So summer is officially over. Done-zo. Labor Day has come and gone, and so have lazy pool days and summer work hours. We know, this can be particularly painful to admit, and a bummer for some people, but not Meg Murray, the virtuoso baker behind Thunder Pig Confectionery in DC.
"Fall spices are my jam," Meg told me as she whipped up a batch of peanut butter cookies. Molasses spice, pumpkin caramel pecan: these are a few of the cookie varieties she's been dreaming up all summer, just waiting for the seasons to change so they could make their debut. And the major sign that fall is in the air? Not the changing of the leaves, but the arrival of pumpkin spice lattes at Starbucks. "The day that comes out I can be like 'Here [are your] new cookies,'" Meg joked.
And from her workspace at food entrepreneur incubator Union Kitchen in Northeast Washington, Meg bakes a lot more than cookies. She turns out everything from caramels to chocolates to biscotti and croissants to cakes, for both coffeehouses and markets and catering clients. And Meg loves it all, from creating catering menus to baking cakes. She spends six to 10 hours on each cake, depending on the level of intricacy — especially a recent one, which was shaped like a robot. "They asked me to write happy birthday in binary. I looked it up and it was like 0100010001. I thought, well, this is the longest thing," she said.
Thunder Pig Confectionery is a recent adventure for Meg, who started the company in early 2013. Growing up, she always had a thing for desserts. “I was definitely a sweets kid. It was pretty much the end all and be all,” Meg said. And as an adult, even though she worked in the lobbying and Capitol Hill world, baking was always the thing she poured her heart into, her stress reliever. When her husband suggested she take her baking full-time, Meg enrolled in the prestigious L’Academie de Cuisine in Gaithersburg for Pastry Arts, graduated, and then started working downtown in a restaurant before launching Thunder Pig Confectionary. We suspect that running a small business might just be in her blood, since both of her parents are entrepreneurs.
“You find that one thing you really want to do and just feel like, I have to do this or my life won’t be complete,” she said.
Oh, and about that name? Turns out Thunder Pig is a pet name for her husband, who encouraged her to turn her baking pro. “It’s an ode to him,” Meg said. It’s a goofy cute nickname with a long backstory from their trip to Germany. “He was not super thrilled about it at first,” Meg said.
Hopefully the nickname has grown on him. Because we’re thrilled about the adorableness of Thunder Pig Confectionery, and the creativity Meg brings to her craft, whether it’s making elegant croissants au beurre, or candies in funky flavors like szechuan butter pecan toffee and raspberry and pink peppercorn truffles.
Want to try some deliciousness from Thunder Pig Confectionery? Meg currently supplies biscotti for Petworth’s Qualia Coffee, and salted caramels and other treats for Washington’s Green Grocer. She also just started bread service for The Blind Dog Cafe on Florida Avenue. Or contact her for personalized catering for any weddings, meetings or birthdays — robot-themed or otherwise — on your calendar that may be in need of some sweetening up. If coffee-drenched biscotti and pumpkin caramel pecan cookies are in our future for the next months, then we say, bring on fall.