Restaurant News

First Look at Fluff Bake Bar

Rebecca Masson is a woman of many names, and almost all of them include the word "sugar." Make no mistake, the queen of confections has earned her title through long hours in kitchens across the U.S. and France, and her first stand-alone bakery, Fluff Bake Bar, is fit for royalty.

The bright, open space has interior and exterior windows into the baking room, as well as a set of windows and doors that peep into the back courtyard of Russo's.

The white walls open up the space with a modern appeal. Whoever designed this has done a great job concealing the fact that the storefront is fairly small; the row of tables seems like just enough space for one to enjoy something sweet.

Now, just mix in the dark stone countertop with sweets on white pedestals and a neon pink sign that says "Sugar" for a bit of contrast, and you've got an interesting space that still lets the desserts be the center of attention.

Masson got her start as a coffee-shop barista and baker in Wyoming; she researched some French culinary schools online, found Le Cordon Bleu, and voilà! An acceptance letter came her way shortly after. She worked in several acclaimed restaurants in France, then came to Houston for a job at *17. She's spent time in the kitchens of Revival Market, Catalan, Ibiza, Central Market, Gravitas and several others. She was also on Top Chef Just Desserts, on which she competed with a broken arm for some of the filming.

Now, let's get to what you're dying to hear about — sugary, delicious sin. 

The Satellite of Love (which is not at all a Moonpie, hint hint) is a thick, almost rubbery marshmallow surrounded by graham cracker cookies and dipped in rich, high-quality milk chocolate. Its chewy texture and creamy outer layer complement the crumbly graham crackers quite well, and the effect is much more effervescent than might be expected.

If you haven't heard about Masson's Fluffernutters yet, you should start the talk yourself. They're chewy but not overly heavy peanut butter oatmeal cookies with peanut butter cream and marshmallow fluff between them. Don't let the sound of it overwhelm you; they are light, and the peanut butter is present but not overpowering. 

The Couch Potato cookie sounds pretty scary, honestly; it has potato chips, cornflakes, marshmallows and chocolate chips, but its appearance is quite innocent. It's crunchy and dense, but not too much of either, and has a distinctively caramel-like flavor to it. 

For the sweet and salty lovers, check out the Veruca Salt cake, which you can also get as a cupcake — as in, layers of cake and icing in a tiny cup. This one has rich devil's food cake, salted caramel butter cream and pretzels, and the overall effect is devilish indeed. The large salt flakes have plenty of depth, and the chocolate of the cake is subtle enough to enhance the saltiness, not hide it.

Three words: duck fat caramel. It's soft but still holds its own shape, and has a deliciously savory touch to it — yes, you can taste the duck, and it's a perfect complement to the sweetness of the caramel. 

Fluff has a full coffee bar, complete with cold-brewed coffee, as well as plenty of boozy options. You can get wine by the glass, as well as bottled beer (and the beer options are pretty great). We hear that the coffee is excellent, too.

At 6 p.m., there are daily specials available; examples include a cheese and charcuterie board, rice pudding cannoli and chocolate stout mousse. The options are still mostly dessert, but with an adult twist.

Fluff also hosts Saturday morning bake sales at 10 a.m. every Saturday, which sometimes feature guest pastry chefs at well as Masson's goods. 

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Alexandra Doyle