The one-stop pastry shop that ditches dyes and focuses on flavor

By Anna Albaryan

Every now and then, a small, family-run shop will enthrall locals with its quality ingredients, passed-down recipes, and no-frills style. Word will spread, lines will wrap around the corner, and soon enough pastry lovers in the Lower East Side of Manhattan will be getting their hands on the same baked banana bread as those in Los Angeles. And so has the story gone with Soft Peaks Confections.

This mother-daughter-run delicatessen based in Pasadena has been steadily spreading their baked goodness across the States without making any concessions on quality. While any of their gift sets are worth a long, craving look, those suffering from an insatiable sweet tooth should look no further than the Deluxe Gift Basket. Tucked into six charmingly simple boxes are the bakery’s famed all-natural French macarons in all their dye-free glory—as well as rich brownies, brittle, truffle-style chocolate balls (careful, these go fast!), and chocolate chip cookies.

The basket also includes Soft Peaks’ unforgettable banana bread, which remains perfectly moist in the center—even through transit—and two jars of an original dulce caramel spread that is like nothing you’ve ever tasted. Made with entirely natural and organic ingredients, these addictive dulces come in four perfectly paired flavors. The chocolate-chipotle version offers a striking sweet-and-spicy kick while the chai spice, espresso, and original caramel are just what you’d expect—but more.

Word on the Street

  • Zagat has put the watch on these artisans, complimenting their signature items as “cookies in all their simple, natural beauty.”
  • LAist said the bakery’s “playful yet elegant French macarons and Small Batch homey cookies” should not be missed.

Party treats with the versatile jarred dulce de leche

For a quick and easy bite that everyone will love, spread one of the thick, rich dulces, like the chocolate-chipotle, onto ready-made croissant dough. Then just roll them up and bake them in the oven for 11 to 13 minutes until crispy and golden brown. The result: perfect mini chocolate croissants, with an added chipotle kick that’s sure to spice up your party.