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The Greater Spokane Area bake off: Here are the best of the best baked goods in town

By Kris Kilduff For The Spokesman-Review

Baking has always been my nemesis. My first-ever attempt was in my seventh-grade home economics class. My teacher instructed us on how to make homemade cinnamon rolls. Being more creative than concise, I apparently put more focus on turning mine into a cinnamon hippopotamus than I was accurately measuring ingredients.

The good news was I easily won the best-looking overweight amphibious dessert category, but the bad news was it tasted like a cardboard box. Luckily, our city is full of amazing pastry chefs who not only listened to their teachers, but also have taken the art to the next level.

Best Cookie: Three Birdies Bakery

Phone or online order only; (509) 998-8006;

As a foodie, I’ve always felt that if Santa were real, he would silently judge families on what cookies they leave him. If so, Three Birdies would be nowhere near the naughty list. Owner Jamie Merrill Roberts might not have a parking spot at the Louvre yet, but she has slowly become Spokane’s Van Gogh of Dough.

“My cookies are special because everything is hand-drawn,” she said with a smile. “When cookies are also art, it makes me pour my entire heart and soul into them.” The idea of customizing your own confections for holidays, birthdays or special occasions is limitless.

Sugar cookies often get overlooked in a sea of Keebler Elves and chocolate chips. Don’t believe me? Next time you plan to give a loved one flowers, bring them cookies iced with colorful pedals with their name personalized on them.

Best Bread: Lucky Lady Bread Co.

Wonder Saturday Market, 835 N. Post St.; @luckyladybread

When I was kid playing Oregon Trail, I was more concerned about shooting the white silhouette of passing buffalo than keeping a sourdough starter alive. Luckily, I wasn’t relocating out west in the 1800s. Owner/operator Stacie Kearney, who you can find at Wonder Saturday Market, spends her days paying tribute to long-living yeast in ways that will make your mouth water.

Bread is a labor of love, and Kearney affords that love to a few key components: “High quality – minimal ingredients and a long, slow and cold fermentation process.” Whatever the recipe might be, it’s working, and everyone who enjoys this self-anointed carb hustler’s creations comes back for more.

Best Donut: Casual Friday

3402 N. Division St.; (509) 328-1764;

Waking up on the weekend and heading out for donuts just feels natural. Casual Friday has made it easy, but if you live far from the Division Street drive-thru, you can find the doughnuts just about anywhere: Zip Trip gas stations, Wake Up Call coffee stands and even Coeur d’Alene Casino.

Life is all about variety, and it’s no different when doughnut shopping. Choose from leagues of traditional cake and glazed options, or splurge for the Mother of All Donuts, a flaky and layered pastry that is fried and topped with caramel, chocolate and powdered sugar. Bring your appetite: These heavenly halos are easily double the size of your average doughnut around town.

Best Scone: Bake My Day

34911 N. Newport Highway, Chattaroy; (509) 270-9573;

A close friend kidnapped me a couple of months back with the promise of the best scone I’ve ever had. We drove north past Deer Park to Chattaroy to a small little drive-thru bakery that has become a solid fixture of my fat kid dreams. Offering a rotating menu of tasty treats, the scones at Bake My Day are truly something special.

Indulge in the popular raspberry lemonade and maple bacon, or if you swing in while the holidays are in full effect, you might be able to catch the limited-time chocolate peppermint or eggnog. Owner Ashley Whitham-Dinwiddie is ecstatic to be living her dream, a tiny bakery she shares with her husband nestled in her own little corner of the world.

Best Cupcake: Boots Bakery

24 W. Main Ave.; (509) 703-7223;

The tiny, tucked-away bistro in the middle of downtown jokes that it offers “Occasional Mayhem.” If mayhem tastes anything like the mad scientist selection of cupcakes, sign me up. Baked delights by day, craft cocktails by night, Boots digs its creative culinary cleats into any surface it decides to play on.

With something as simple as a cupcake, there is plenty of room for adventure. Part of the fun is not knowing what to expect, from spicy Mexican mocha and root beer float to pineapple colada and spumoni. Here’s the kicker: They’re all delicious, all vegan and all gluten-free. Just don’t tell any health food haters because they will never be able to tell the difference.

Best Cinnamon Roll: Blissful Whisk

1612 N. Barker Road, Spokane Valley; (509) 242-3189;

Owner Tiffany Cable and her team rights all my sad cinnamon roll wrongs. Her shop – part bakery, part European tea party – is exactly the style of space where you’d expect to find a paramount pastry. “During COVID-19 and all these restrictions, they could really be what keeps my bakery alive,” Cable said.

The East Valley neighborhood that surrounds her competes daily for the giant frosted packs of cinnamon rolls she boxes every morning. I was almost hesitant to include Blissful Whisk on this list because as soon as the word gets out, it will only lessen my chance to pick one up every weekend.

Best Croissant: Rind and Wheat

1516 W. Riverside Ave.; (509) 596-9900;

Chef and baker Ricky Webster could be atop just about any list he wishes. As winner of multiple national awards such as Food Network’s “Christmas Cookie Challenge” and 2020’s Real California Pizza Contest, he is one of the Northwest’s most-acclaimed bakers.

When visiting his new shop Rind and Wheat in Browne’s Addition, there’s enough hearty eats and sweet treats to keep you busy, but the savory ham and two-year-aged cheddar croissant is next-level delicious. If you have a sweet tooth, opt for the Belgium chocolate and espresso sea salt. The flaky layers create a texture and buttery flavor you won’t find anywhere else in town.

Best Pie: Birdie’s Pie Shop

1003 N. Spokane St., Post Falls; (208) 457-7004;

Pie isn’t the first thing on my radar, but I was curious why so many people were driving to North Idaho to buy pie. That is until I tried Birdie’s Pie Shop. I asked owner Sharee Moss what makes the pies so special: “When developing a new recipe, we want that type of pie that has no frills, no fuss, no new-aged gimmicks. It’s your grandma’s pie … let it speak for itself.”

Learning the art of pie from Grandma Birdie is just one step toward pie domination. Birdie’s also stays innovative with seasonal offerings and a line of savory pies that include taco and mac and cheese.

Kris Kilduff can be reached at