We swung by Buffalo Doughboy Bakery, which just won our Best of Denver Best Bakery award, early Thursday morning to see what was on offer. The pastry case overflowed with fat danishes and hefty croissants, making it hard to decide what would best accompany that morning cup of coffee. Though the savory pastries and chocolate-drizzled croissants all looked tempting, it was the five-digit bear claw that eventually beckoned us.
The bear claw consists of layers of flaky dough surrounding a dense almond filling. Because the pastry is gigantic, we found the easiest way to navigate it was to pull it apart one layer at a time. Streusel and sliced almonds, which add a little crunch, cover the browned top. The dough around the edges is crisp and delicate and gets softer and chewier the closer you get to the center, which makes it similar to a croissant. Owner and pastry chef Clark Eaton attributes the incredible flavor and tenderness to the high butterfat content in the European butter he uses to bake.
Once you get to the middle, the decadent almond filling awaits. To make the filling, Eaton starts with almond paste, then adds sugar, ground pound cake, egg whites and more almonds. The result is thick and flavorful, but not overpoweringly so. The sweetness of the filling blends well with the salt in the buttery dough.
The bakery, now in its seventh year, offers free coffee every Thursday, a customer perk that Eaten has offered for nearly all of those seven years. When the gimmick turned his slowest day of the week into his busiest, he decided to keep it. It's easy to see why people would have a hard time passing the case without being tempted by the confections, but a free cup of Coda or Lavazza java is a worthy incentive to get one of Denver's best bear claws in your hand.
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Bear claw: $3.50