Illustration by Bob AulThose wacky Dutch get credit for the word cookie, adapted from koekje, or "little cake," though it was probably the Persians who started experimenting with small, sweet pastries about 1,400 years ago. Whoever's responsible, Americans reportedly cram as many as 2 billion per year into their portholes. No wonder we're the tubbiest people on the planet! So the least you can do, fatso, is venture beyond the confines of Albertsons for a change, and check out one of these five bakeries.
•SOLOMON'S BAKERY, 23020 Lake Forest Dr., Laguna Hills, (949) 586-4718. Have some Hamantaschen, bubbe. These triangular morsels are associated with the Jewish holiday Purim, wherein the beautiful Esther rescues her people from extermination at the hands of the nefarious Haman. Stuffed with apricots, poppy seeds, etc. ($5.59 per pound).
•THE GREAT DANE BAKING CO., 6855 Warner Ave., Huntington Beach, (714) 842-1130. Scandinavian bakery/bistro with a wondrous array of goodies: Linzer cookies dusted with confectioner's sugar, Napoleon hats dipped in chocolate and cream-filled Bavarian hearts (55 cents per cookie).
•ASSAL PASTRY, 14130 Culver Dr., Irvine, (949) 733-3262. Assal means "honey" in Farsi, so don't call me that unless you mean it, Sweet Cheeks. These Persian delights should get your mind off me: rice-flour berenjis with poppyseed, almond badamies, and walnut gerduis topped with a pistachio ($6 per pound).
•HERB'S BLACK FOREST BAKERY AND DELI, 18225 Brookhurst St., Fountain Valley, (714) 964-7615. Butter heart: a cookie sandwich with raspberry filling that's partially covered in chocolate (95 cents each). Diabetes? Who dat?
•RUBEN'S BAKERY, 438 S. Harbor, Fullerton, (714) 992-0414. More pan dulces than you can shake a churro at. Our pick: polvaderas—giant, crumbly things that'd be perfect for milk-dunking if they weren't so freakin' big. Cochinitos (pig-shaped gingerbread cookies) ain't bad either. Hey, you really are what you eat. And they're just 50 centavos a pop.
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