I was now going for the third recommendation on my Next Door post. A couple of people spoke warmly of the bear claws at Maple Leaf Donuts. I’d never thought of trying a doughnut shop for anything other than doughnuts and possibly cinnamon rolls (Stan’s Donuts remains my favorite for both) but after three strikes on finding a genuine bear claw, I was more than willing to be open-minded about any possibilities.
Unfortunately, Maple Leaf was not as conveniently situated on my commute as Black Bear Diner had been. In fact, it was in the opposite direction from work. On the morning I had my biweekly 7 am meeting, I left my house at 6 to appear at Maple Leaf (fortunately they opened at 4 or 5 am, sign of a true “fresh doughnuts every morning” sort of place) in plenty of time to secure the bear claws and make it to my meeting on time.
Except when I got there, I saw the sign for “apple fritters and bear claws”, I saw the apple fritters but not a crumb of bear claw. I asked the counter lady if she had any. She said she normally had them every day but she was sold out that morning because someone had come in and bought all the bear claws. You’re kidding me. 6:10 am and “sold out”. Gah, it was a conspiracy, I tell you, to keep me from finding a genuine bear claw.
However, since I was already there, I figured I might as well not waste the trip so I bought an apple fritter. Had to inject some fat and sugar into my day if I had to be coherent for a 7 am meeting. And I had been thwarted in my bear claw hunt so I needed some kind of consolation prize. I like apple fritters but rarely eat them. For me, the calories aren’t usually worth eating them on a regular basis and my sweet tooth doesn’t normally kick in until later in the day. But once in awhile is okay, especially when I’m trying out a new place.
The apple fritter was quite good. Could’ve used a few more apples but overall, thumbs up. The outside was crisp and had just the right amount of light glaze to give it a crisp but melting texture. The fritter itself was also delicious, although there were a few bites I could taste the deep fried-ness of it and by the end, I was reminded why apple fritters are just a sometimes food. I don’t think I needed the sugar high quite that early in my day, especially since I hadn’t run that morning.
Fortunately though, I did go for a run after work that day. Which meant I didn’t need to run the following morning and I worked off some of that apple fritter so it strengthened my resolve to try Maple Leaf again. At this point, my escalation of commitment was rising with every thwarted attempt to find a “real bear claw”. The next morning, I worked out at home, got ready and had just enough time to make another detour to Maple Leaf before getting into work at my usual time.
This time, there were bear claws available. But their appearance gave me pause. Just from looks alone, I could already tell this wasn’t a “real” bear claw. Despite having the “claw” appearance, it was obvious this was made out of doughnut dough, not brioche dough. I could also see apple bits peeking through the “claws” and even without the apples, the filling was darker than almond paste so I figured it was another brown sugar-cinnamon filling. Did someone change the definition of bear claws when I wasn’t looking? When did they stop having almond paste filling and switch over to brown sugar paste? Never, that’s when because these are not genuine bear claws.
I got one for me and one for Eileen but I lowered her expectations when I got to the office. It wasn’t a bear claw. It was an apple-filled doughnut with some weird cutouts that reminded me of bear knuckles perhaps but not bear claws. It was a good apple-filled doughnut but an apple-filled doughnut nonetheless. Who knew finding a genuine bear claw would be so hard?