2013 Year in Review of NYC’s Dessert Offerings (2 of 2)

The conclusion to my review of baked deliciousness in the NYC, tri-state area. You're welcome.

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2013 Year in Review of NYC’s Dessert Offerings (1 of 2)

My annual review of desserts in NYC (and other)! Because you have to get this kind of information from a name you can trust.

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2012 Year in Review of NYC's Baked Good Offerings

My annual review of baked goods I've had in NYC (and sometimes elsewhere) throughout the year. Sit back and relax, this is comprehensive. Oh, and you're welcome. :-)

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2010 Year in Review of NYC’s baked good offerings.

Another year has passed and with that comes the NYC dessert round up! This year was an especially busy year with lots of tasty treats to try and a root canal to cap off the year. Could it be from all the sweets? Nah.

Doughnut Plant

I became addicted (and I mean New Jack City type addicted) to the freshly made doughnuts here. And not only was I addicted, I managed to get other people into it also. The thing about Doughnut Plant is that they have both yeast and cake doughnuts. So if you like Krispy Kreme style get a yeast doughnut, if you like Dunkin Donuts then the cake is for you. Not only do they have staples--my favorite by far is the tres leches doughnut--but they also have seasonal doughnuts. This past summer they had a sunflower doughnut in both yeast and cake form. Also available was strawberry. Currently they have a Panettone doughnut as well as a Meyer lemon one.

As much as I love the yeast doughnuts for their fluffiness and delicacy, the cake ones are phenomenal. The carrot cake doughnut was the perfect texture and had all the wonderful elements of a carrot cake complete with nuts, raisins (not so great), and a cream cheese icing filling! Yes, they got filling in the doughnut and the doughnut is round with a hole in the middle. How do they do it?  I don't ask, I just gorge.

Baked by Melissa

BBM's specialty is mini (and I mean mini) cupcakes. These things are decadent and flavorful and have nice fillings and icings. How do they get fillings in something so tiny? Again, I don't ask, I just mangia.

The cake is moist and I like the variety of flavors that BBM offers. I've tried all their staples. But my favorites are the cookie dough with a cookie or blondie-ish brown sugar cake with cookie dough in the middle and chocolate icing and a dab of cookie dough on top, and the peanut butter cup which, as you guessed it, is a chocolate cake with peanut butter filling some chocolate icing and a dab of peanut butter on top.

Something new BBM initiated was the ability to create your own cupcake for online orders and a cupcake of the month. I tried their pumpkin cupcake (of course) and while I liked the cake it was too light and the cinnamon filling too dense making a mess of a tasty cupcake. Otherwise, I have no complaints about BBM. If you follow them on Facebook you can learn of new deals and participate in their annual golden ticket competition during the 31 days of December.

Billy's Bakery

My boss introduced me to Billy's Bakery when she went to get some items for a friend. I didn't realize there was a bakery that close to our office and had to see for myself.

Their cupcakes are tasty and moist and not too sugary. One cupcake I had, a plain vanilla with vanilla cream frosting, was a sore disappointment though. It was kind of dry and tasteless. But other cupcakes I've had--banana, pumpkin, carrot cake--did not disappoint. I also like their cookies at the cheap price of seventy-five cents, which may have gone up slightly. Their chocolate cake with chocolate icing is also a staple in our office for birthdays so I become very excited when I see a large chocolate cake and an empty box with Billy's teal label on it.

Babycakes

Babycakes isn't that far from Doughnut Plant so why not hit this place up? Babycakes is known for being a vegan-friendly bakery. And since I know more vegans or vegetarians who are lactose intolerant I figured I should see what the hype is about. Especially since this place has been featured in many NYC mags (TimeOut New York, NYTimes, etc.).

Well, I was slightly surprised and disappointed. I had the lemon spelt cupcake and the carrot cake cupcake. The lemon spelt was delicious and moist and lemony and sweet. I adored it. The texture didn't differ too much from your run-of-the-mill cupcake with eggs and butter and such so I was a happy camper. On the other end of the spectrum I detested the carrot cake cupcake. It had a strong clove or molasses taste that caused me to be unable to finish it. I loathe molasses with the very beings of my soul and was not keen on this taste.

I'd definitely go back and try more of their offerings, especially in regards to muffins and cookies to get a better sense of the variety they attain when making baked goods and to learn a few tricks of my own.

Amy's Bread

Amy's Bread is a hot spot for lunch time crowds. If you go during the lunch time rush (between 12-1:30) then expect a long line and to be rushed for an order. Know what you want and keep the line moving. I didn't partake in their sandwiches or soups, I spotted bars and cupcakes and was on a mission. I tried their lemon bar and coconut dream bar. The coconut dream bar was in fact a dream. It had chocolate and coconuts and brown sugar and bits of heaven as far as I'm concerned. I loved this bar and it was a large portion for the price.

Unfortunately, I was not as fond of the lemon bar. It was too tart for my taste and the crust was soggy. Too much lemon not enough bar to balance out the taste. But, for lemon bar standards I guess it suited most.

One Girl Cookies

I heard about One Girl Cookies from The New York Times. It was featured because of the rise in variety of whoopie pies. And don't you know once I read that they do a pumpkin whoopie pie year-round I was sold!

It was a quick trip to Brooklyn from my office and back and it was worth it. Their whoopie pie is moist and delicious and more pie than whoopie or whichever is which in the title. I'm not a huge icing fan so the fact that this had a thick moist and cakey cookie on either end and less icing was a big bonus for me. I loved it and found eating two within a 20 minute period was a bit much. These things are pretty big. A few friends have told me they had bad experiences at One Girl Cookies with a stale cookie, but I say try this place again. You won't be disappointed and make sure they give you the fresh made stuff in the back. No display cookies, new cookies.

Insomnia Cookies

Their claim to fame is that they deliver cookies late night to college campuses. So if you're an NYU student I really envy you right now. Cookies & late night, man that's a great idea.

I went there during their "happy hour" which is after the lunch time rush around 2pm to 6pm or so when you can get 3 cookies for $2.50. Since this was the case when I went I took advantage. I had a sugar cookie, peanut butter cookie, and white chocolate macadamia nut cookie. All were delicious and they serve them to you out of an oven or heater of sorts so you get cookies warm. Warm, I tell you!

I also got a brownie which was okay, it was more cakey than dense and pretty chocolatey. Since they're named for cookies I definitely say try that and get a bunch because eating a warm cookie is the best feeling in the world. Don't argue with me on this one, just don't.

Clinton Street Baking Company

While breakfast for dinner is nothing new the blueberry pancakes and scones and pretty much everything I've tried (chicken and waffles, biscuits, scrambled eggs, cheese grits) from Clinton Street have been amazing! Of course there's no beating the blueberry pancakes.

Some friends and I went one evening and shared a batch of the pancakes while also partaking in the special that Wednesday of chicken and waffles. I had just come from Book Expo with an aching back and don't you know the food from Clinton Street cheered me right up!

The pancakes are wonderfully fluffy with a unique taste from the method of how they're whipped to perfection. The blueberry compote and maple butter (more a syrupy texture than solid) combined make this the best pancake I have ever tasted. And I love me some IHOP but Clinton Street (muah!)

When dining in the evening they give away the day's scones that didn't sell in paper bags. So you get a treat to take home! I've tried the chocolate chip and berry scones which are wonderfully crisp on the outside and moist (not too moist) on the inside. Just as a scone should be. The buttermilk biscuit (your pre-dining treat) is a wonderful homemade biscuit that reminds me of the ones my aunt made when I was younger. It has the same consistency of the scone, which is perfect!

The service at Clinton Street is great and unfortunately when the sun is up this place is always packed. So I'd encourage you to go in the evening when it may be easier to get a table and plus, remember, free scones!

Dessert Club Chikalicious

After Ramen&Friends posted about Dessert Club having bread pudding I had to try it! I bought a friend a salted caramel cupcake which she said was very tasty.

Their customer service leaves something to be desired at the smaller location (they have a dessert bar directly across the street from them in the E. Village) but I liked the bread pudding okay. It wasn't sweet and reminded me of milk and the texture was on point but a bit more liquidy than solid.

For Anna's macaron crawl we stopped by there for macarons! I loved the salted caramel one it tasted exactly like it's name, so consider me sufficiently satisfied. I'll definitely stop by there to try those cupcakes though.

Bubby's

I have the Bubby's cookbook and was introduced to this place at Book Expo of America a few years back when they toyed with having a cookbook station that also provided samples from the recipe.

Well, I was in heavy pie mode this past summer and fall and just wanted pie. I had tried bites of two of Four and Twenty's molasses pie (hated) and lemon pie (didn't like either) so they aren't worth noting for 2010. I knew Bubby's was near my office and figured why not see what they have to offer.

Well, I was pleasantly surprised at their peach crumble pie. I love fresh peaches and summer is the best time for them. The pie wasn't overly sweet but a crumble (crumb) topping is one of the best. I love dutch apple pies and so on and so forth so I was pleased with the delicate sweetness of fresh peaches in their own syrup and a lovely crust with a nice brown sugar crumble.

Red Hen Baking Company

Okay, so this place isn't in New York City but it is worth mentioning. Believe me. If you saw my August post on the grandiose maple bun then you know I hold a special place in my heart for Red Hen Baking Co. as I do for Vermont in general.

My post from August 2010 pretty much sums up my undying love for the maple bun. But there were other really good and healthy treats at Red Hen as well. I had a wonderful turkey sandwich with avocado mayo on wheat grain bread and an apple to boot! They have maple beer and carbonated drinks and fresh maple...everything! I would urge anyone going to or passing through Vermont to stop through Middlesex and visit this wonderful place of wonder and tastiness.

Just keep in mind if you want a maple bun to get there early.

Little Pie Company

In September BravoTV's new show Top Chef Just Desserts premiered and as part of the promotion they sponsored a Dessert Day throughout the U.S. For a New Yorker this was particularly pleasing because there are a vast amount of bakeries, in particularly in Manhattan.

The catch was that the bakeries were giving out samples for two hours (from 12pm-2pm). So, some co-workers and I made a trip around Tribeca. Little Pie Company was the last place we hit and I was introduced to their sour cream apple pie with walnut topping. Like the crumble topping at Bubby's it was amazing! Brown sugar type praline topping. Very delicious. And the sour cream adds to the apple filling.

When next I visited this place I tasted their sour cream apple coffee cake. Just as delicious! Except instead of pie crust you have buttery cake! Go to this place, run! They also offer to heat the goodies for you so you can have a nice warm piece of pie with your coffee, tea, or what-have-you.

Whole Foods

My husband was the one to introduce me to Whole Foods about five or six years ago. At the time the main one was in Columbus Circle and now there are probably at least a half dozen or more locations in NYC alone.

Whole Foods is a bit pricey but not the most expensive supermarket you'll find, trust me. You get great produce and nice healthy and vegan/vegetarian/gluten-free friendly goods and they have quite the culinary stations. I like their dinners and my husband salivates over their mac n' cheese. But something else to love beyond the salad bar and soups and such is their dessert bar. Yes, dessert bar.

I've always been a fan of their bread pudding, simple, moist and topped with caramel! Can't beat it. But in 2010 I was introduced to their pumpkin whoopie pie which did not disappoint. It's large and only $1.49! I never really care for the icing inside the whoopie pie, but the 'pie' aspect albeit the cookie was moist like a cake and I find I love most pumpkin treats that are more cakey than dense or bar-like. When I last went to Whole Foods they still had the pumpkin whoopie pie so I urge you to snatch one up before spring.

Melt Bakery

All hail deep-fried pie! Chef Julian Plyter has created a wonderful, wonderful thing. At the Grub Street Fair I was caught by the words 'deep fried pie' as my buddy LPink and I were making our way out of the festival.

They offered deep fried apple pie with cinnamon sugar and deep fried pumpkin pie with ginger sugar. Also available were their ice cream cookie sandwiches that have been featured in Time Out NY and such.

Melt doesn't have a storefront or much of an online presence at the moment but I loved what I tasted. I bought my husband the deep fried apple and enjoyed the deep fried pumpkin for myself. The pumpkin was made with wheat flour and had a nice crumbly and not too sweet crust. With the sugar sprinkled all over it you couldn't have too much. The pie was like an empanada with the filling inside, a triangle of dough! I loved it, the ginger sugar wasn't ginger heavy and I got to taste every element of this wonderful dessert. Mr. Plyter please get a store soon and try to come to Queens while you're at it. Thanks, Jenn!

Hot Blondies

From my post on the Grub Street Food Fair I was introduced to Hot Blondies. They don't have a store front in NYC either, but they are very well established online so order away!

My friend LPink and I shared a peanut butter chocolate chip blondie which blew my mind! The more peanut butter the better, I say! Bring it, Hot Blondies! But the blondie was moist with the chewy texture known to blondies/brownies and had the right amount of mini chocolate chips (bittersweet, I believe) and was a decent size to split between two people.

A couple days later I indulged in the classic blondie which was good, not overly sugary pretty plain in taste. When I make blondies the brown sugar taste usually jumps at you not too much but enough that you know you're eating a blondie. While the confection was good I'd say I enjoyed the peanut butter one more.

Hot Blondies also inspired me for my latest b-day theme 'Blondies vs. Brunettes (aka Brownies)' so I look forward to trying more of their treats online and also posting about my latest b-day challenge.

Wafels and Dinges

And Grub Street pops up again! I could not sing Wafles and Dinges praises enough. The owner is amazingly friendly and his offerings are tasty as heck.

A fresh belgian wafle with spekuloos and strawberries and what not. What more can I say that I didn't already say in October? Nothing? Well, there you go.

Make My Cake

Well, the holidays came and went and for Thanksgiving my mom purchased a boat load of sweets! She bought two pies (sweet potato and apple) and a red and white cake (red velvet one layer and butter cake for another) from Make My Cake.

This is a go-to spot for my mom and she often gets the pies and such from their. How the pies and cake handled a 15+ hour drive to South Carolina I will never know, but it did and they tasted good. The cake doesn't stay as well as you'd like so make sure to seal it up tight or eat it immediately. The red velvet isn't that heavy, it tastes like an overall butter cake. If you like red velvet I suggest continuing your search. For me, Grandma's red velvet was always the best!

As for pies I preferred the sweet potato. Apple pies I like with a crumb topping (as you may already know) so a basic dough top was 'eh.' It wasn't bad, just not as tasty a crust (not flaky or buttery) as I would've liked. But it definitely sufficed for the holidays.

We Take The Cake

Before Oprah, there was Food Network. Well not really, but before I knew Oprah claimed the key lime bundt from We Take The Cake as one of her favorite things I saw this place on Food Network's Road Tasted with the Deen Brothers.

I don't really order food online for the main fact that I am impatient and like my goods now. Plus, I wonder how fresh one can really keep baked goods as it travels all over the U.S. (I had ordered breads from Breadwinner after seeing a 'Papa Don't Peach' bread and others also featured on Road Tasted and was delighted by that though.)

So, I took a chance and in May I ordered the famous key lime bundt from We Take The Cake in Florida and waited a whole 3 days. (They automatically do 2-day shipping to make sure you get the cake at supreme freshness, plus I ordered on  a Sunday.) Wow, one of the longest waits of my life!

When I received my package it was labeled as precious cargo. I opened it to see a bundt cake vacuum sealed with a nice cup of icing tucked in the middle for me to nuke and slather on. As soon as I got home I tore that thing open and by God I was in heaven! The cake was as moist as if it just came out of the oven. I took chunk after chunk barely leaving any for my husband and others. The cake didn't need the icing, but it was a nice touch. And readers, that bundt--which wasn't extremely large, but fairly sized for a party of four I'd estimate--was gone within 2 days.

I don't dare order another one because I know I wouldn't be able to resist devouring the whole thing. And the fact that you pay to have it shipped means you worship it even more. It's not as though I can simply take the subway and head over to this magical place that makes amazing key lime bundts. Oh no, I have to order and wait patiently for this order to be confirmed, shipped, and delivered. Oprah you and I have something in common.

Another year gone, more goods devoured, and a new year to appreciate what we do have and reach some goals. How many bakeries will I pursue and successfully conquer this year? Who knows, but I'll keep on trucking. Now, for exercise.

Year in Review of NYC's baked good offerings.

In preparation for my year-in-baking wrap-up post(s) here are some of the places in NYC I tried this past year for baked goodies. Some were good, some disappointing, and all were an experience in their own way. I'm pretty sure I gained some cavities along the way, but well earned I say! Cupcake Stop aka the Cupcake Truck

I tried several cupcakes from the ever mobile dessert truck (not to be confused with The Dessert Truck). Their lemon raspberry wasn't as good as the one I've made. Decent but not lemony enough for my taste. Their red velvet was better than some (Magnolia you really disappoint me!) and they had a chocolate peanut butter cupcake that was good. I don't know how good stuff keeps from there, but the cupcakes weren't as super moist as I'd expect the day of.

They also offer mini cupcakes at $1/each, which may be a good buy if you just want to have a little taste.

Milk Bar

Love, love, love Milk bar! Their cookies are amazing! I tried their dulce de leche cake which was heavy as heck and a bit dry. So I'd recommend the cookies. My faves are the compost cookie (with chocolate, marshmallow, corn flakes, and pretzels) and the blueberry creme. So freakin' good I took an extra long lunch break to buy some for dinner. Dinner!

Tribeca Treats

Better than average cupcakes and their pumpkin is mighty good. They lost some of my good graces because I kept calling ahead for the pumpkin cupcake and getting denied when I showed up at the store (seems they make small batches day-by-day) but overall I've had a couple of their cupcakes and given some to friends who have been impressed. Plus, their cupcakes are mighty reasonable in Manhattan at $2/each.

Their brownies are spectucular, but are overpriced at $2/each for the tiny size you get.

Sugar Sweet Sunshine

A former co-worker introduced my friends and I to this spot and it's become a fave since. The only cupcake I truly enjoy from here is their pumpkin, which they offer year-round! So a big plus in my book. Their claim to fame is their buttercream icing and varied flavors of cupcakes, so I'd highly recommend. Also quite cheap at $1.50/each, so splurge people, splurge!

Butter Lane

My was I highly disappointed after this place. And thankfully I have a rock hard stomach so it doesn't upset easily. I happened to pass by this place from having lunch with a friend and figured "why not?" I should've kept moving.

Butter Lane is known for it's freshly made, organic buttercream icings and that's pretty much it. The place has a lovely decor but their cupcakes are disappointing and look/feel kind of hard. Also disappointing is that their cupcakes are named for the icing only. So I picked up a pumpkin cupcake thinking I was getting a pumpkin cupcake, but all I was getting was a golden cupcake with pumpkin icing. And such is the same for ALL their cupcakes. They either have golden or chocolate cupcakes and many types of homemade icing. The icing was good, the cupcake was not and I don't purchase cupcakes just for the icing so I probably won't go here again. Also their cupcakes are $3/each a bit hefty considering you're paying for the icing mainly.

Crumbs

I've loved crumbs since I first had it several years ago and that didn't stop this year either. They have a fluffy moist cake in various sizes (tiny, regular, and ginormous!) They have various flavors year round and I've received pretty darn good service from the ones around the city. The regular cupcakes are reasonable at $2.95/each and the massive ones even more reasonable at $3.95/each.

Fay Da Bakery

A nice Asian bakery in Chinatown where you can get Asian desserts or savory treats like pork buns, chicken buns, etc. I particularly liked their rolls. Their vanilla roll and lemon rolls are delicious and reasonable. A big one costs about $11 and an individual one would be a little over $1.

Dessert Truck

How I miss thee! They had amazing goodies like homemade donuts (with jelly), hot chocolate (as thick as pudding and very tasty!), and a chocolate mousse that made me curl my toes in delight! Woowee! Unfortunately something about permits deterred the Dessert Truck from making a resurgence for most of the year, but at least I had that bit and it was lovely!

Crepateria

Since the two locations aren't located that far from me in Queens it's nice to know I can get crepes any time I want! Sweet or savory take your pick, but I have to say I love the warm cinnamon apple crepe with ice cream or banana and nutella (staples at most crepe shops). Good and good for you!

Royale Bakery

Tried a chocolate cupcake and sea salt brownie. The brownie was quite good I have to say. The salt did not over power the sugary & chocolatey goodness of the colossal sized brownie I had. The cupcake was okay. A bit dry (which tends to be a consistent problem at bakeries) but the peanut butter icing was very good. Plus, the lady at the counter was very knowledgeable and kind about telling my husband and I about the different choices. I also liked how they put the cupcakes in cups (upside down) so as not to smoosh them in transit. I'd recommend.

Grom

A co-worker enthusiastically told me about Grom and one day while strolling around West 4th Street and 6th Avenue on a summer's day I just waltzed right in. Grom serves freshly made gelato in various flavors. I had the plan vanilla which was quite good. The small (one scoop) is pricey at $5 but it is good for the money.

Grand Daisy

This Italian staple became a growing chain when another one opened up just a block or two from my building. They have lots of breads, sandwiches, pizzas, and desserts! One of my favorites is the tortino di cioccolata (aka chocolate tart aka big ol' brownie) delicious. They also have a good sandwich cookie which is two butter cookies with nutella in the middle. They also have tortes (tarts/cakes) and bread pudding! The slices of tarts and cakes is a bit pricey, but individual cookies are pretty good at $3 each considering their size. A slice of their bread pudding would run you $6. I have yet to take the plunge and keep going to Whole Foods for their bread pudding that I can get at $3 or less.

Once upon a tart

I have yet to try the tarts here, but had a couple of their humongous cookies! Pretty good and reasonably priced for such large confections. I'd say their chocolate chip is better than their peanut butter. Though I will be returning to try their pear tart that just looks darling from its place perched high in their window.

Sweet Melissa Patisserie

In the heart of family friendly area of Park Slope (there's also a location in Carol Gardens, Brooklyn) sits a cute patisserie started by a lovely lady who seems to enjoy pumpkin as much as I do. I tried the pumpkin bread pudding with caramel rum raisin glaze/icing and loved it. It's not as mushy as your typical bread pudding, more cake like in it's look and portions. But warm with the glaze it is very satisfying. My husband bought me the Sweet Melissa Baking book after we tried her tasty goods. I can't wait to go back when we just happen to be in the area.

I look forward to retrying some of these places and trying many new ones.