Larsen's Bakery Lemon Cake © 2012 Natasha. All rights reserved.

Happy Cookie Friday: Larsen’s Danish Bakery

This week’s Happy Cookie Friday is coming to you from Larsen’s Danish Bakery, located in Ballard. Last year, when the sun was still shining, we drove over to Ballard to see the world’s biggest Danish.  I know this blog is way past due, but this is generally the time of year I’m forced to start plowing through photos of the sun to remind myself that yes, Natasha, there is a thing called sunshine and it sometimes falls on Seattle.

One might think that the world’s biggest danish would be found in…wherever the Danes live, and maybe that’s true.  But the biggest danish I’ve ever seen can be found here in Seattle at Larsen’s. Except it’s not really called “Giant Danish,” it’s called a Kringle.  It’s made in the original Danish manner, which is to say that butter, flour, more butter, and more flour are involved.  Then they invite their friends almond paste and raisins to join in, and it’s just obscenely good, I tell you. Don’t want almonds and raisins at your party?  Invite apple, or apricot, or raspberry instead.     

The Kringle was born in Austria, but everybody knows you can’t hide a good pastry under a bushel forever. The recipe was smuggled into Denmark by Austrian bakers who filled in during a bakery strike, and while nobody likes a scab, who can be mad at these guys for sharing the buttery art of flaky dough?  Twenty years later, mouthwatering was made an Olympic sport, and we have the Danish Austrian scabs to thank. Making a Kringle can take several days, since it can take as many thirty layers of dough. After the initial kneading and folding of the dough, it’s wrapped in plastic, chilled, then rolled out on a table where the filling  is spread over the center of the dough lengthwise. Then it topped with sugar and more almonds and twisted into a pretzel shape.

They had a ton of Kringles on hand, and folks were piled on top of each other to get ‘em the day we visited.  The super nice folks at the counter pulled out one she thought was especially delicious for us.

Two kringles per bakery sheet pan here. That’s one for me and one for James.

I have no idea what those little green guys are so happy about–oh yeah, the sunshine! They love it, too. We picked out a sampling from a fantastical diversity of goods and headed to a nearby table. No meeces were harmed in the making of this blog, because not even a chocolate meece has a chance of making it to my table. We hates meeces to pieces.

Larsen’s is an old school bakery–the kind with gazillions of school baked goods on display.  Cookies, rolls, loaves, cakes, pies, danish, doughnuts, cupcakes, tarts, and whatever other combination of flour, sugar, and butter you can imagine.  And that’s the aroma that hits you in the nose when you walk in, with three different women behind the counter who could be your grandma or Aunt Rosy.  Their aprons are dusted with flour and they’re not worried about fusing the current trendy ingredient into their cupcakes or hipster coffee drinkers who want triple shot macchiatos.  And they’re nice!

Not only did these women do their best to pick out the prettiest pastries when they saw we were going to take pictures, but one of them brought over a tray of tarts before inserting it into a nearby fridge.  Who wouldn’t be proud of these tarts?  Just nice, awesome folks here.

James is the kind of man who’s never met a maple bar he didn’t like, but after taking a bite of his bar he proclaimed Larsens to have “the best maple bar I’ve had in a long time.”  I stared at him suspiciously and asked, “Better than VooDoo?”  He didn’t answer, he was too busy chewing.

Larsens makes breakfast pastries as well as holiday items like Fattigman, Pfefferneusse, and Stollen. They also make a Marzipan Pig that has to be seen to be believed. This cherry danish was damn good.

As much wedding cake as I’ve had in my day, fondant and I do not get along.  Too pretty = too flavorless.  I think the lemon cake slices are meant to be samples of what folks can get by way of wedding cake without having to actually order a wedding cake.  James liked it ok, but I couldn’t let go of the grudge long enough to taste it.

Classic bakery, classic cookie.  This chocolate chip cookie was nicely crisp around the edges and soft on the inside.  It wasn’t perfectly crunchewy, but it was flavorful and I’d definitely eat it again.

I love going to all kinds of restaurants–the hipster coffee joints, the greasy diners, the froo-froo upscales, and the food truck.  I love french bakeries, mexican bakeries, and mom and pop’s bakery that’s been around since 1974. But to be perfectly honest, I am a traditional kind of girl who is leery of all the froof and I’m suspicious when I go into a bakery to order a carb-laden sugar ball of doughy goodness and everybody there looks like they’ve never strayed from their paleo vegan diet once.  When I look through a window and see a guy sitting at a table who looks like this guy?  I know I’m in the right place for some sweet treats.

Just a real guy having a real moment with his coffee and danish.  This sight alone would have me coming back again and again for some deliciously empty calories.

Can you see the buttery glistenings going on in this cookie?  This is the real reason we need sunlight again in Seattle.  The Buttery Glisten.  Happy Cookie Friday, man.

Larsen's Original Bakery on Urbanspoon

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