New Yorkers may have a reputation of being abrupt and to the point, but to those who really get to know us, we are actually very sweet. Perhaps it’s the abundance of irresistible bakeshops and all that sugary goodness. Though most New Yorkers like to stay fit and embrace all that’s green, every once in awhile everyone needs a day of sweet bites around Manhattan.
Making the Donuts: Move over Dunkin, the city is ripe with artisan donuts to go with your morning coffee. Forget cupcakes, donuts are the new rage in NYC, and not just glazed or sugar but jazzed up combinations of flavors. At Dough Loco the colors are as bright as the combinations such as Raspberry Sriracha, Blood Orange and Miso Maple. We like the smaller loco-fetti and nutella with banana crumble. Wash it down with a cup of Intelligentsia coffee. Is your car dirty? At the new Underwest Donuts you can have a Halva Glazed with your espresso from Brooklyn Roasting Company all while your car gets cleaned. Not as random as it might sound as former Chanterelle Chef Scott Levine’s father-in-law owns the Westside Highway Car Wash. And then there’s Doughnut Plant, Mark Israel’s labor of love, using only the highest quality ingredients made fresh every day. There’s yeast, cake and filled square donuts. We’re partial to the tres leches and crème brulee, but why not try an assortment and see what you like best. The original location on Grand is where Mark started working late at night in the basement, now there are 5 locations in the Metropolitan area. Serving Intelligentsia and Toby’s Estate coffee, two of our favorites. And be sure to bring home a jar of both the homemade Plant Peanut Butter and Blackberry Plant Jam.
Cookie Monster: Our favorite cookie in NY is at Levain Bakery. Sure the flourless chocolate chip’s at Dominque Ansel are pretty great, and Milk Bar's Compost and Cornflake Marshmallow have legions of fans for good reason, but once you try Levain’s signature chocolate chip walnut there’s no going back. For those non-nut fans the double chocolate chip is a winner as well. At 6 ounces, these cookies are big and rich--one goes a long way.
Treat: La Maison du Chocolat has the best chocolate bark—ever! Extravagant milk or dark chocolate mendiant’s filled with almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios, raisins, lemon zest and candied oranges.
Sweet and Savory: Chef Jean Georges Vongerichten says a bite of a canele at Celine’s Caneles brings him back to his childhood, and that’s enough endorsement for us. And it’s true, a perfect one bite, the miniature caneles come in different flavors from the popular caramel and vanilla to truffle or chorizo. A box of 9 or 14 makes a nice gift.
Old School: Glaser's is a third generation bakery in Yorkville, you can just feel the history, and see John at work in the back exposed kitchen. Here’s where you get black and white cookies, brownies, or a Danish pastry. Nearby newly opened, Petite Shell is the go to for delicious rugelach, and the most delicious babka, try the dark chocolate one made with nutella-wow!
Make A Wish: Milk Bar’s birthday cake with it’s unfrosted sides, vanilla frosting and rainbow cake crumble has a home made feel--simple and sweet. (We wish it came with an extra bowl of the crumble, it’s that good.) With weekly baking classes offered at the Williamsburg store you can learn how to make your own 6” b’day cake and rainbow truffles too!
Gluten Free: Erin McKenna’s BabyCakes is mostly gluten free (spelt is used in some goodies) and vegan; it’s a savior for those with food allergies. The cupcakes and cookies are really good, but it’s a slice of the banana chocolate chip that makes this LES bakery destination-worthy. It’s quaint, a throwback in the design and décor, but ever so of the moment with everything soy, egg, wheat and dairy free.
Leave The Gun, Take The Cannoli: Ferrara’s is the oldest, most famous café in Little Italy dating back to 1892. Have a coffee and a cannoli at what they claim is America’s first espresso bar.
Big Chill: If it’s cold out or you’re having a bad day and in need of a little TLC, a mug of hot chocolate is like a big hug. You may have loved your instant Nestle growing up, but City Bakery’s hot chocolate is the real deal. Don’t skip on the homemade marshmallow on the top. Feeling better?
Bucket List: One day one of our friends will get up at 7, wait on line at Dominique Ansel and bring us a morning cronut.
Going to Dinner: Invited to a dinner party and you’re in charge of bringing dessert? You can’t go wrong with a classic Greenberg's Chocolate Cake. (If there are kids involved add a box of linzer tarts to go with it.) . Probably the most oohs and ahhs have come from Lady M’s signature Mille Cake. It look simple, but looks as we know can be deceiving, with 20 paper thin layers of handmade crepes filled with pastry cream—it’s just incredible. It may look boring in it’s all whiteness, but we get repeat requests to bring the delicious banana pudding from Magnolia Bakery. One of our all time favorite desserts, you may steal the meal from your dinner host with this one.
Send Off: With easy to ship specialty packs and next day delivery throughout the U.S. the one bite mini cupcakes at Baked by Melissa are a great gift. We’ve heard people wonder how they can get so many flavors in one bite. Colorful, playful everyone loves these. Perfect for kids at school or camp, as part of a get-well, happy birthday or just a thinking of you package —anything goes.