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Best of – Christmas Sweets

chocochipcake.JPGMomofuku Milk Bar

207 2nd Ave
(Corner of 13th St.)
No Phone

You’d think David Chang would stumble or lose steam, but it doesn’t happen at Momomofuku Milk Bar.  I mean really, what can’t this chef do well?  Apparently, he knows his sweets as well as his bo ssam.  Momofuku Milk’s baking some seriously good custards, soft serves and milkshakes.  A Chang X-mas also means a towering chocolate chip cake (pictured right) — a giant mass of white cake, chocolate crumbs, coffee buttercream, and passion fruit curd.  And the pies here are just as decadent and impressive — we’re preoccupied with the pumpkin blondie pie. Imagine a cashew crust, topped with a thick blondie batter and a layer of spiced pumpkin.  Race you there.

 Butter Lane

123 East 7th St.
(btwn. 1st Ave & Ave A)
(212) 677-2880

This new bake shop is becoming one of the city’s premiere cupcake dealer.   Bring these to a holiday party and you’ll ensure an invitation for next year soiree too.  The focus here is on flavor, not appearances.  So if you’re looking for the perfectly frosted cupcake or decoration, shop elsewhere. Buyer beware: Butter Lane has a strict no sprinkle, drizzles and topping policy.  But even without the extras, the classic buttery frosting is all that matters.  And with the holidays closing in on us, best to get in the spirit fast with pumpkin spice frosting (pictured right,) raspberry or apple.  Or you can of course, create your own cupcake, starting with the cake bottom options of chocolate, vanilla or banana.  As for frostings, the buttery array include chocolate, vanilla, blueberry, and key lime.   Magnolia should watch its back in ’09, Butter Lane’s looking pretty good right out of the gate.

705 9th Ave.
(btwn. 48th St & 49th St.)
(212) 974-6012

If you’re looking for something more interesting than fruit cake, we suggest Kyotofu.  This Asian dessert shop was actually inspired by tofu manufacturer, Kyotofu-Fujino.  Thus, the emphasis on natural, organic ingredients.  This would mean nothing if the desserts weren’t so damn good.   Especially, the chocolate soufflé cupcakes or the more exotic – the Matcha Green Tea Assortment ($25.)  This unusual assortment includes green tea okra cookies, mini matcha almond financiers, matcha shortbread, and matcha nama chocolates (kind of like a creamy green fudge.) Now that’s guilt-free indulgence.

1032 Lexington Ave.
(btwn. 73rd St. & 74th St.)
(212) 717-5252

This French patisserie on the Upper East Side never fails you during the holidays.  Even after all these years in business, Payard never stops coming up with new creations either.  If you’re playing host or hostess, consider the pumpkin and chestnut tart cake.  This exceptional tart is layered with fresh chestnut cream and whole chestnuts, then topped with pumpkin mousse and a chestnut poundcake.  If you’re the guest, the Payard Treasure Box — a selection of caramels, rochers, candy-covered almonds and signature chocolates — makes a lovely first impression. 

Petrossian Boutique and Café
911 7th Ave.
(btwn. 57th St. & 58th St.)
(212) 245-2217

Wish you could go to Paris for Christmas?  Petrossian in midtown comes close.  We were at a loss of what to choose from their dessert menu.  Our new favorite party gift is the Hot Chocolate on a Stick, which come in hazelnut or dark chocolate.  Just heat up a cup of milk or heavy cream and stir.   You can’t go wrong with the Babas au Rhum here, a brioche-shaped sponge cakes soaked in rum syrup.  We think it’s the best in the city.

Thumbnail image for ChristmasDrum_Large.jpgDylan’s Candy Bar
1011 3rd Ave.
(Corner of 60th st.)
(212) 735-0078

Growing up, we used to dream that Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory was a real place we could visit someday special.  Well, there is such a place in midtown, called Dylan’s Candy Bar.  Dylan reigns over this chocolate wonderland.  Take a deep breath, then plunge into this bi-level store filled with super-sized and hard-to-find sweets.  There’s everything ranging from peppermint popcorn to full-blown gingerbread houses.  If you can’t imagine lugging a gingerbread house to someone’s house, there’s sleigh delivery.  Our favorite is the Christmas Drum Gift Basket (pictured right) filled with candy bars, candy canes, red and green jelly beans. Of course, they sell his and hers sweets.

Sterling Confections
Talk about food as art, these truffles are almost too pretty to eat.  Each triangular-shaped truffle bars are hand-painted with vibrant, unique designs.  The best thing about Sterling is you don’t have to leave the house.  Everything’s availabe online and if you’re throwing a party, order the “Cappucino Liqueur with a Twist,” an eight inch-long truffle that serves 22 people!   It even comes with instructions. 

Saxelby Cheesemongers
Essex Street Market
120 Essex St.
(Corner of Delancey St.)
(212) 228-8204

There’s something suspicious about people who don’t eat dessert.  But since it’s the holidays, we’ll humor you. Saxelby Cheesemongers in the Lower East Side offers a vast selection of artisanal cheeses, including “The Cheesemonger’s Choice” — a selection of three hand-crafted American cheeses.  Their rendition of the Cheese of the Month Club refreshes this potentially tired gift idea.  The knowledgeable fromageries will do the work for you with a party platter of cheese, breads, dried fruits and nuts. 

Thumbnail image for 071108_JTorres_TresChest_med.jpgJacques Torres Chocolate
350 Hudson St.
(Corner of King St.)
(212) 414-2462

When it comes to chocolate, Jacques Torres brings new meaning to the word obsessed.  But we won’t look a gift horse in the mouth when he’s so good at his job.  This season, The Chocolate Haven is stuffing nearly all of its treats into one Holiday Treasure Chest.  Sure, it’s $275, but that does include 50 bonbons, 24 Champagne truffles, and just about every nut and cereal you can think of covered in chocolate.  For those of us on a budget, the Jacques Torres chocolate snowmen and Santas will happily do.  Ooh, that or a tin of his Wicked Hot Chocolate.

Rice To Riches
37 Spring St.
(btwn. Mott St. & Mulberry St.)
(212) 274-0008

We admit that rice pudding is not exactly traditional, but who says you can’t have rice pudding for Christmas?  Rice to Riches sells the “Moby” — a party-sized tub of rice pudding ($35) that feeds ten people (or five depending on your appetite.)    Holiday flavors include “Gingerbread Joyride,”  and “I’ll Take Eggnog For $200 Alex.”  The toppings are just as quirky as the names.  Our favorite combination — gingerbread joyride topped with remedy (a caramel vanilla sauce) and Flourish (toasted poundcake.)  Trust us on this one.

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