Pick Up The Pastry: Somerville’s Best Sweets

best dessertsJust a few of Somerville's best sweets. Clockwise from top left: 3 Little Figs breakfast cookie, The Biscuit's fruit tart, Juliet's olive oil cake, the almond bun at Forge, USD's vegan cinnamon sugar donut, Gracie's PB ice cream sandwich and the mini cheesecakes at 7ate9.

Our January/February issue was packed with info on Somerville’s best gyms, trainers and off-the-wall workouts—now, it’s time to talk fitness-fueling food.

Whether you’re looking to carbo-load before a long run, are indulging in a cheat day or want all of the flaky, sugary goodness without quite so many calories, we’ve got your list of Somerville’s best baked goods (and a few bonus sweets) right here.

When you’re counting calories:

A healthy start to the day
Breakfast Cookie, Three Little Figs
278 Highland Ave. | 3littlefigs.com

The breakfast cookie as a concept is pretty genius—just take everything good about oatmeal and make it portable. Three Little Figs heightens the cookie-as-breakfast experience by blending coconut oil, maple syrup, zucchini, chia seeds and walnuts into the mix to form an Actually Healthy Cookie™ that’s still delightful. Moist, chewy, not too sweet and loaded with fiber, they’re a win-win for the health-conscious and the pleasure-seekers alike.

For a mid-afternoon pick-me-up
Vegan Cinnamon Sugar Donut, Union Square Donuts
20 Bow St. | unionsquaredonuts.com

Union Square Donuts has a rotating menu of vegan options, but a regular visitor to the list is the cinnamon sugar donut. Made with coconut oil and coconut milk, it’s not only vegan, it’s full of heart-healthy fats. Cakey but not dry, sweet but not too sugary, this baby hits the sweet spot without building up any cavities.

With your afternoon tea
Gluten-Free Walnut Olive Oil Cake, Juliet
257 Washington St. | julietsomerville.com

Juliet’s gluten-free walnut olive oil cake is slightly sweet and moist, with a good crumble and a lot less of the bad stuff than your average coffee cake. While the exact flavoring offerings vary, they always have some kind of gluten free olive oil cake, making it a safe bet for a quick snack.

For dessert
Fruit Tart, The Biscuit
406 Washington St. | visitthebiscuit.com

The Biscuit may be better known for its scones and breads, but on the sweeter side, this fruit tart beautifully balances ripe fruit, crispy pastry shell and creamy filling, making for a healthier alternative that’s still satisfying.

On your cheat day:

A decadent start to the day 
Raspberry Turnover, Lyndell’s
720 Broadway | lyndells.com

With almost 130 years of experience under their belts, Lyndell’s had better make a good turnover. Thankfully, they deliver—and then some. Thick, flaky pastry that’s just a little sweet covers a rich, sugary center dotted with raspberry seeds. The texture from the raspberry filling keeps the pastry from turning into a mushy, doughy mess, and the brilliant crimson filling is a jewel to behold.

For a mid-afternoon pick-me-up
Almond Bun, Forge Baking Company
626 Somerville Ave. | forgebakingco.com

Forge, from the duo behind Bloc 11 and Diesel Cafe, gets to bloom as a bakery in a way the pastry counters of its siblings couldn’t quite do. With everything from homemade pop tarts to baklava croissants, the baked goods are—across the board—simply delightful. The almond croissant, sometimes labeled an almond bun, is a particular gem. The menu changes pretty regularly, though. So if the sweet, sometimes frosted, flaky little treats aren’t available, console yourself in the curved arms of a plain croissant with house-made jam.

With your afternoon tea 
Peanut Butter Bar Ice Cream Sandwich, Gracie’s Ice Cream
22 Union Sq. | graciesicecre.am

Gracie’s ever-changing ice cream menu—with its s’mores-crusted sugar cones and flavors like blueberry crumble and salted whiskey—is always a good idea. When they take that ice cream and scoop a fat blob of it between two thick, creamy peanut butter bars—well, you might have to leave work early to spend some personal time with it. The peanut butter bars alone are beauties— creamy and buttery with a layer of chocolate to cut through the saltiness of the peanut butter. And when combined with any of the shop’s inventive ice cream flavors, they ascend to a whole new level.

For dessert
Chocolate Mini Cheesecake, 7ate9 Bakery
199C Highland Ave. | 7ate9bakery.com

7ate9’s cheesecakes are criminally good. The “mini” is still a pretty hefty portion of cheesecake that’s luscious and creamy and dense. Very, very dense. It’s like biting into a wedge of ice cream. The mocha and ganache-dipped varieties are equally delightful, but the chocolate cheesecake has the right blend of sweetness and bitterness thanks to Taza chocolate. You’ll want to devour the entire thing in a single bite, but savor every little taste. Or, buy a full-sized cheesecake and go nuts. It’s your cheat day, after all.

This story originally appeared in the January/February print edition of Scout, which is available for free at more than 220 drop spots throughout Somerville (and just beyond its borders) or by subscription.

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