Ever since writing a blog post about the best sweet treats in London, I’ve been thinking about writing this one. If any city can compete with the amazing array of sugary snacks on offer in the English capital, it’s NYC: famous for sugar emporiums like the M&M store and Dylan’s Candy Bar, this is the city of cupcakes, cookies and doughnuts galore. Here’s my round up of some of the best sweet treats New York has to offer – hope you’re hungry!
Many would argue that the doughnut is America’s favourite dessert, and judging from those on offer in the Big Apple, it’s no wonder. One of the best spots in the city for doughnuts has to be Dough, which after starting up in 2010 in Bed-Stuy quickly became a cult favourite, opening a second location in the Flatiron district and a number of kiosks at different food halls in the city, too. The doughnuts at Dough are absolutely huge, and very reasonably priced, not to mention fresh and delicious: the team here make their doughnuts in small batches to ensure that customers can always enjoy their doughnut fresh. The flavours on offer are varied and innovative, from the classics such as the glazed ring doughnut to flavours like passionfruit or hibiscus. For a perfect blend of sweet and salty, try the salted chocolate caramel doughnut – you won’t be disappointed!
Another great spot to pick up some delicious doughnuts in NYC is Doughnuttery. These doughnuts are pretty different from the ones on offer at Dough – instead of being large and glazed, the doughnuts at Doughnuttery are small bites of deliciousness. Served hot in portions starting at six mini doughnuts for $6, customers choose between a variety of flavoured sugar dustings, customizing their doughnuts as their heart desires. There are 3 locations in the city, but my favourite has to be their lesser-known location in the Plaza Hotel, which has a food hall at concourse level: located right on the corner of Central Park South, it’s the perfect place to pick up some doughnuts to eat al-fresco. When I visited the city earlier this year, I was lucky enough to see New York in the snow for the first time, and hot doughnuts were the perfect treat to warm my girlfriend and I up in the sub-zero temperatures as we took photo after photo of the park covered in a blanket of snow. Yum!
Photo credit: afoodieguide
When it comes to cupcakes in New York, there’s one name that always seems to spring to mind, and that’s Magnolia Bakery. After being started up on Bleecker Street in the West Village in 1996, Magnolia really shot to fame after an episode of Sex and The City featured Carrie and Miranda eating their cupcakes on a bench outside the store. Even 17 years on, the Bleecker Street location is still a mecca for die-hard SATC fans, often having just visited Carrie’s famous apartment stoop on nearby Perry Street. As well as the flagship store, Magnolia Bakery now has locations across the city such in Bloomingdale’s and Grand Central Station, as well as further outposts around the U.S. and even abroad, from Korea to Saudi Arabia. It’s no surprise that Magnolia is successful, even without its SATC fame – the cupcakes here are moist and delicious, with beautifully light icing and a variety of both classic and specialty cupcakes on the menu.
For every Magnolia Bakery fan singing the bakery’s praises, there’s somebody else recommending an alternative. Articles like this HuffPost one might list the bakeries that are “better” than Magnolia, but luckily the city has lots of room for more than a few cupcake spots to flourish, and I’d argue that having a number of cupcake bakeries in the city only fosters creativity and innovation among them! Another cupcake spot that I would definitely check out while in New York is Two Little Red Hands Bakery on the Upper East Side. When I visited recently, the queue snaked outside and a little way along the street, and considering the freezing temparatures, I took the fact that people were willing to wait in line for these cupcakes as a good sign! While waiting in line, my girlfriend and I befriended a friendly regular who gave us a list of her favourite cupcake flavours, and proudly announced that she was getting two, as “damnit, this is why I work out!”. A couple of minutes later, I found myself staring at another customer’s cupcake of choice, a peanut butter number with a creamy PB centre that left me salivating. I’d like to say he didn’t notice, but he definitely did: a quick comment of ‘I won’t share!’ accompanied by a friendly smile and joking wink showed me that I was being a little more than obvious. Whoops! By the time I reached the counter I was completely overwhelmed with choice – luckily the super friendly staff were very patient with me, helping me to choose their Brooklyn Blackout and Carrot Cake flavours. These were truly delicious – their icing was the perfect consistently, and the fillings which the bakery are known for were divine. The bakery also bakes their signature cupcakes in miniature form, an adorable touch meaning that smaller children have a great options for a little treat, or that adults can go all out and try a number of varieties without feeling sick for the rest of the day. The cafe itself, though fairly compact, is super cute, with brick walls decorated with what seems like hundreds of hens. I can’t recommend this spot more highly – stop by on your way to the MET, which is a short walk away: it turns out cupcakes and culture are the perfect combination.
Photo credit: afoodieguide
I won’t lie, cookies are hands-down my favourite part of the New York dessert scene. Levain, nestled on a quiet street on the Upper West Side not far from Central Park West (as well as at 3 other locations in the city), is the only place I’ve ever queued for a cookie, and it was 100% worth it, too. The cookies here are incredible – with a gooey, melt-in-the-mouth centre, and a crispy outer shell, you’ll be dreaming of your visit to Levain for a long time to come. At $4 a cookie, these aren’t the cheapest, but you definitely get a lot for your money – these cookies are not only large but very thick, and more than big enough to share (not that you’ll want to!). Try the Dark Chocolate Chocolate Chip or the Chocolate Chip Walnut: can’t choose? Get both!
Photo credit: afoodieguide (taken by my girlfriend, Beth. Yep, I’ll admit it – that bag is totally empty, we’d already eaten our cookies by the time our photoshoot began!)
My all-time favourite New York dessert is actually another cookie, although Levain comes in close behind. Yep, Schmackary’s sold me the best cookie I’ve ever eaten (& then a few more, just so I could check that it really was that good). Nestled on W 45th street in Hells Kitchen just 5 minutes by foot from Times Square, this is a must-visit spot for anyone visiting NYC, whether it’s your first time in the city or your hundredth. You can’t go wrong with the classic chocolate chip – a subtle touch of salt makes this variety completely irresistible. Other popular flavours among their loyal fanbase include the maple bacon cookie, the funfetti cookie and the peanut butter cookie. However long you’re in the city, make time to pop down to Schmackary’s to try one of their incredible treats – as their logo states, they really are lip-schmackin’ good.
Photo credit: livingthetreatlife
So that’s my round up of some of the best sweet treats NYC has to offer! Have you tried any of these spots? Have I missed your favourite sugary treat? Let me know in the comments below! You can also get in touch via Instagram or Twitter – I’d love to hear from you!
Don’t forget to check out my guide to the best of London’s sweet treats! As always, I’ve popped the links to all of the Instagram accounts for these top foodie spots below. Happy scrolling!