Address: Eight locations in Boston/Cambridge
Signature Dishes: Sticky Buns and Banana Bread
Sticky buns don’t just become one of the most raved-about, craveable foods in Boston for nothing. Flour Bakery and Cafe earned that designation, and the proof is in the bun. Try one warm from the oven and you’ll quickly see what makes these treats so special.
Flour has all types of delicious goodies, both sweet and savory. The seasonal grain bowls, salads and French- and American-inspired sandwiches all get positive reviews, but the sticky buns are its claim to fame. On the menu since Flour’s original location opened on Washington Street in Boston’s South End in 2000, they are what many are willing to wake up early for, wait for, and even travel far and wide to get a taste of.
After nearly two decades of business and seven more locations, the ooey-gooey buns have become what many consider to be the best they’ve ever tried. Made with a buttery rich brioche rolled with cinnamon brown sugar and pecans, they are baked in what chef and owner Joanne Chang calls a “honey-cream-butter-brown sugar goo mixture,” which caramelizes and helps the buns to truly live up to their name. A good slathering of pecans all over is the final touch.
Need further convincing that these sticky buns are incredible? They won against celebrity chef Bobby Flay on the Food Network competition show, “Throwdown! With Bobby Flay.”
If you go for breakfast, the egg sandwich is perhaps equally famous for its unbeatable deliciousness. Not your typical quick-serve sandwich, it’s made with a perfectly portioned ham or bacon-filled omelet, topped with cheddar, arugula, tomato and dijonnaise and served on a freshly baked bun.
You might also want to consider trying the old-fashioned sour cream coffee cake, banana bread or a brown butter cinnamon roll (aka the sticky bun’s cousin). If you don’t have room (understandable), you can always bring a few home for later.
Flour’s Famous Banana Bread
1 1/3 cups (190 grams) all-purpose flour1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (230 grams) sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 1/2 very ripe medium bananas (about 340 grams or 1 1/3 cups mashed)
2 tablespoons creme fraiche or sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup (70 grams) walnut halves, toasted and chopped
Heat the oven to 325 degrees.
Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whip attachment, beat the sugar and eggs on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. (Or whip by hand with an electric hand mixer until light and fluffy, about 8 minutes.)
With the mixer on low speed, slowly drizzle in the oil. Be sure not to pour the oil in all at once; add it slowly so that it has time to incorporate into the eggs and doesn’t deflate the air you’ve just beaten into the batter.
Add the mashed bananas, creme fraiche and vanilla and mix on low speed until just combined. Fold in the dry ingredients and nuts by hand until thoroughly combined, so there are no more flour streaks in the batter
Pour the batter into a buttered 9-by-5-inch loaf pan and bake for 60 to 75 minutes, until the top of the banana bread is golden brown and springs back when you poke it in the middle. If your finger sinks when you poke it, it needs to bake a little longer. Let cool for at least 30 minutes and then pop out of the pan and serve. Keeps for 2 to 3 days at room temperature, tightly wrapped. Or store in the freezer, tightly wrapped in plastic, for up to 2 weeks and defrost overnight at room temperature.
Makes one 9-inch loaf.
For more AAA-approved signature dishes, visit AAA.com/DiamondDish.