It's hard to walk down the street in New York without passing a bakery. We've narrowed down our favorite spots so you know where to go when you're craving a pastry, cookie, brownie, or cake. By Carly Petrone.
If you've ever walked by Levain Bakery headquarters in the Upper West Side you've probably seen the line that stretches down the block. There's a reason for it: their cookies. With only four kinds to choose from, each cookie is rich, massive, and perfectly crunchy on the outside while still a little doughy on the inside. Choose from Chocolate Chip Walnut, Dark Chocolate Chocolate Chip, Oatmeal Raisin, or Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip. Don't overlook their other pastries and fresh breads like their soft and chewy Country Rolls, their heavenly Chocolate Chip or Cinnamon Brioche, or fresh Bomboloncini. Pretty much everything is amazing at this tiny bakery. With locations in Harlem and The Hamptons (and online) there's no way you can walk by without trying something. You can even walk out with your own Levain Bakery apparel.
When you're craving a fresh loaf of bread turn to Amy – Amy's Bread that is. They use only the best ingredients like organic whole grains and seeds, imported Greek and French olives, premium California walnuts and Texas pecans, fresh local herbs, and unbleached and unbromated flours. They make over 20 different types of dough every day. Try popular items like the Black Olive Twists, French Baguettes, and Organic Miche. You can always freeze your bread once you get home. Just make sure to wrap it in plastic and then foil. Check website for other locations.
There's a reason why Make My Cake made an appearance on the season finale of 30 Rock a few years back: it's red velvet cake and cupcakes are to die for. Too bad it's a secret family recipe (or maybe that's a good thing). The cake is fluffy, sweet, and never dry while the buttercream frosting is so tasty you might feel the urge to ask for a side of it to go. This Harlem hot spot also makes an incredible Sweet Potato Pie, a variety of cheesecakes, and all kinds of cookies ranging from butterscotch to coconut pecan. Come see what makes this place so sweet.
If you're in Brooklyn make sure to stop into Baked in Red Hook. Known best for their scrumptious brownies (even Oprah recommends them) that are one part "cakey" and one part "fudgy." Or try their Brookster – a perfect combination of a deep dark brownie (formed into a tart-like shell) and one part chocolate chunk cookie (the filling for the brownie shell). Everything is handmade on site with the freshest ingredients like their homemade marshmallows (vanilla, chocolate, seasonal flavors), Whoopie Pies (dark chocolate cookie sandwich with a vanilla buttercream filling), and Campfire Cookies (chocolate chunk with graham and bits of homemade marshmallow). You can even start out your day with some of their fresh granola – choose from House Blend, Forest Blend, Mountain Blend or their vegan Valley Blend – or a traditional croissant, quiche, or southern style biscuits. Is there any meal you can't eat here? Probably not. Can't make it to Brooklyn. Check out their Tribeca location.
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The best bakery to satisfy a cannoli craving is at Pasticceria Rocco in the West Village. This Italian pastry shop has been serving up their world famous cannoli since 1974. Each shell is stuffed with their special ricotta filling only after ordering, assuring you the freshest and most flavorful bite each time. Choose from the regular - topped with roasted pistachio nuts or chocolate chips, chocolate – regular shell hand dipped in chocolate, or the Black & White – shell hand dipped in white and milk chocolate. You can also purchase the Rocco's Cannoli Kit (or just the filling) online. Don't forget about their other Italian delicacies like their Tiramisu Cup, Pasticiotti Custard, or various types of Biscotti. And once it finally gets warmer make sure to try Rocco's World Famous Italian Ices available in fruity, chocolaty, and nutty flavors.
This is the bakery that started the Cronut. Pasty Chef Dominique Ansel came up with the croissant-doughnut hybrid back in 2013 and his life hasn't been the same since. Now he's experimenting with different flavors like next month's Strawberry Rhubarb and Thyme Ganache (with citrus sugar). But there's more sweet and savory items to choose from like the DKA (Dominique's Kouign Amann) – tender, flaky, croissant-like dough with a caramelized crunchy crust, Mini-Me – lightly-sweetened miniature meringues, each with their own flavor, and the Paris-NY – a twist on the Paris-Brest with a choux dough and a chocolate, caramel, and peanut butter filling. Wow. Where does one begin?
Two Little Red Hens is serving up classic and specialty cakes with Swiss buttercream fillings and frostings. Get your own custom order (allow three days for processing). Choose from simple flavors like yellow, chocolate, red velvet, marble, lemon, carrot, or banana cake and pair them with everything from hazelnut praline filling and chocolate fudge icing to strawberry jam and cream cheese frosting. Or choose one of their "Chilled 'n' Filled" cakes like their Coconut Cream, Boston Cream, or seasonal cakes like Eggnog Bavarian Cream or Key Lime cake. Their spring pie menu ($32/each) also sounds tasty with flavors like Ginger Plum Cherry, Apple Crumb, and Pecan/Chocolate Pecan.
More: NYC's 9 Best Croissants
Almondine bakery is the place you go to when you're in the mood for a good French pastry. Nibble on madeleines and chocolate croissants or classic patisserie like eclairs, chocolate mousse, and fraisers (almond layer biscuits with fresh strawberries and mousseline crème). If you're looking for something a little more special order something from their Fancy Patisserie menu. May we suggest the Almondine – flourless cake, crunchy wafer, chocolate mousse, praline crème, and chocolate dacquoise – or the Chocolate Trio – dark, milk, and white chocolate mousse with a chocolate sponge cake. Grab a fresh French or Almondine Baguette or Pretzel bread for your home (or, let's face it, for your walk home). It's worth taking a trip to DUMBO if you're not lucky enough to live nearby.
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