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Missing Brambles from Hanley's in W. Roxbury

  • k

Since Hanley's closed last December, I've really been missing their brambles, particularly around the holidays since they were a tradition for me. (for those that don't know, Hanley's was an old-school bakery that made these amazingly light pastry cookies filled with raspberry...yum!) I remember a rumour a while back that the new bakery that took it's place would be carrying on the recipe... anyone know anything of it? Anyone been to the new bakery? I can't recall the name. It's on Centre Street in West Roxbury.

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  1. Hi,

    Checked out the bakery last week - it's not open yet but it looks really nice inside. Seems liek they would have to be opening very soon. For some reason the name escapes me.. it's right next to the Real Deal on Centre st.. i believe it's owned by the same people.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Redhohoho

      Yes, that's the one... not open yet? Wow, I was by there over the summer and it looked close. I had heard that since the owners were local and knew the Hanley's peeps that they would be carrying on some of their more popular recipes... hope it turns out to be true! The holidays just arent' the same without brambles, and I hate to think I'll never again eat one.

      1. re: Kbee

        The bakery is named Sugar and, yes, it's owned by the same guy that owns the Real Deal (he also owns the Brookline Spa, BTW). They are planning to carry the brambles and it's scheduled to open before the end of Nov. I was by on Friday and it looks like they could open today.

    2. Just was at Real Deal for lunch - delicious as always & couldn't resist picking up a loaf of the gorgeous bread Sugar has in the window! Also beautiful display of cookies & pastries. Good to see it was doing a great business. I don't know what they look like but apparently they do make 'brambles'

      2 Replies
      1. re: kparke30

        Hopefully the brambles are better than the worst scone of my life that I had there last week.

        1. re: Joanie

          We went to Sugar the night before Thanksgiving... we ordred 6 brambles adn 1 loaf of pecan cranberry bread... it came to $10 and change!!! I won't be going there often w/ prices like that. I thought to myself this is no Lyndell's.. The brambles were good - nothing that I would faint over though. THe bread could have used more nuts and cranberry but it was nice lightly toasted w/ some butter. But I just thought the prices were a bit mouch....

      2. stopped by yesterday afternoon after a pretty good BLT at the real deal (hot, crispy bacon!). sugar's breads (at least their baguettes) looked like they'd been resuscitated from their par-baked state. any confirmations? i was so full from my BLT that i couldn't even muster a cookie. we saw north end-style neon-colored butter cookies, lots of muffins, some cakes, etc.

        1. Finally made my way over to Sugar to check out the new bakery's brambles. I really had high hopes because they were supposed to be using the original Hanley's recipe. Sorry to say I was a little disappointed. Not that they weren't good -- they were -- but they weren't great, like their predecesor. Seems like they decided to "improve" the recipe. Not sure what they did, but they're smaller and crunchier with way more sugar. Not nearly as flaky...*sigh*

          1. I was skeptical about Sugar, but they have the BEST whoopie pies I've ever had - chocolate with cream filling, and pumpkin with cream cheese filling. Just delicious. Combine it with a loosey goosey at the real deal, and it's the best combination I can imagine.

            1 Reply
            1. re: sallyt

              Hanley's brambles seemed to have a very small seed type of filling, that was not exactly too sweet or too tart. The brambles at Sugar are almost there, the pastry seems to be on the mark, but the filling seems to be seedless and not have the same texture. Such an afficionado on brambles :) But we were spoiled by the Hanley Bakery winning Bramble !!!! Give it a go Sugar, maybe the Hanley's can part with all the secret ingrediants !!!!!

            2. I too, could not wait to try the brambles at Sugar--I was very disappointed!!! They are more expensive than Hanley's were and they're smaller and no where near as tasty. I won't be buying them again. I only wish I could re-create that recipe. I asked the girl at the counter if they were using the same recipe as Hanley's did and she told me "no"--on no uncertian terms--they are calling them brambles but are not using the same recipe from Hanley's. They are no where near as good either. Way too expensive...so sad to realize I'll never have anothe Hanley's bramble...

              1 Reply
              1. re: mymermaid

                I guess the woman that used to make the brambles now works at Bochetto's (sp?) in Rosi Sq. My sister is going ot see if she is making them at Bochetto's.. I'll keep you posted.

              2. I live in Roslindale and checked out Boschetto's last weekend---the lady from Hanley's does in fact work there but there were no cookies even remotely resembling brambles in there. I didn't want to ask about them because I didn't know if the owner--who was also working at the counter--would be offended. Does anyone out there maybe have a good recipe for brambles that they'd like to share??? I think I'll have to resort to baking my own brambles though I'm sure they'll probably never come out quite the same...

                1. Just read all these mournful posts about brambles and thought I had good news for you but, alas, I don't! I always used to buy the brambles at the Cookie Jar bakery in Wellesley until they moved to Norwood years ago. That's when I switched to Hanley's. Every now and then, though, I would go to the Cookie Jar in Norwood because those brambles were just a bit flakier--less doughy. I haven't been there in more than two years though and when I tried to get the phone number so I could post the address--I discovered there was no longer any listing. It shouldn't be that hard to come up with the recipe but it is--the dough is flakier than pie crust but it's not puff pastry either. Raspberry filling is easy but I'll be damned if I can figure out that pastry dough... I hope if anyone else can, they post it here!

                  1. My father Frank McLaughlin, used to make brambles all the time, he was a baker in the Boston area for 50 years, he worked for Hanleys back in the 50's and 60's, he passed away in 1989 unfortunately I cant find his recipe for brambles anywhere, he made the brambles that you speak about, and my older brother and sister say he invented them, whether or not that's true I don't know, but he'd bring them home all the time and continued to make them until he died. He was an old school baker who was gifted at what he did, he even worked for a bakery in Dorchester that made the pastries for the man who founded dunkin donuts. I live in N.H. now but still run into people from the Boston area who are loooking for them, they never heard of them up here. I went to the Sugar bakery on Centre street and tried theirs and they weren't even close to what my father made. when I relayed my story about my father the woman at Sugar laughed at me like I was full of baloney. If he were alive today he would be quite pleased that so many people were looking for his recipe, which I'll continue to do. My daughter is in her first year at southern New Hampshire University to become a pastry chef, I met her pastry teacher the other night and she told me she was quite good at it, I said she must take after her grandfather. He was a fine baker, an excellent Father, and human being.

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: rmac

                      Thanks for the information. Hopefully, you will find the recipe. I haven't been too impressed by Sugar.

                      1. re: rmac

                        Hi rmac
                        Chronicle just did a piece on Roslindale Sq and mentioned Brambles from a bakery there. can't imagine they are the same as Hanley's ;-(
                        maybe your daughter ,who has probably graduated by now , will come up with a recipe for us all!
                        I try at Christmas , but if they ever came out the same , I make them all year!
                        Thanks to your Dad for all the people he made happy with his brambles :-)

                        1. re: CapeNana

                          Diane's in Roslindale has them....can't speak to the quality. However, I am a big fan of their pastry.

                          1. re: CapeNana

                            The place they profiled in Roslindale also has a place in West Roxbury that took over Hanleys. It's called Sugar and they have them there as well.

                            1. re: catsmeow

                              As noted earlier in this thread (which started 6 years ago) the ones at Sugar are a pale immitation. Not nearly as good as the originals, unfortunately.

                              1. re: purple bot

                                Thais what I was hearing and so hoping the original may show up sometime, even if I figure it out with a little experimentation ... when its not so hot ;-)

                                1. re: CapeNana

                                  If you do manage to re-create the recipe, set up a little bramble stand. Let us know and we'll be there! :)

                        2. ...and here we are, facing a second (or is it a third?) holiday season with no brambles. It's such a bummer, they've were a tradition in my family forever.

                          1. I would love to find their hall moon cookie recipe