Maureen's Gourmet Bakery

For eight years, Maureen's has quietly sat in the same Sugar Land strip mall. There aren't many places that have that kind of longevity -- the Droubi's that was once there sadly vacated the 'burb entirely -- so there must be a good reason.

As it turns out, Maureen's is where people go to buy cakes. Every time I've visited the shop, people are crowded around the cake desk conferencing about decorations, and the women behind the counter are answering phone calls about flavors and cake pick-up times. But for unofficial mini-celebrations, like lunchtime, there's also a modest selection of other bakery items.

Having heard some hype about the petit fours, I tried those first.

Traditionally, petit fours have a jelly or ganache filling and a flower piped on top -- Maureen's had the flower but no filling. The cake was very moist, but the vanilla frosting was incredibly sweet. A strong cup of coffee helps to cut it. The napoleons, basically tankards of buttercream, have the customary black and white frosting on top and are big enough for two or three people. (Here is a question for the ages: Why are napoleons always so difficult and messy to eat?) The kolaches are a good choice - they're small and salty, with the regular variations, like ham-and-cheese and sausage-cheese-jalapeño.

Maybe the strongest item at Maureen's is the chocolate chip cookie. It tastes so simple and homemade and is perfectly chewy and crunchy, which is deceptively difficult to achieve.

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