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Restaurant Road Trip: Wild Mountain Bakery

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  • Stacy Moniot

    Stacy Moniot

    Morning Anchor/Reporter smoniot@wboy.com Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/StacyMoniotWBOY12News Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/StacyMoniotWBOY Stacy joined WBOY in July 2009 as a Morgantown reporter/anchor.

What may be an early morning for most people is halfway into the day for Karen Guse, the owner and baker at the Wild Mountain Bakery on High Street in Morgantown.

"I get up at 2:45 or 3:00 a.m., I'm here by 3:30 a.m.," Guse said. "I start by taking everything that needs to come out of the refrigerator, all of the dough comes out of the refrigerator. I divide it, then start making muffins, scones and cinnamon rolls."

The cinnamon rolls are just one of the items on the menu that Guse offers with a twist. She tops one batch with your usual cinnamon roll frosting, and another with her own maple-bacon creation.

"Our cinnamon rolls are really popular so I was thinking about making them a maple icing, and then it just came to me like a light bulb," Guse said. "I had to put bacon on them."

That "light bulb" process is how Guse arrives at many of her innovative recipes.

"I will be laying in bed and things will just pop into my head," she said.

That keeps the menu fresh and interesting, though some are more successful than others. Guse laughs at the thought of her attempt to create a healthier cookie, which ended in avocado cookies.

"They didn't work," Guse recalled.

The original success and catalyst for the business and Guse's baking career is the "Wild Mountain Cookie" she created while still in her teens.

It's a recipe Guse guards closely. A request for the basic ingredients is met with stony silence. Guse hasn't even shared the secret with her own mother, and she just recently let employees work in the same room while she makes them.

Guse will only admit that it's a combination of a peanut butter, chocolate chip and oatmeal cookie.

Another staple on the menu is an item Guse didn't even know existed until she moved to West Virginia: pepperoni rolls.

Now, she's developed a method for ensuring that there's pepperoni in "every bite" of the rolls, and even put her own twist on them with a jalapeno version.

Guse bakes a few varieties of bread every day, but rotates her special varieties every day.

"Each day of the week, since we have a different kind of bread every day, we'll see different people," Guse said.

 Some of those customers have been buying from Guse since she was baking in her basement and selling at farmer's markets. In that tradition, the whole menu has no preservatives, and as many local products as possible.

"Real food. Like it used to be done," Guse said. "And it's sad that society has moved on from that."

Everything you see for sale at the Wild Mountain Bakery was made that day. Guse donates anything leftover to the Bartlett House.