/ The Phoenix Traveler
Phoenix — By Heather Wright Schlichting on April 16, 2010 at 1:59 pm
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Tienes Hambre? Try These South of the Border Treats

Curious about pan dulce? Craving a cream filled empanada? Drooling over the thought of your next sopapilla? With plenty of panaderias (Mexican bakeries) in Phoenix, there’s no need to miss out.

Panaderias house a variety of doughy sweets. Cookies, cream-filled pastries, jelly-filled pastries, sweet pan dulce, cakes, muffins and more. Sometimes Mexican pastries can be heavy on the dough, light on the flavor. While I warn you, fear not. The gamble is worth the adventure.

Sold straight from the oven, Mexican sweetbreads, pastries and cookies are inexpensive, often costing 25 to 50 cents apiece.  Here is a listing of the varieties of sweet treats that you can choose from:

Pan dulce: A chewy, lightly sweetened Mexican bread topped with a sweet, decorative topping.
Empanadas: A turnover with a flaky crust and fresh fruit filling.
Sopapillas: A delectable light puffy roll topped with sugar, cinnamon and honey.
Buñuelo: A thin, deep-fried pastry. It is normally sprinkled with a cinnamon and sugar mixture.
Pastelitos: Dried fruit pastries.

To sample the real thing, stop by these local panaderias and Mexican markets:

Azteca Bakery (map)
(602) 253-5864
Founded by Bernardo Lopez in 1956, the bakery is known for its fruit-filled empanadas and bolillos. The family-operated bakery specializes in Mexican wedding cookies.

El Fenix Bakery (map)
(602) 276-9104
This 25-year-old family bakery offers a wide selection of Mexican pastries, breads and tamales.

Food City
Stores Valley-wide, including Apache Junction, Chandler, Avondale, Glendale, Mesa and Tempe
A locally-owned Hispanic grocery chain, Food City delivers with fresh baked sweet breads, from bolillos to cochinitos.

El Rancho Market (map)
(480) 792-1414
From Mexican-style croissants to sweet breads and cookies, this in-store bakery fires up its ovens daily. Customers can buy from the case, or order cakes for special occasions.

Carneceria El Rancho (map)
Enjoy cream-filled churros, cookies in flavors like almond, cinnamon and strawberry, pan dulce and tres leches cakes all for very reasonable prices.

Photo courtesy of Mi Tierra

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