minnesota State Fair talker. Another draw? Darling little brioche doughnuts, lightened with yeast and finished with a divine brown butter glaze. Like everything on her table, Rucker prepares them in her tiny south Minneapolis kitchen on market mornings. I've learned the hard way that they sell out fast. Note to self: Arrive earlier.

Rucker (her middle name, and her grandmother's maiden name, is Bogart) is starting small, alternating weekends between the Fulton Farmers Market and the Kingfield Farmers Market; find her at the former this Saturday, and at the latter on June 19. After one nibble of that outrageous brownie, my cholesterol level didn't want to know the amount of butter her fledgling enterprise has already consumed.

"Oh, I love butter," she said with a laugh. "Everything has a lot of butter in it. A lot."

Text and photos by RICK NELSON

Bogart Loves bakery, Fulton Farmers Market, 49th St. and Chowen Av. S., Mpls.,, open Saturday 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.; and Kingfield Farmers Market, 4310 Nicollet Av. S., Mpls.,, open Sunday 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. (for a schedule, go to ( For a map of Twin Cities metro-area farmers markets, go to