1. Cherry kringle from O&H Bakery 2. Macarons from Le Rêve
3. Almond Danish from C. Adam’s Bakery 4. Morning bun from
Simma’s Bakery 5. Kouign-amann from Amaranth Bakery
6. Croissants from Le Rêve 7. Sfogliatelle from Peter
Sciortino’s Bakery 8. Breakfast in a Muffin from Rocket Baby
Bakery 9. Cranberry-walnut bread from Rocket Baby Bakery
10. Triple-chocolate ginger cookie from Amaranth Bakery
This little bake shop has earned a diverse, devoted following for its cookies (triple-chocolate ginger), pastries (croissant) and rustic whole grain breads. Lunchtime options – a savory tart with potatoes and onions was a recent standout – are complemented, sweetly, by flaky creations, and there’s nary a wrong choice. But the kouign-amann (say “queen ah-mahn”) takes the (butter) cake. Its layers of crumbling pastry have substance and flake, and the lightly sugared, buttery interior defines the simple decadence of this French classic. A caramelized sugar coating ensures that all of its rich components stay intact. 3329 W. Lisbon Ave., 414-934-0587.
Le Rêve Patisserie & Café
The croissant may have Austrian origins, but it was definitely perfected by the French. This pastry – when done right – is a delectable staple for any time of day, a filling mix of golden flake, fat and flavor. And what better place to enjoy it than the very French Le Rêve? Also recommended: the macarons, whose flavorful fillings are sandwiched between two traditional, successfully executed meringue cookies. 7610 Harwood Ave., Wauwatosa, 414-778-3333, lerevecafe.com.
Rocket Baby Bakery
Bright and charming and happy. That describes the atmosphere at Rocket Baby, which opened just more than a year ago and serves up pastries and baked goods, savory and sweet. Its standout creation? A tall breakfast muffin made with Nueske’s double-smoked bacon, parsley and aged cheddar cheese. (On weekends, this creation contains a cooked egg.) Split that and a chocolate-filled croissant with a friend, and you’ll launch into satisfied smiles. There’s also not a better baguette to be found in this town. 6822 W. North Ave., Wauwatosa, 414-502-7323, rocketbabybakery.com.
Behind this longstanding Tosa shop’s glass bakery cases sit two plastic tubs – their contents gloriously flaky, sweet and just a little doughy. Behold Simma’s morning buns. Large enough for two, these pastry-dough swirls sparkle in their sugar and cinnamon topcoats. The sweetness is just right – enough to wake you up without crossing into dessert’s terrain. And wake up you must, because those simple plastic tubs are empty by mid-morning. 817 N. 68th St., Wauwatosa, 414-257-0998, simmasbakery.com.
President Barack Obama couldn’t resist a bite of Danish kringle on a 2010 campaign stop at the Racine institution. “It makes you happier,” he told those who watched him pick out these classic oval pastries in cherry, pecan and cheese. How’s that for an endorsement? Locations in Racine, Oak Creek and Sturtevant, 800-709-4009, ohdanishbakery.com.
Peter Sciortino’s Bakery
Golden pastry dough with slits jutting across its surface, sprinkled with powdered sugar and filled with light, lemon-tinged ricotta cheese. This is Sciortino’s sfogliatelle, a clamshell-shaped treat that is so time-intensive to make at home, it’s only prudent to hit up this mainstay Italian bakery. 1101 E. Brady St., 414-272-4623, petersciortinosbakery.com.
C. Adam’s Bakery
The Milwaukee Public Market stall dishes out a delicious almond Danish, its crust adorned with generous amounts of powdered sugar, and filled with a thick, creamy almond filling. 400 N. Water St., 414-271-1871.