Pecan Roll at Baker and Banker
This pecan roll ($7) is so big that I brought it home and actually whipped out my tape measure. The dimensions? A towering 5 inches wide and 3 inches high. Though it could easily feed four people, I promise that you won't want to share. This bun doesn't lose flavor for size; it's just more of the perfect sticky bun. More sticky, sweet, caramely glaze. More soft buttery brioche dough. And best of all, so much more of that inner ring (undoubtedly the best part of any sticky bun) chock full of cinnamon, pecans, sugar, and butter. By the end, I was in sticky bun heaven.
Duck Fat Pecan Pie from Humphry Slocombe
If you thought that pecan pies couldn't get any richer, check out the Duck Fat Pecan Pie from Humphry Slocombe ($5). The duck fat imparts an awesome umami quality to this only mildly sweet dish. The interior of the pie has a nice, firm pudding texture that's not gloopy or falling apart. The chopped pecans are the right size: not insubstantial, but also not becoming a mouthful of crunch. The overall effect of this handheld pie is a mix of vanilla, butter, and wonderfully difficult to place savory flavors.
Chocolate Cranberry Pecan Pie from Butter Love Bakeshop
Butter Love Bakeshop excels at pie crust. The shop uses an all butter formula that results in flaky, flavorful crusts that really add dimension to the pies. Take the Chocolate Cranberry Pecan Pie ($26). The filling is, in a word, intense. It’s a dense amalgam of chocolate and pecans, brightened by the occasional tart pop of cranberry. The crust provides a delicate accent to the rich, nutty filling. If you’re a fan of chocolate or pecans, this hybrid pie is for you.
Butter Love Bakeshop: Visit butterlovebakshop.com to find locations and for order information.
Pecan Tassie at Lotta's Bakery
Got one dollar? Then stroll on into Lotta's, a charming antique shop/bakery in Nob Hill, and order a Pecan Tassie. This cookie is essentially a miniature pecan pie. The crust is flaky and buttery, making a tasty vessel for the topping of chopped pecans. The pecans are surrounded by enough gooey pecan pie-type filling to keep it from being dry or overwhelmed by the crust. In short, it's the perfect two bite treat when you're trying to keep your calories, and your wallet, in check.
Caramelita from Batter Bakery
The Caramelita ($3.25) proves that in sweets, sometimes more is definitely more. In this decadent bar, oats, pecans, sugar, and butter form a streusel like topping over a layer of caramel and chocolate. Despite its undoubted sweetness, this bar isn't a one note blast of sugar. The oats and pecans add a nuttiness and crunch, while the dark chocolate adds a hint of bitterness and the caramel adds depth. Texturally, there is something amazing about the way that the crunchy topping gives way to the soft, chewy center.
Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookie at Arlequin Cafe
The bakers of this cookie ($1.75) understand a fundamental principle: brown butter is meant to be with pecans. The dough has a deep, almost caramel, brown sugar flavor, and it makes the perfect base for the nutty, fatty pecans and chunks of dark chocolate. Despite the great flavor of the dough, I didn't mind that each bite was packed with toppings. This is a large, chewy cookie, and a very satisfying snack.
Sticky Bun from La Boulange
The big draw for this breakfast pastry ($3) is the topping, which is about a cup of pecans all covered in a gooey caramel sauce. In fact, I’d be happy picking off the sweet, crunchy topping, and I can’t help but think it’d be nice over some Greek yogurt. The bottom of the pastry is a little heavy on the butter, which I'll accept because it's sturdy enough to stand a good dunk in coffee, where it becomes a delicious, coffee-filled pastry sponge. If you're not a dunker, ask for your bun heated up.