Halloween has candy. Thanksgiving is famous for pie. Hanukkah celebrants enjoy jam-filled, deep-fried donuts. When it comes to Christmas, it’s practically a cultural imperative to indulge in an endless array of sweets (the likes of gingerbread cookies, marzipan and fruitcake). Which is why we’ve rounded up some of the most festive, decadent desserts imaginable at bakeries throughout New York, from the extravagant Buche de Noel at Maison Kayser to the traditional, sugar-dusted Stollen (and not so traditional Cornflake Peppermint Cookies) at Momofuku Milk Bar in Union Square.
Dominique Ansel BakeryCuisine: Bakery
Dominique Ansel Bakery was the biggest thing to happen to sweets in 2013, so how could you possibly finish out the year without trying a Christmas Cronut (made with chocolate and champagne, and dusted with orange zest sugar)? And that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Ansel’s sensational creations, which include a scrumptious Peppermint Brittle (chocolate-covered butterscotch crunch with a miniature ball-peen hammer molded into it), and an outrageous Christmas Morning Cereal, made with Valrhona caramelized milk chocolate-covered puff rice, smoked cinnamon mini meringues, and caramelized hazelnuts.
While each branch of Momofuku Milk Bar carries Christina Tosi’s celebratory Cornflake Peppermint Cookies — made with cornflakes, mini chocolate chips, mini-marshmallows and crushed up candy canes — their Union Square Holiday Market stand is the only place that carries her destination-worthy Stollen. That’s why we always plan a day of Christmas shopping around the sweet German bread, layered with candied ginger, lemon, currants and cranberries with a nutty pistachio-almond filling.Read More
Maison KayserCuisine: Bakery
Of all holiday desserts, the intricate, show-stopping Buche de Noel (a Yule Log-shaped cake) is the one probably best left to the experts. Which is why we’re tremendously grateful that Parisian pastry guru, Eric Kayser, opened a string of New York bakeries last year. And he’s currently carrying five, count them, five different kinds of Buche de Noel, including the Kayser (dark chocolate), Kawa (coffee), Alliance (chestnut and pear), Tropic (coconut and mango), and a classic Seven Layer version with almond biscuit, praline cream and almond.
By this time next year, Tribeca will have their very own outpost of this beloved Brooklyn bakeshop, but until then, you’ll have to trek out to Red Hook in order to stock up on treats. Their clever “12 Days of Cookies” promotion ensures that you won’t have to even pick up a rolling pin this season, so indulge in Peppermint Chip Meringues, Coconut Raspberry Ribbon Squares, Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies, Cookies n’ Cream Fudge and much, much more!Read More
Granted Fruitcake is pretty much the redheaded stepchild of the holiday dessert cannon. But that’s because too often, it’s a shockingly dense, sucrose-laden loaf loaded with hyper-colored fruit bits and creepy candied citron. But there’s honestly nothing not to like about the restrained version at this Midtown sweets boutique; an extra-moist spice cake filled with juicy figs, apricots and dates.Read More
My Sweet BrigadieroCuisine: Bakery
This Tribeca shop is dedicated exclusively to the production of Brigadieros, Brazilian candies made from chocolate, condensed milk and butter that has been cooked down, molded, and covered with sprinkles or nuts. And we truly can’t think of a nicer gift or a lovelier addition to a holiday dessert spread than these bite-sized, South American sweets, in flavors, like Ginger, Coconut, Mint, Lavender, Cinnamon Pecan and Peanut Honey.
Black Hound New YorkCuisine: Bakery
Black Hound splashed onto the scene in 1988, when they first began selling incredible cakes to discerning shoppers at Barney’s New York. They’ve long since expanded to their own spot in the East Village, and their handcrafted baked goods are as spectacular as ever. You can order any of their specialty cakes full size, but we’d just as soon go with a selection of minis, like the three-layered Busy Bee Cake, wrapped in marzipan and bittersweet chocolate ganache and decorated with holly leaves, Pear Almond Cake filled with poached pears and Bavarian cream and topped with marzipan stockings, and Chocolate Gianduja Cake finished with Gianduja buttercream, crushed pralines and adorable candy mittens.
Villabate AlbaCuisine: Bakery
The Italians really give the French a run for their money when it comes to over-the-top Christmas creations, so you’d be wise to visit this 30-year-old Bensonhurst mainstay, which excels at Sicilian sweets. You’ll find dark chocolate and fig-enrobed Mostaccioli (a traditional, diamond-shaped gingerbread cookie), jam-filled and almond-topped Roccoco (crunchy Christmas rings), and glorious handcrafted Marzipan, which is almost too beautiful (read: almost too beautiful) to eat.