Pick Up The Pastry: Cambridge’s Best Sweets

best dessertsHello, gorgeous. Clockwise from top left: pumpkin bread with salted pepita crumb (Sofra), blood orange chipotle ice cream (Honeycomb Creamery), tahini shortbread (Sofra), Kouign Amann (Flour), granola bar (Bourbon Coffee) and Liege waffle (Curio).

Our January/February issue was packed with info on Cambridge’s coolest gyms, trainers and outside-the-box workouts—now, it’s time to talk fitness-fueling food.

Whether you’re looking to carbo-load before a long run, are indulging in a cheat day or want all of the flaky, sugary goodness without quite so many calories, we’ve got your list of the city’s best baked goods (and a few bonus sweets) right here.

When you’re counting calories:

A healthy start to the day:
Granola Bars, Bourbon Coffee
1815 Mass. Ave. | bourboncoffeeusa.com

Heavy on the dried fruit and nutty—but not overly sweet or gooey—Bourbon’s granola bars are great for a protein boost in the morning that still feels like a treat.

For your mid-afternoon pick-me-up
Any Bread, Sofra
1 Belmont St. | sofrabakery.com

As a partner of Siena Farms in Sudbury, Sofra’s bakers often incorporate locally grown, seasonal ingredients into their recipes. In the fall, it’s pumpkin bread with salted pepita crumb; in the winter, it’s a Taza chocolate-infused gingerbread. They’re richly spiced and intensely flavorful, and the bread stays moist and tender—even if you forget about it in your bag through half of the workday.

With your afternoon tea:
Tahini Shortbread, Sofra

Yes, Sofra was already on this list. But the thing is, the bakery’s tahini shortbread cookies are the total package: healthy and crumbly and buttery and immensely rewarding. With the texture of a peanut butter cookie but less fat and more protein, tahini is a great substitute for the peanut-averse and those seeking a less caloric treat. Best yet, the shortbreads are coin-sized and dirt cheap, so portion control is thrifty and easy.

For dessert: 
Vegan Ice Cream, Honeycomb Creamery
1702 Mass. Ave. | honeycombcreamery.com

Brick-and-mortar newcomers Honeycomb Creamery are master flavor blenders, whipping up totally unexpected and fully delicious combos like blood orange chipotle, grapefruit rosemary and dark chocolate crunch that are a godsend for vegans and lactose intolerants alike. The dairy-free flavors rotate often but are always just as rich and flavorful as their cow-based offerings, with a luscious creaminess that will have you forgetting they’re even vegan.

On your cheat day:

A decadent start to the day: 
Waffle, Curio Coffee
441 Cambridge St. | instagram.com/curiocoffee

Belgium’s Liege waffles are quickly racking up fans all over the country. They’re yeasted and flecked with a special pearl sugar that doesn’t melt as easily as table sugar, so they’re crunchy and sweet on the outside but yield to a soft, rich center. According to the Curio rumor mill, chocolate-filled waffles are also on the way. Until then, bites of these crunchy little gems will have to suffice.

For a mid-afternoon pick-me-up: 
Coconut Macaroon, Crema Cafe
27 Brattle St. | cremacambridge.com

Coconut macaroons are a fairly straightforward operation: sugar, a binder like egg whites or flour and lots of coconut. What sets Crema’s apart is their dense centers—which are almost like a pudding in their creaminess—and their crispy edges, like a meringue that’s been browned.

With your afternoon tea: 
Kouign Amann, Flour Bakery + Cafe
Multiple Locations | flourbakery.com

The kouign amann is a labor-intensive pastry deserving of a few minutes of reflection and contemplation. Sugar folds into croissant dough to bake into a buttery, salty-sweet pastry with a crunchy, sweet crust and a soft, fatty center. Flour’s regularly sell out, though, so it’s best to buy yours with your morning coffee and let it stare you down until the afternoon comes.

For Dessert: 
Brown Butter Pecan Pie, Petsi Pies
594 Cambridge St. | petsipies.com

Petsi’s pecan pie is—dare we say it—the highlight of the menu. It’s chewy and crunchy and sweet and fatty, and it will almost assuredly ruin you to most other pies. The crust is fantastically crisp and flaky, but it’s that brown butter filling that really sells ‘em.

This story originally appeared in the January/February issue of Scout Cambridge, which is available for free at more than 250 locations throughout the city or by subscription.

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