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French-trained pastry chef crafts classics alongside Hoosier staples

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Posted at 4:49 PM, Nov 14, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-14 19:19:16-05

INDIANAPOLIS — As a French-trained pastry chef, it should come as no surprise to know Cindy Hawkins sells a lot of croissants.

“We are known for our croissants,” Hawkins said. “We do croissants for a lot of restaurants and coffee shops in town.”

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Circle City Sweets is known for its croissants.

Hawkins is the owner of Circle City Sweets located inside The AMP at 16 Tech. It’s a business she started nearly 18 years ago. But the bakery’s beginnings can be traced to Hawkins’ childhood where she grew up baking with her grandmother, mother, and sisters.

“I started off just as a scratch baker,” Hawkins said. “And eventually just started baking for friends and family, and then next thing I knew we were opening up farmers market booths.”

Circle City Sweets workers

Hawkins opened her first brick-and-mortar location inside City Market in 2010 before moving to her current location a little over three years ago.

“Our daily sales here at the AMP have just been phenomenal,” Hawkins said. “There's a great community of folks in the neighborhood coming in.”

In addition to croissants, customers can also find an assortment of French breads, danish and macarons.

“We lean a little bit more on the French side, but I'm also a good old Hoosier, so we do stuff I grew up on,” Hawkins said.

Familiar favorites like cookies, brownies, muffins, and sugar cream pie.

Rolls Circle City Sweets

Circle City Sweets also sells items you may have never heard about like canele, a pastry made with rum, beeswax and honey.

“It’s a beautiful little pastry from the Bordeaux region of France,” Hawnins said.

But crafting that beautiful little pastry was challenging for Hawkins.

“Canele is one of the things I had tried doing on my own and had a massive failure,” Hawkins said. “I went back to pastry school and took a continuing education class.”

Hawkins says the class helped her master making the persnickety pastry. It’s knowledge Hawkins often shares with others.

“We teach a lot of classes here and we've got a huge following of folks who come to our shop for classes,” Hawkins said.

Participates can learn how to make things like laminated doughs, pate a choux, and Thanksgiving pies.

Pie class at Circle City Sweets

“Our Thanksgiving pie class is a lot of fun,” Hawkins said. “It's a take-and-bake class.”

While participants typically take home finished products in most classes, the Thanksgiving pie class ensures each pie, pumpkin and apple-cranberry, is baked to perfection on Thanksgiving.

“My favorite part of Thanksgiving is getting texts from all my folks who took the pie class with their pies that they baked for Thanksgiving,” Hawkins said. “I get so excited to see everyone's Thanksgiving pies.”

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