Friday, February 26, 2010

Sweet Treats

An obligatory part (like it's torture or something!) of visits to San Bruno are pastries and coffee ... as often as possible. Daily, Dad makes a run to Peet's for Mom and himself and, as I previously mentioned, I allowed myself to slip into caffeine addiction once again because morning coffee is just so nice. Nice with a double shot! Thankfully, Peet's does not do pastries, or I would not fit into the clothes I brought down anymore. Sweet treats are usually had at Copenhagen Bakery in Burlingame.

I like Copenhagen very much, and have a set few pastries that I find superior. I have discovered these treats through trial and error, naturally. For the first visit, with Mel, I decided to try a cinnamon twist thing. It was pretty good, but has not been added to the list of regulars. For my second visit, pictured above, with Mom and Sam, I settled upon two regulars. What. I swear I was not going to eat them both! I planned to share/give one to Sam in the event that he did not like the croissant. Sure enough, that's what happened, although I managed to choke down most of what I was supposed to share before realizing that Sam was not keen on the croissant as much as he was on whatever I had. Of course. Copenhagen's puff pastry is not very good - too buttery and the flake isn't right - maybe because they are Danish. Those Danes have to do things their own way, don't they. I forgive them. Back to my Regulars: (1) What you see in the forefront: a raspberry ring. It's pastry, twisted, with preserves and crystallized sugar chunks. That's my third favorite. (2) I neglected to take a photo of what I shared with Sam, which is a shortbread sandwich with raspberry preserves in the middle. That's my second favorite. (3) My very favorite is the raspberry half moon, which is dipped in chocolate. They didn't have any on this particular visit. I love to dip it in my coffee so that the chocolate melts. As you can tell, I am a sucker for raspberry. It's the best berry.

I did take lots of photos of the pan dulce that I finally got on my second to last day in town. I love this stuff. I like my pastry dry and crumbly, I have come to realize. And pan dulce is that. It means "sweet bread," in Spanish, and is made with AP flour and yeast - simple. I have a recipe, but I haven't tried it. Because I am afraid. I really need to find the multi-colored flour used by Mexican bakers, but I haven't seen it around here - not that I have looked very hard.
That's a vanilla custard filling. I am not one for fillings, but my dad and Sam liked it. There are always several different shapes and sizes of pan dulce, with the different colors, as I mentioned. But they all taste the same. There's even one that looks like sheet cake - with sprinkles and everything. I didn't get one.
I'll tell you what, though, pan dulce is fabulous not only because it tastes good, but also because it is priced right! I bought five pastries for $1.70! How much do I usually spend on ONE croissant? $2.50? Yeah. I bought a $2 cookie the other day, for goodness' sake. Everyone is using the same flour and sugar, right? Does croissant flour have pulverized gems in it?

I had pastries from another place, near my sister's apartment in SF, called La Boulange. (Again, no photos! Ug.) I was merciful in my Yelp! review, but the more I think about it, the more I think I should go back and eviscerate it. Pray, tell, why? I got a pain au chocolat, which they call simply "chocolate croissant." The pastry was spongy and chewy! No no no. There were no flaky layers whatsoever. Now, if it was not labeled croissant, then they could get away with calling it something else and pretending that they did not completely wreck puff pastry, but you can't just shape it like pain, call it croissant, and then let that happen. And then it got worse. On a different day, Mel brought blueberry bread over for Sam. Sam loved it, so I can't complain too much. But it was nasty! I mean, totally overbeaten and tough. Yuck. I did have - and forgot to photograph - an orange pastry. It is lightly toasted, rolled in cinnamon sugar, and brushed with orange marmalade. It is a puff pastry and it is a bit chewy. Nevertheless, I will forgive because it is also a unique creation with no claims on croissant provenance.

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