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These Pineapple and Pearls buns will spoil you forever on airport cinnamon rolls

Cinnamon, Mexican hot chocolate and pineapple buns from Pineapple and Pearls. (Becky Krystal/The Washington Post)

This is the first in a recurring series in which we'll spotlight a sweet treat for when you're in need of an afternoon sugar hit. Have a favorite you think we should check out? Share in the comments below.

What: Sweet buns in three flavors: Mexican hot chocolate, pineapple and cinnamon

Where: Pineapple and Pearls, 715 Eighth St. SE.

Price: $3 per bun

Sugar-meter score: 5, on a scale of 1 ("You call this dessert?!") to 10 ("I think I just burned a hole in my tooth enamel")

These tender, modestly sized buns will forever spoil you for a certain airport and shopping mall chain that begins with "C" and ends in "innabon." Developed by sous chef Bin Lu, all three start with a laminated brioche (a.k.a. buttery) dough. Perhaps destined to be the signature item at Pineapple and Pearls, the pineapple bun features a spiral of cardamom-laced pineapple butter, a textbook balance of sweet, tart and spice. We also liked the crunch of Swedish pearl sugar on top. Likewise, the Mexican hot chocolate bun benefits from a crunchy garnish -- cacao nibs -- and the gentle fire provided by cayenne mixed in with cocoa powder. If these two sound a little too esoteric for you, we couldn't find much fault with the classic cinnamon bun, which was, for the record, the sweetest of the offerings. Lu said Pineapple and Pearls churns out anywhere from 80 to several hundred buns a day. Chances are, they will be the first thing you smell when you walk in. "We bake constantly throughout the day," Lu said.

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