In anticipation of Sunday’s big game, Patcher Jamie Kunchick made the rounds around Cranberry Township’s bakeries to check on how they’re faring in the black and gold madness.
The answer? Pretty sweet.
Last week, preparations were underway to bake and ice half a million black-and-gold Smiley cookies in the Pittsburgh area. At the Eat 'n Park in Cranberry Township, manager Shannon Swindell said the restaurant was prepared to sell its fair share.
“We will probably sell 1,500 dozen Smiley cookies this week,” she said. “The Cranberry store has the No. 1 [spot for] cookie sales in the company right now, so yes, we sell a lot of Smiley cookies.”
A Pittsburgh tradition, Smiley cookies were served at the White House when the Steelers went to visit after winning their last Super Bowl. A big-seller even in the off-season, it’s hard to keep the black-and-gold treats on the shelves as the Steelers head into Sunday’s big game.
Anna Klink, who has been a baker at Eat 'n Park for 23 years, said she usually bakes 30 to 40-dozen Smiley cookies a day. This week, she baked more – lots more.
“We will probably make 80 to 100 dozen a day this week,” she said Tuesday. “This Thursday, we will probably make 500 dozen."
Smiley cookies are known for their seasonal color schemes. Christmas trees, bunny rabbits, hearts, and pumpkins all help to keep folks feeling festive -- and that goes for football season as well.
While they're available in an assortment of colors, most of the Smiley treats you’ve see around town this week are iced in black and gold. A few traitors out there, however, have asked for green and gold Smileys.
“Yes, we make them in all colors, whether we want to or not,” Klink joked.
And it's not just Smiley cookies that bring in fans.
In lieu of the traditional white cream topping that decorates the restaurant chain's Oreo and Chocolate Cream pies, Pittsburgh-area Eat 'n Park are featuring pies with some Steelers flair.
“Our pies are now topped with gold whipped cream topping as opposed to the basic white, so with Oreo cookie crumbles or chocolate shavings on top, the pie is now black and gold,” Swindell said. “It’s the same topping, just dyed gold.”
To keep up with the demand for goodies, Swindell said, Eat 'n Park employees have been working overtime.
“We are really busy right now,” she said. “We just got a single order for 138 dozen black-and-gold Smileys. We do whatever we have to do, even bringing in extra bakers to make sure we are on schedule and get it done.
“And we always get it done.”
Especially if it’s a Steelers cake.
Armed with a special cake decorator not employed by other DQ Grill and Chill franchises, director of operations Jim Mustakas said the Seven Fields location is known for its cakes.
“We probably sell more cakes than most stores in the northeast," he said. "Since we brought in our own decorator, you really can get any theme you want here."
A Super Bowl-themed cake is no exception.
“We are prepared for the Super Bowl,” he said. “We are offering several themes, your basic black and gold, or one with a football with “Go For #7. We even have a guy on the couch watching the big game. If those aren’t appealing, you can always create your own.”
Customers can choose from the basic ice cream cake – layered chocolate or vanilla soft serve with cookie-fudge crunch – or opt for a Blizzard cake in one of 50 Blizzard flavors.
With game day approaching, Mustakas said cakes are selling fast.
“Every game day it's amazing how many cakes we sell,” he said. “We keep up with the demand, but it gets stressful.”
The DQ Grill and Chill asked that customers order specialty cakes one day in advance for the basic cake, and two days in advance for the blizzard cakes.
Should you forget, however, Mustakas said the DQ will still have cakes ready to be carried out the door.
“We will have lots of cakes, football-themed and blank, that will be ready and waiting," he said.
Sunday mornings are great days for doughnuts, and this Sunday is no exception. On game day, the Krispy Kreme on Route 19 will offer Steelers-themed versions of its Original Glazed Doughnut.
Doughnuts are available with black-and-gold sprinkles and icing. There also are doughnuts in the shape of footballs and others decorated with lucky No. 7.
Christiana Gawron, a supervisor at Krispy Kreme, said offering black and gold items isn’t anything new.
“We support the black and gold all year round,” She said. “We have orders for black-and-gold themes all the time. This week, we have seen quite a few more since the Steelers got into the Super Bowl.”
If you want to commit carb-icide this Super Bowl Sunday, but aren’t in the mood for sweets, Loafers Bread on Route 228 in Cranberry Township is a good place to head.
In support of the Steelers, Loafers is offering black-and-gold Challah loaves and sandwich buns.
Challah is a traditional Jewish bread that is braided. Loafers also will help party hosts score a touchdown with their black or gold rolls.
“Our bread is delicious and our customers appreciate the Steelers colors,” Nici, an employee of the store, said. “They definitely get excited about it.”