Kathryn DeBruler searches far and wide for DFW's most interesting breakfast food. Come along.
In Texas, Kolaches are a thing. There are at least four festivals honoring the Czech pastry in our great state alone. The most famous kolaches hail from West, where legend has it that city revenue is driven almost entirely by sales of the sweet and sometimes savory buns. But for those of you who don't feel inclined to load up the car and high-tail to it to West, there are any number of kolache shops in the DFW area that should satiate your craving. My favorite is a shop called Kolache Haven.
Kolache Haven is located just south of the University of North Texas in Denton. The offerings here include a myriad of baked goods, including scones, cinnamon rolls and what they refer to as "armadillos" (glorified pigs in the blanket). Ignore the myriad. The myriad is fluff. Focus on the kolaches.
Kolache dough is typically risen three times, because two times is not enough and four times is too many. Depending on the baker, the final product can fall anywhere on the quality spectrum from stale hot dog buns to pillows of the carbohydrate-Gods. Kolache Haven's yeast dough resembles the latter: tender and just barely sweet. Trust me, if you were a carbohydrate-God, you would rest the shit out of your head on one of these bad boys.
Traditionally speaking, kolache toppings were limited to either prune, poppy seed or cheese. Kolache Haven does everything from sweet toppings such as apple, apricot and blueberry to savory toppings of boudin, bratwurst, venison and the like. Often times, I find the fruit toppings on kolaches to be overly sweet and just too damn mucilaginous. While still sugary enough to send you to the dentist, the fruit toppings at Kolache Haven have just enough depth of flavor to keep them from being cloying.
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My favorite is the cream cheese kolache, which tastes very faintly of lemon zest and very not faintly of cream cheese. Cream cheese is one of those magical ingredients that makes everything taste better, which is why uninspired home cooks have clung to it so. But here, the cream cheese isn't acting to cover up anything. Rather, it works in harmony with the yeasty, slightly spiced pastry to make sweet, sweet love to your taste buds.
At a dollar a pop, you can afford to pick up a box or two of these bad boys and then make it rain. It will look like a scene out of rap music video, only instead of a rapper it will be you, being a dad, and instead of a strip club it will be your kid's swim meet, and instead of dolla dolla billz it will be Czech pastries.
Kolache Haven 301 I-35E Frontage Rd. Denton, Texas 76205