Breakfast has always been my favorite meal of the day. And how could it not be: it's an excuse to eat caramel and chocolate studded treats before noon.
The Cambridge area boasts a plethora of viable options on the breakfast front, so we've taken the liberty of compiling a list of our favorite pastries. Ranging from flakey, buttery croissants to Middle Eastern-inspired brioche to slightly spicy scones, there are options for every palate.
Sweet Cheese Brioche with Apricot at Sofra Bakery and Café
Sofra, owned and operated by the same all-star team that brought Boston area residents Oleana and Sarma, is a Middle Eastern food lover's paradise. Take the Sweet Cheese Brioche with Apricot ($3). The brioche base accomplishes a delicate balance between flakiness and decadent, eggy chewiness. The pastry is filled with a sweet, tangy cheese, then topped with apricot preserves, candied orange peel, dukkah (an Egyptian spice blend that normally includes toasted nuts, seeds, and herbs), and a dusting of coarse sugar.
Cream Cheese Croissant from Tatte
As founder Tzurit Or puts it: "If it's not one-of-a-kind and delicious, it's not Tatte." And boy does this Cream Cheese Croissant ($3) hit all the lemony (and one-of-a-kind and delicious) sweet spots. The pastry is a delightful pinwheel shape, and the croissant itself is delicately buttery, with a lightly crispy outer exterior. Made with a barely sweetened cream cheese filling, this makes for a lovely breakfast treat, especially paired with a cup of black coffee.
Blueberry Muffin at Petsi Pies
Though Petsi Pies, founded and run by pastry goddess Renee "Petsi" McLeod, is more commonly sought out for their delectable array of pies and tarts, this self identified "indie bakery" merits a shout out for their breakfast pastries too. The Blueberry Muffin ($2.15) is made with fresh blueberries and boasts a not-too-sweet, cakey interior. You'll appreciate the crunch of sugar on top.
Ham and Cheese Croissant at Crema Café
Often regarded as one of the best local places in Harvard Square to escape for lunch or an afternoon snack, Crema Café doesn't disappoint on the breakfast front either. If you're in the mood for a pastry on the savory side, this Ham and Cheese Croissant ($3) fits the bill. Tucked between folds of perfectly executed pastry is a healthy pocket of honey cured ham, parmesan, and cheddar cheese. It might be a little messy, but this croissant accomplishes a blend of flaky, melt-in-your-mouth texture and savory flavor.
Sticky Bun Cinnamon Roll at Area Four
Nestled in the heart of the MIT/Kendall area, Area Four is hard to miss. While the café offers a slew of other breakfast offerings, if you're in the mood for something decadent, the Sticky Bun Cinnamon Roll ($3) is ideal. A twist on the traditional breakfast bun, the pastry is composed of thick, buttery brioche, swirls of cinnamon-y caramel, bits of toasted pecans, and a healthful glob of vanilla frosting. You'll want to lick your fingers after this one.
Raspberry Poptart from Flour bakery
Boasting four locations around the city already, Flour Bakery (owned and operated by award winning chef Joanne Chang) doesn't joke around when it comes to baked goods—especially not pastries. The Raspberry Poptart ($3.50) is a jazzed up rendition of the classic grab-n-go breakfast treat, layering airy puff pastry, fresh raspberry preserves, and just the right touch of glaze. Make sure to check in with the store as the Poptart flavors change regularly.
Granola Bar at Bourbon Coffee
Ok, so granola bars don't really count as a pastry, but this might be the best oat-y breakfast treat I have ever crossed paths with. Nutty and chewy, it's the perfect assemblage of oats, honey, and cinnamon. The Granola Bar ($2.50) contains a high percent of cranberries, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, and chocolate chunks. Lucky for New York and D.C. residents, Bourbon Coffee has one more location in each city.
Jalapeno Cheddar Savory Scone from The Biscuit
The Biscuit, technically sitting just at the division between Somerville and Cambridge, is a bakery well worth a few steps over the city line. The Jalapeno Cheddar Savory Scone ($3) is just one among many additional sweet and savory flavors, and it contains the pull-apart layers that are the hallmark of a good biscuit. Cheesy, and just a little bit spicy, the use of corn flour gives this pastry a distinct nutty flavor, almost reminiscent of polenta. The best parts are the pockets of sharp cheddar cheese nestled between bits of jalapeno peppers.