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Jan 6, 2008 09:03 PM

My new passion: Pork pralines at Keefer Court

If the idea of candied bacon appeals to you (as per the "Bacon Brittle" thread in Home Cooking), but you're too ashamed to actually make the stuff, here's a hot tip.

Get thee to Keefer Court for the pork, peanut, and sugar nuggets that they've got on the top of the bakery display case. I don't know what they're called, but they're amazing. They taste like bacon praline candy - salty, sweet, crunchy, and full of smoky, fatty pork flavor. Wow.

Luckily, they're a temporary seasonal item, so I won't have to resist them for much longer.


Keefer Court Bakery & Cafe
326 Cedar Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55454

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  1. Those sound really good. My new passion is the Thai-style bacon at Amazing Thailand. Big hunks of sweet cured pork belly with a crispy/fatty texture. I'll be sure to check out the Pork Pralines.

    1. If I were the New Year's Resolution making type, these two posts would effectively destroy them.

      My demise, a little bit east on the map, is the chicharron nuggets at El Burrito Mercado. Nothing like, hot, dripping, crunchy/chewy deep fried pork fat to warm you on a January day. Unfortunately (or fortunately) now that I'm over in Golden Valley, I don't partake nearly as often. You have to provide your own "sweet" though.

      2 Replies
      1. re: MSPD

        Just stop off at a Whole Foods (I know that the Minneapolis location has them) and pick up a Vosges bacon chocolate bar:

        I rarely eat meat these days, but have been tempted to pick one of these up to try it.

        1. re: bob s

          I picked one up at Whole Foods in St. Paul and, I have to say, I wanted it to be more bacon-y. The bacon seemed to provide more texture than it did taste. Here's a discussion on General Topics board about Vosges: Still, it was fun to try.

          Here's a link to that wonderful bacon brittle thread Anne mentioned:


      2. Alright Anne. What's the deal here? Is this some kind of Canadian April Fool's Day joke or something?

        I go hours (OK minutes) out of my way to get over to Keefer Court to buy some of these God-sent munchies for the drive home and what do I get??? A big, white sack full of "what are you talking about?"

        They had no idea what I was looking for. And I was drooling too much from your post to talk right...although they were familiar with Chowhound (Hi Keefer Court people! Thanks for the alternate munchies.)

        What gives?!?

        15 Replies
        1. re: MSPD

          I have to go with MSPD here...big fat goose egg on the recommendation. Sent College Son over to look for them - oops, zilch. Is this really so seasonal that we can't find it? Say it ain'tt so, Anne!


          1. re: MSPD

            Oh, MSPD, I'm so sorry! There were only a few containers of these treats on the counter on Sunday night, so perhaps they sold out in the morning. Or perhaps I greatly misremembered the list of ingredients.

            Detailed description: There were three or four dozen nuggets in a pint-sized plastic "clam shell" container - I've attached a poor-quality picture of the delights in question. I'm also going to post a question the general board asking for the Chinese (Cantonese) name, so we know what to ask for.


            P.S. An important note for anyone who does try these things - they're really, really rich. After two days, I have learned that I should limit my consumption to three nuggets a day. I ate five or six this morning, and I'm still regretting it! So perhaps it's better that you didn't find any.

            1. re: AnneInMpls

              When I read the original post, I was reminded of a recipe I saw in the New York Times last month for spiced nuts with sugared bacon. For those who can't find them or who may want to make their own, the recipe can be found in this post on the home cooking board:
              You should post comments on the recipe there.

              1. re: AnneInMpls

                Here's another picture, showing the inside of a nugget. It's out of focus, but it shows a large area of white, which I believe is pork fat. My arteries hurt just looking at it.


                1. re: AnneInMpls

                  Anne, you do know you're killing us here... :-P ?

                  Can we call Keefer Court on this? They've always been nice on other pick-ups.

                  Thanks for the drooling, though!

                2. re: AnneInMpls

                  Hmmm...when I first walked in, I saw containers that looked like that (both container and contents). So I asked the gentleman what they were and he described something completely different. I tried to ask about the bacon/pork things and the conversation got lost in translation. When the young girl came out (the one who said she has been on here), she kind of took over helping me but was still mystified. I realize that I never asked her for a description of the things sitting there on the counter that look like your photo -- maybe she would have had a different story.

                  It sounds like I need to go back over and just buy the container. Or maybe just print this all out with your photos and see what they say. I never figured it would be this difficult.

                  1. re: MSPD

                    Sorry sorry sorry! I should have posted those pictures right away, but I was too lazy (I was upstairs and my camera was downstairs). And my description should have been much better. For one, there's no actual bacon in them - just "pork" (aka pork fat). And, for all I know, there's no sugar as a separate ingredient, but they taste sweet to me. Besides, y'all might hate these things - they're very weird in their deliciousness.

                    I would feel worse about your wasted trip, but I know you got something yummy when you were there.


                    P.S. I headed back to Keefer Court last night to ask what these nuggets were (and to eat another great dinner), but they're closed on Tuesdays. Luckily, Pagoda is just across the river, though their selection of Keefer Court pastries was quite low (and was blatently day-old). I had noodle soup instead.

                    1. re: AnneInMpls

                      Anne, don't be too sorry - some of us are revved about this delectable treat we otherwise may not have found, and so thank you for the tip. And, pork fat can give a real "sweet" taste, so your description must not be too far off. I have to say that I am happier knowing it may be straight pork fat rather than bacon. The "smoke" gets in the way of the flavor at times with bacon (yep, still love bacon...).

                      Will keep searching - and may call KC to see what they have to say about availability. I'm off to KC for pork buns this weekend anyway.

                      STILL drooling, :-)


                      1. re: cayjohan

                        You know, for a second there I thought you meant that you were going to Kansas City for pork buns and I said to myself--- “Now THAT’S a real ChowHound! ! !”

                        Uncle Ira

                        1. re: Uncle Ira

                          HehHeh, Unc, don't I wish...mmmm. Pork. In a bun. - Cay

                      2. re: AnneInMpls

                        Keefer had the aforementioned super-delicious bites available this weekend, as well as some other special steamed taro cake and rice cake for the New Year. Apparently these little morsels don't have meat of any kind in them (although I did not specifically ask about pork fat, having just re-read the post), and are flavored with sweet bean paste and sesame. Somehow they really do have a bacon flavor to them, a really unique sweet, salty, savory combination. The younger daughter said there is no English name for them because the direct translation includes the Mandarin word for chicken, and there is no chicken in there. She said her father told her to just call them "Tasty Crackers". So ask for Tasty Crackers (at least at Keefer) and we should all be on the same page.

                        1. re: jbanana

                          Thanks, jbanana, for researching the name and ingredients!

                          I was there again tonight, and also asked for details about these tasty little things. The father said that the name was "gai lai something", which translates to "little chicken buns(?)" - name based on appearance rather than contents. (Sorry about the vagueness - I should have taken notes, because the cold weather made me forget most of the details before I got home.)

                          I got the same list of ingredients, but when I asked about meat, he said "well, yes, there is a little pork fat in them." I think there's more than a little, and that's why they're so good. And they're very rich - a few go a long way. But he recommended eating them with beer - you can eat more that way.

                          And the good news - he said that they'll be available "most of the time", rather than just on special occasions. So look for the clear plastic "clam-shell" boxes, each containing 30-40 brown nuggets, on the top of the counter. And if you eat too many, don't say I didn't warn you!


                          1. re: AnneInMpls

                            Cripes, Anne, you're killing me! :-) I was just at KC today getting a selection of buns for College Boy!

                            So - Gai lai "*" is what we want?

                            BTW Keefer court seems to be gearing up for more food service, from what I saw today when I was buying an obscene number of BBQ/Curry/Ham-and-Egg/Custard buns. Waiting lines that I have not seen in the past..

                            As I have said on the Midwest Board before:
                            Yay, Keefer Court!

                            1. re: cayjohan

                              I think jbanana's "Tasty Crackers" is a better -and safer - term than my faulty memory's "gai lai *". Or you could ask for the little chicken thingies. :-) Better yet, take a look at the picture above, and point. They'll be on top of the counter, if they're available.

                              And I, too, think the food business at Keefer Court is picking up! Three of the four tables were full when we were there. (There are actually about 6 tables, but several were pushed together tonight.) And our food was lovely - especially the Shrimp and Scallops in XO Sauce.

                              Indeed - yay, Keefer Court!


                              1. re: AnneInMpls

                                YAY! I went across the street to get a ham 'n egg bun today (my usual Keefer Court cheap lunch), and instead, they had these little meaty cookie treat things! I feel so lucky to have scored them. They are a wonderful and weird combination of flavors and textures. Is it a cookie? Is it a piece of meat? Why does it stick to my teeth like taffy? Do I taste barbecue? Those are all pleasant questions. Let's all keep going here. These people clearly deserve our business.

                3. If I am guessing right (usually what I am familiar with is cookie size, not bite size), then I think it is "雞仔餅", literally translated to "little chicken cookie" even though it has no chicken in it. I tried to google a better english translation, and I found "phoenix cookie" instead, i supposed it sounds better than chicken cookie as you can see in the ingredients, it does have lard in it.

                  I read some other pages about it in chinese, and i found this recipe - it's in chinese, but it does have pictures so you can get some ideas: one of the ingredients listed is "southern milk" for a literal translation (but doesn't really make sense in chinese...) which I found on chinese wikipedia that it is fermented tofu soaked in brie for 30 hours, then some red rice or something is added, then sealed and let it fermented for another 60 days (for those of you who can read chinese: so this probably add to the savory taste as well.

                  i never really thought it tasted like bacon though, but probably because i knew it didn't have meat in it (if you exclude lard... which is really thought of as an 'oil'), plus growing up in hong kong, we didn't eat bacon much, so i guess that's why i had no such association :)

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Ummm

                    Thanks, Ummm, for helping with this mystery treat! The name sounds right, but the phoenix cookies look like something completely different. For example, I don't think there's melon seeds or sesame seeds in these, unless they're very finely ground.

                    The mystery continues to haunt me. I have more pictures in another post, though they're poor-quality cell-phone pics.


                    The first picture shows the size - that's a quarter next to the nugget. The cross-section picture shows a white-ish interior that looks (and tastes - to me, at least) like a little chunk 'o pork fat. It's firmer than room-temperature lard; not sweet or crunchy like melon, and it's not as creamy-white as tofu. Of course, I don't know my Chinese ingredients very well, so I could be way, way off.

                    And, who knows; perhaps the "bacon" flavor that I perceive is a result of them absorbing the flavor of nearby roast pork? (Keefer Court makes lovely roast pork - I had some for dinner just the other day...)


                    1. re: AnneInMpls

                      i guess if i'm ever there (usually too lazy to go to MSP from rochester...) i can try it and if they speak cantonese i can find out if it's really what it is :) just that when you mentioned they said chicken ("gai") in the name, but has no chicken in it, that was my first thought, and that it does taste a bit sweet and a bit savory.