Gluten-schmuten: despite more folks giving up carbs, there are plenty of us who enjoy the smell (and taste) of fresh-baked bread. Or a sheet of still-warm cookies. Or a handmade cake with a melt-in-your mouth filling.
Baked goods have been around since the Roman Empire. Baking one's own bread was standard procedure, but in 168 BC, the first baker's guild was established in Rome. Since then, people have savored the experience ofstrolling into a bakery, taking a big whiff, then biting into whatever delicious creation was just taken out of a hot oven.
There are about 2,800 bakeries in America, but here are 15 that, from coast to coast, are keeping mouths watering.
Their rep for sticky buns put them on the map (there are four locations around town now). But folks line up for their other sweet treats and breakfast sandwiches (on fresh-baked bread, naturally).
The dude invented the "Cronut," for crying out loud. But Ansel isn't resting on that achievement: he continues to push the envelope with crazy culinary experiments, like a Frozen S'More. You can always just opt for a plain croissant.
It's tucked away in lower Manhattan, but that doesn't stop fans from pressing in to nab a buttery croissant, over-the-top Danish or French bread that will have you singing "La Marseillaise."
It's been a staple of Charm City since 1956. And true to its name, it's the source for Italian goodies, like pignoli, wedding cookies and tiramisu.
Since the 1920s, folks have lined up for their to-die-for baked goods, especially their signature cannoli. And if you ask nice, the staff has been known to show you around the back, to see how they're made.
It's the city's oldest family-owned bakery (1904). And they still use a spoon to fill your cannoli with your choice of three different creams. But you can also choose tarts, cheesecake or a hundred other things guaranteed to send you into a diabetic coma.
A fixture since 1971 - and one reason is, you can order one giant cake, or just a single slice of something yummy. The strawberry shortcake is always a hit, as are the Parker House Rolls. And if you can't make it to the shop, they have their own food truck!
For years, baker Merridee Erickson sold her wares from her log cabin. Now she doesn't have to worry about folks knocking on her door at 5 A.M: since 1984, people can buy her legendary 4-grain "Viking" bread or cinnamon rolls from this location in an old warehouse.
They take the bakery concept a step further by sourcing and milling the grains that go into their products. The "Toast Bar" lets you enjoy their fabulous breads in a new way, and the sourdough cinnamon rolls are a religious experience.
They've got that old-world bakery thing down pat. Since 1967, they've supplied the region with classic French pastries and breads, plus the "King Cake," a Mardi Gras tradition (they ship those nationwide, too).
In 1949, the "brothers" opened this beloved bakery after surviving the Holocaust. Today, a new generation of the family churns out everything from Kaiser rolls to chocolate coffee cake, baked from recipes dating from decades back.
They're lined up outside early in the morning - because their eight different breads and sixteen different pastries are gone, gone, gone each and every day. Can you say "apple croissant"?
Their fresh bread sells out so fast, that fans know to pre-order it three days ahead -and have their cash at the ready when they pick it up. Either that, or risk getting into a fistfight at the counter.
Some fans say the croissants at this hotspot remind them of Paris. And don't get them started on their crave-worthy chocolate chip or salted caramel cookies.
They adhere to the exact same recipes they used on the day they opened in 1934. Besides muffins, baguettes and donuts, they give a nod to the state's unofficial cookie, the "kringle."