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Breakfast Pastry Addiction: The Cardamom Escargot at Babettes

This sweet and spicy dessert at Babettes may be a bit elusive, but it's worth the effort of checking to see if it's there.

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Baker Steve Scott starts his day at Babettes before most of the world wakes up. His level of dedication and commitment to excellence is unwavering and it shows in his breads and pastries. Scott tinkers endlessly and says he bakes because he wants to be the best. "I've made 20 different croissant doughs in the past four weeks," he explains. Almost everything he sells goes through a day-long process (or more) of rising, chilling, and fermenting.

The cardamom roll at Babettes is no exception. The baker uses his latest version of croissant dough and rolls out a sheet big enough for just about 60 rolls. After a light brushing with butter, Scott dusts the dough with sugar, cardamom, and a touch of ground ginger. "The ginger isn't necessarily for flavor. It's just enhances the spice," says Scott.

The whole sheet is twisted into a sliceable roll, cut into individuals, wrapped, and put back into the refrigerator to chill and ferment for another 24 hours. They are baked the next morning and glazed with a simple syrup. The end product is simple, but provides many layers of flavors. The shell is sweet and crunchy from the glaze, but the next layer of spice hits quickly, finishing with a buttery dough that makes you want to start from the beginning again.

"I wanted it to be assertive, but at the same time, not too sweet. It's a little sweet, a little spicy, and I think people like it because it's unique."

Babettes opens every day at 8 a.m,, except for Monday when it is closed. The cardamom escargot isn't always there, but it's worth popping in just to check.

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Disclosure: the editor is married to one of the developers behind The Source.