903 S. Ann St, 410-342-4000.
The display case at the Fells Point cafe is stocked with delectable pastries, from almond croissants and elephant ear-shaped palmiers stuffed with raspberries to apricot-and-pear tarts.
Editor's pick: The Paris-Brest, named for a bicycle race between the two French cities—a sandwich of éclair dough filled with hazelnut cream and dusted with sugar and almonds.
Au Bon Pain
Several locations including 10 N. Calvert St., 410-727-9827.
Since the chain launched in Boston in 1978, the bakery has brought French pastries to airports, shopping malls, and even hospitals all over the world. Selections include brownies, cookies, croissants, strudels, and cheese Danish. The website (aubonpain.com) even includes caloric info, if you dare.
Editor's pick: The chocolate crème torsade pastry: 230 calories. Woot.
6070 Falls Rd., 410-372-0238.
The shelves are filled with croissants—plain, almond, and chocolate—palmiers, brioches, muffins, and more. All are baked by Gerard Billebault, a native of France, who opened the cute cafe with his wife, Gayle Brier, 15 years ago. The shop is also known for its colorful macaroons, which need to be special ordered.
Editor's pick: Pain au raisin, glazed with sugar and studded with sweet raisins.
Daniela Pasta & Pastries
900 W. 36th St., 443-759-9320.
This tiny storefront on The Avenue in Hampden may have some of the best Italian delicacies in town. Sure, the savory edibles are delicious, but the house-made dolci are worth a visit. The dilemma will be which one to pick from the display case, from tiramisu and fruit tarts to cannoli and strudels.
Editor's pick: The bite-sized elephant ears sandwiching a lemon curd or chocolate-hazelnut-cream middle.
6711 Reisterstown Rd., 410-764-1700.
This Pikesville kosher bakery has at least 10 varieties of hamantaschen—small triangular pastries with fillings like prune, poppy seed, and chocolate. But the shop also has classic pastries like buttery Danish packed with cherry, lemon, and blueberry, éclairs, and Napoleans.
Editor's pick: The chocolate “cigar," which is covered in chocolate icing and powdered sugar.
Flour, Butter & Water
The same three ingredients are used to make some of the most-loved pastries in the world.
Croissant Controversy Fun Fact
Some believe that Marie Antoinette introduced this buttery pastry to France from her native Austria. Though its origins are in dispute, its yumminess is not.