Racine, WI–An hour north of Chicago, 30 miles south of Milwaukee, Racine includes rolling farmland, a harbor on Lake Michigan, and lots of kringles. Due to the many Danish settlers here, the pastry made from 32 layers of flaky dough that’s hand-shaped became a popular item in local bakeries. Today you’ll find it comes topped with pecans (hands-down the most popular), or filled with fruit like Michigan cherries or blueberries, and of course, chocolate varieties. Though they’re known as a Christmas specialty, they are made year round here. A video shows the process in super-speed.
I checked out two of the four main bakeries in Racine. First stop was at the original kringle bakery, Larsen’s in downtown at 3311 Washington Ave.. The bakery’s quite basic, and the folks quite friendly. Kringles come packed in a box so they don’t get squished on the ride home. We chose strawberry-mango and pecan, but the flavors ranged from orange dreamsicle to chocolate filled. Kringle rating: outstanding.
Next, I went upscale to O & H Danish Bakery and the Danish Uncle Marketplace at 4006 Durand Ave. They offered a large selection of flavors, and the place was bustling with people buying kringles and other baked goods. If you’re looking to shop a bit for home decor along with your baked goods, this is your place. O&H Bakery also offers kringles for sale in the Petro Truck Stop right off 94, but really, that’s cheating. You really need to venture into Racine for a real kringle.
Kringles cost about $8.50 each in Racine bakeries, and online range from $19-35 each.
There are other Racine bakeries offering kringles, and many of the suburbs around Racine sell them. Here are two other Racine outlets to try and enjoy:
Lehmann’s Bakery lays claim as the oldest continuously operating bakery in Racine, at 4900 Spring St.. They roll and fold the dough into 140 layers.
Bendtsen’s Bakery and Cafe at 3200 Washington Ave., draws coffee drinkers and pastry tasters every morning.