Alligator Jaws Pastry with Cherry Buttercream Frosting

5 from 6 votes
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The Alligator Jaw Pastry is a total childhood throwback! This amazing treat is a triangle-shaped glazed pastry filled with delicious cherry buttercream frosting. Give this one a try!

3 alligator jaw pastries with marischino cherries on a white plate.

Alligator Jaw Pastry

Alligator Jaws were my #1 favorite pastry when I was growing up. Hands down. In the small town where we grew up, there was an amazing little bakery just off of Main Street called Ron & Chris Bakery. We all loved going there for donuts, cookies, and freshly made sandwiches.

Their cherry chocolate chip cookies, ribbon sandwiches, and strawberry cream cheese croissants were among our favorites, but the alligator jaw pastry was the absolute best!

What Are Alligator Jaws?

What are Alligator Jaws exactly? Allow me to enlighten you. An Alligator Jaw is a triangle-shaped glazed pastry filled with a delicious cherry buttercream frosting. They are heavenly (super-rich, but heavenly all the same). 

From looking at the photo, it’s probably clear how it got its name. I can almost imagine the jaws snapping!

A Childhood Favorite

A few years ago I went to Cedar City, my hometown, with my heart set on getting an Alligator Jaw Pastry for old-times sake. To my dismay, the bakery was no longer open. I almost cried. Ok, I may have actually cried.

The more I have looked, the more I discovered that Alligator Jaws are one of those things that everyone in Cedar City knows about, but very few people outside of Cedar have even heard of.

It is the same with Ribbon Sandwiches. Who knew Cedar City had so many tasty foods that no one else has heard of?

Creating the Alligator Jaw

That being said, there is no recipe to be found anywhere out there for Alligator Jaws. UNTIL NOW! I couldn’t go one more day without having an Alligator Jaw so I came up with my own recipe. Lucky for me, it tastes just like the original.

To all my friends in Cedar City, here is our recipe for Alligator Jaws. Trust me, they taste just like the Ron & Chris Bakery original. I know there is a grocery store in Cedar City that sells them, but these are better!

To everyone else outside of Cedar City who has never heard of an Alligator Jaw pastry before, you are in luck! You don’t have to go on any longer wondering what an Alligator Jaw is or what it tastes like. You can try it out for yourself! 

Can you tell how excited I am about this recipe? Not only do I love how delicious they are, but I also love the great memories they bring back from when I was a kid. I’m glad I can now share them with my family.

This one is for you, Abby.

More Pastry Recipes to Try:

Alligator Jaws Pastry being held in a hand.

3 alligator jaw pastries with marischino cherries on a white plate.

Alligator Jaws Pastry with Cherry Buttercream Frosting

5 from 6 votes
Alligator Jaws Pastry is an amazing triangle-shaped glazed pastry filled with delicious cherry buttercream frosting. You know this recipe is calling you!
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 6

Ingredients

For the Dough:

For the glaze:

For the Cherry Buttercream Frosting:

Instructions

For the Dough:

  • Dissolve yeast in water in a mixer. In a separate bowl, combine milk, sugar, salt, eggs, shortening and add to yeast water.
  •  Slowly add flour and mix on low until dough is smooth and elastic.
  • Cover with a clean dish towel and let it rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
  • Roll dough out on a floured surface until it is about ½ inch thick. Cut into tall triangles (about 2-3″ wide by 4″ tall)
  • Place on a cookie sheet allowing enough room to let them rise. They rise for about 30 min. 
  • Prepare glaze while rising (see below).
  • Heat vegetable oil to 375 degrees. Slowly transfer the triangles with spatula to the hot oil and fry 30 seconds each side until lightly golden brown.

Glaze:

  • Combine milk and vanilla in a medium saucepan and heat over low heat until warm. Sift confectioners’ sugar into milk mixture. Whisk slowly, until well combined. 
  • Remove the glaze from the heat. Dip fried triangles into the glaze, 1 at a time, and set on a draining rack placed in a half sheet pan until cooled.

For the Cherry Buttercream Frosting:

  • In a food processor, process the cherries with the cherry juice (about 5 pulses).
  • Place the processed cherries in a mixing bowl and combine with butter and about 1 c. powdered sugar.
  • When well combined and smooth, add remaining powdered sugar a little at a time until you reach a good frosting consistency.
  • Add more cherry juice if it gets too dry.

To Assemble:

  • Cut each triangle horizontally from the smallest point of the triangle to the back being careful not to cut it all the way through, making it look like an “alligator jaw”. 
  • Open the “jaws” and spoon a good spoonful of frosting between each half and spread evenly. Place top half back down and serve.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 1339kcalCarbohydrates: 258gProtein: 18gFat: 28gSaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 74mgSodium: 336mgPotassium: 204mgFiber: 4gSugar: 168gVitamin A: 596IUCalcium: 74mgIron: 1mg

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About the author

Erica Walker

Erica lives in Boise, Idaho with her husband, Jared, an attorney, and her beautiful three girls. Beyond the world of recipes, she loves adventuring with everything from kayaking, to cruising, to snowboarding and taking the family along for the thrill ride.

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Comments

  1. I have lived in Cedar City most of my life and these are my all time favorite sin wagon treat!! The ones at Lin’s are heavily glazed, which make them diabetes in a box(way too sweet). Ron & Chris’ are the gold standard for these heavenly pillows of goodness. Now if we could come up with the cherry chip cookies they made 🙂

  2. Omg!!!! I’m from cedar and have been craving alligator jaws!! Along with anything from Ron and Chris. I am so very thankful that you shared your amazing recipes!!
    Now if you could please open your own bakery with all the yummy stuff they had!
    Thank you again!!

    1. I agree. Lin’s used to make a Similar alligator jaw but it did not taste the same as Ron and Chris

  3. 5 stars
    In Salt Lake City, my fave was the Rose Park Bakery and their alligators were filled with a stabilized whipped cream and the top was glazed with chocolate. They’d sell the day-olds for 5 cents. Heaven!

  4. 5 stars
    I am so excited to try this out. I grew up in New Harmony so I spent most of my time in Cedar City. I was also terribly sad when I found out Ron & Chris had closed. The Alligator Jaws were the best!! After several years away, I moved back to So. Utah and now live in St. George. I found your site by searching for ribbon sandwiches since we can’t get them from Ron & Chris anymore. So happy I found your site!

    1. Yes. However, like any donut and pastry, they taste better fresh. I would for sure serve it within a day of making it. Thanks for asking!

  5. Yum!!!
    I grew up in Grand Forks ND and ate lunch, sometimes, at Piggy Wiggly. As you did, I did also, I went back years later to see if I could get the recipe for Alligators. The baker had long since retired and the recipe was nowhere in sight. Now I have your recipe!! The one thing that doesn’t match up is that I recall a creamy filling. Any ideas?
    Thanks Sheila

    1. I remember them with the vanilla cream in the middle from Grand Forks , N.D also. But I believe we got ours from Whitney’s bakery 35 + years ago. They were amazing and always delicious.

  6. Thank you for this! I too remember my favorite alligator jaws from Ron & Chris Bakery in Cedar from when I grew up in Parowan. Had no idea that it was a Cedar City special or that the bakery had closed. I suddenly got a hankering for that frosting & found this page when I searched for it.

  7. I can’t wait to try this recipe! We had bakery here in the town where I grew up that made them! My all time favorite! The bakery has long since closed. But I went to scool with the son of the owners, he also worked at the bakery, but I can’t get him to give up the recipe! So I’ve been looking for years! Only difference is theirs had a really light butthercream with raspberry jam on the top of the filling & they were dusted with powdered sugar! So I’m going to try and adapt it to my memory! Thank you!

  8. I just wanted to say that it has been fun to see this recipe and the finger sandwich recipe. When you were talking about them, I thought, “i know that sandwich (and alligator jaw)”. I went to college in Cedar City, my friend who grew up there worked at Ron and Chris’ bakery. They needed extra help so I worked there for a while also-I helped make some of those sandwiches for a summer.. It was fun to hear you talk of these recipes and your memories of Ron and Chris’ Bakery.

    1. That is so cool that you worked there for a while! Our sister-in-law worked there too. Small world! We loved Ron and Chris’ and are so sad it’s not there anymore. Hopefully these recipes can keep those fun memories alive!

  9. I’m a native of Cedar City now living in Arizona. I may have missed this, but what size pan did you use for frying and approximately how much oil do you use?

    Thank you so much for perfecting the recipe and for sharing it. 😍

    1. Hi Jeanene– fellow Cedarian 😉 We actually have a deep fryer that works best for this. We have about a quart of oil in it. You can use a large skillet and 2-3 cups of oil (just enough so the dough will float in the oil… does that make sense?)

  10. I worked at Ron and Chris bakery for a year while attending SUU. I talk to my kids all the time about the alligator Jaws and raisin filled cookies. I have to say I’ve tried to find this recipe for years and just could NOT find one that sounded anywhere close to how we made the ones at Rons. I’m happy to report that this is exactly what I remember. Except I do believe we added a splash of almond flavoring to the doughnut glaze. I’ll have to make this and let you know. I’m so excited I found this. And I can hardly believe it’s from someone that had actually experienced the goodness of Ron and Chris Bakery ❤️

    1. Thank you so much for this comment! I am so excited for you to try this recipe! Thanks for the heads-up about the splash of almond, we will have to try that next time. That totally makes sense! We loved Ron and Chris Bakery and we all have so many fond memories of it. Such a great place! What years did you work there?

      1. I was there summer of 1993-summer of 1994, when I moved home and got married. Absolutely loved working there and adored both Ron and Chris ❤️

  11. Erika my son is a current resident of Cedar City and I want him to try the alligator jaws. Can you tell me where to tell him to go to buy some? I will be trying your recipe. They sound delicious!

  12. Dicks grocery store in Bountiful also makes them. They are not as good as Ron & Chris’s but they are close. Dicks also makes a version that has a custard filling mixed with a butter cream frosting. They were really good.