Kiffles, an eastern European pastry that is hand-rolled thin and filled with assorted fillings such as walnut, apricot and raspberry, are just one of the many kinds of treats The Kiffle Kitchen Bakery, in Bath, is whipping up this holiday season.
The family-owned and -operated business has been baking and preparing kiffles and other baked goods since 1985. The story begins with stay-at-home mom Lee Kociolek and her passion for baking. One day, she stumbled upon her baba’s (grandmother’s) recipe book containing her much-loved kiffle recipe, and she decided to give it a try. She began baking kiffles in her basement to share as gifts with her family and friends, but, ultimately, the news of her kiffles spread, and soon she was receiving numerous requests for her homemade treats.
“My mom was initially thinking it’d be a great way to make a couple extra bucks for the family, and after a few quick years, she definitely knew the business had the potential to be quite successful,” son Nick said.
Ultimately, because of the income Lee received for her kiffles, her husband, Frank, was able to quit his job to help his wife meet the demands for more kiffles. Now, 30 years into the future, the Kocioleks are making the treats exactly as she did years ago.
Sons Chris and Nick started working at the bakery in their early teens and are still there today, running the day-to-day operations of the business as bakery managers. They dream of making The Kiffle Kitchen Bakery a household name across America, and their recent deal with QVC just might make their dreams come true.
Three years ago, a QVC representative approached the Kocioleks, hoping to bring their kiffles to the show. After a year of discussions, they were offered a trial run on the popular television shopping network. On their very first airing back in March 2015, The Kiffle Kitchen Bakery was able to sell a record-breaking amount of over 60,000 kiffles in only five minutes and 30 seconds.
“We had just three days to bake, pack and ship all 60,000 kiffles. Now that was a fun weekend!” Nick said.
They’ve since been on QVC about 10 times, with more airings scheduled for the near future. They’ve earned a perfect five out of five stars on QVC as well as the Customer Top Rated Badge.
The Kiffle Kitchen Bakery offers eight flavors of kiffles all year round with the occasional seasonal offerings of mango, guava, pumpkin and hand-dipped chocolate strawberry flavors. The fillings are made from scratch, and the walnuts are all ground by hand and added to the thinly rolled pastries. In addition, the bakery also offers walnut tossies, Hungarian nut rolls, black bottom cream cheese cupcakes, shoo fly pies, cookies and many other assorted cupcakes and baked goods.
“Holidays at The Kiffle Kitchen are pure kiffle craziness,” Nick said. “We now ship nationwide through our website at kifflekitchen.com, and so we get to speak with many people from all over the country who send our signature Kiffle Kitchen gift tin to their families and friends.
“We always recommend placing your holiday order early. A good rule of thumb is the earlier, the better; however, we do always keep an ample supply for walk-ins to choose from,” Nick said.
The Kiffle Kitchen Bakery usually has a staff of about 20 people, but in order to prepare for the holidays, an additional 20 staff members help to keep up with the demand of the product.
“We will never change our roots that made us as successful as we are today, and those roots are making sure our fantastic customers receive the freshest, tastiest kiffles and goodies around. And to keep the quality up, we need to bring in that extra help to keep everything as fresh as can be,” Nick said.
If you are interested in ordering kiffles, The Kiffle Kitchen Bakery is located at 589 Moorestown Drive, Bath, and also at Allentown Fairgrounds Farmers Market on West Chew Street. The Bath location expanded in November 2015 to feature a retail shop offering baked goods and other gifts and novelties.
Additionally, you can order by phone at 1-866-KIFFLES or 610-759-2965, and the staff also ship their baked goods nationwide. If you want them by the holidays, you will need to order as soon as possible.
“Our amazing light, flaky pastry dough, along with delicious fillings, help make our kiffles stand out above the rest. But, ultimately, it comes down to the technique,” Nick said.
And as far as that technique is concerned — well, that will remain a well-kept family secret.