Recipe for Success: Vegan Treats

Posted: 7:00 PM EST Feb 19, 2013   Updated: 5:33 PM EST Feb 20, 2013

Of all the customers who come into Northampton County native Danielle Konya's bakery, the non-believers may be her favorite.

"Those skeptics are fun," said Konya. "They come in, and they're like, ugh, vegan."

But just one bite of any of the decadent donuts, cakes, cookies and pastries at Bethlehem's Vegan Treats is enough to keep anyone with a sweet tooth coming back for more. Funny thing is, Konya was once somewhat of a non-believer herself.

"I never in a million years thought I would own my own bakery," said Konya.

Even so, baking was in her blood. Konya said, while growing up "in the country" (outside of Bath, to be more precise), her mother was constantly whipping up things in the kitchen.

"It was not unusual for my mom to have pies cooling in the window," said Konya.

But all of those old recipes needed tweaking after Danielle decided to adopt the vegan lifestyle and stopped consuming any and all animal products. That means no milk and no butter, among many other things, but Konya figured out how to make it work.

"It was basically just experimenting and trial and error," she explained.

She started making desserts for a friend's restaurant in Philadelphia. Then, a phone call changed her life.

"The New York Times called," said Konya. "And I was like, 'Oh my gosh, the New York Times is on the phone. What am I supposed to do?'"

What she did was open a bakery of her own. Vegan Treats set up shop at its Linden Street location in 2004. For a long time, Konya and her mother ran the show- the whole show. But it didn't take long for the place to find a following in the Lehigh Valley and beyond. Konya counts Gwyneth Paltrow, Alicia Silverstone, Joan Jett and the Beastie Boys among her clients.

And let's not forget about Konya's "regulars."

"We deliver to over 100 restaurants outside of our retail store in Bethlehem," said Konya.

Now more than two dozen employees churn out the sweets at Vegan Treats, leaving Danielle perhaps just a smidge of spare time to concoct her next confection.

"It basically starts with me, laying in bed at night, saying, 'oh that would make for a really good dessert?'' she explained.

Her customers can't wait to see what she dreams up next.