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Sweet Stuff: Slew of New Bakeries Open in L.A.

Get ready to break out a bigger belt. Former Top Chef: Just Desserts finalist Danielle Keene is among the slew of pastry chefs setting up shop in Los Angeles.
Former Top Chef: Just Desserts finalist Danielle Keene has opened Bittersweet Treats, a sweet shop of her very own, in Pasadena.
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Just because the cupcake craze is winding down doesn't mean that Southern California's pastry renaissance is in danger of slowing anytime soon. And the proof is in the pudding -- or, rather, the cookies, at a bevy of new Los Angeles-area bakeshops that offer both sweet and savory treats.

Cookie Casa Bakery

After eleven years running her popular pop-up bakeries throughout Los Angeles, baker Erin Zabel has finally decided to throw down roots in the form of Cookie Casa, her two week old Beverly Boulevard baked goods emporium. Of course she makes cookies -- chocolate orange, snickerdoodle and Mexican Hot Chocolate are part of the lineup -- but there's also a slew of other succulent treats to be found, too. Think pecan pie, carrot cupcakes and crack -- yes, crack -- which Zabel describes as a "chocolate cookie crust with fudge filling topped with chocolate chips and cookie crumbs." 8116 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles. 310-922-6396. 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday; closed Sunday. cookiecasa.com

Chaumont Bakery & Cafe

Just a fresh baguette's throw away from Untitled is Frederic Laski's new Beverly Hills boulangerie, Chaumont Bakery & Cafe (Laski is the brother-in-law of The Hollywood Reporter photo director Jennifer Laski). The owner refuses to freeze or store his dough overnight, so he, along with former Le Pain Quotidien baker Denis Bocq, fire up their ovens at 3 a.m. six days a week. A selection of savory salads and sandwiches complement an egg-heavy breakfast menu, and pastry chef Nicolas Rancon's traditionally French assortment of croissants, tarts, eclairs and small cakes provides a perfect finishing touch. 143 S. Beverly Dr., Beverly Hills. 310-550-5510. 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday; closed Sunday.

Bittersweet Treats

Danielle Keene, a finalist from Bravo’s 2010 Top Chef: Just Desserts competition, opened Bittersweet Treats in December to community acclaim -- after all, her pedigree includes stints in the pastry kitchens of Little Door and Wilshire. Her latest batches of cookies, cupcakes, tarts and desert bars are made with local ingredients, and the truffles and brittles are produced in-house alongside a variety of ice creams, sorbets and sherbets in flavors ranging from the traditional (vanilla bean, mint chip) to the inspired (cinnamon basil, apple rosemary).  A variety of specialty sodas, coffees and teas, courtesy of Silver Lake favorite LAMILL, complement the edibles. 1731 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena. 626.796.8655. 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday; closed Sunday. bittersweettreats.com 

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