Manhattan may boast an array of destinations for sweets, but Brooklyn is also home to a wealth of bakeries, ice-cream parlors and chocolatiers. Whether you’re looking for delicate French pastries or just a scoop of ice cream, these are the best places to appease your sweet tooth in Brooklyn.
The Good Batch began as a humble vendor at Brooklyn Flea, hawking caramel-flecked stroopwafels and ice-cream sandwiches. Now, it’s morphed into a brick-and-mortar store in Clinton Hill that touts vegan and gluten-free treats for the health-conscious crowd, along with muffins, scones, coffee cake, cookies and cupcakes. During the warm months, you’d be remiss not to try the famed ice-cream sandwiches. The Goodwich is the most popular: vanilla ice cream bookended by two oat-chocolate-chunk cookies and speckled with sea salt and fudge.
When it comes to sweets, the pinkified Little Cupcake Bakeshop knows what it’s doing, flaunting traditional American desserts with a hearty dose of nostalgia. There are colorful cupcakes crowned with swirled pillows of frosting, delicious ‘cake cups’ (the Brooklyn Blackout is the most popular) cloaked in frosting, cookies, hand-held pucks of cheesecake, ice cream topped with hunks of cake, old-fashioned icebox cakes, and pies.
Almondine churns out crisp baguettes, hazelnut-raisin loaves, cookies, macarons and cakes, but the real star is the almond croissant: a golden-brown shell filled with almond pastry cream. Grab a couple of viennoiseries and settle down to eat them at Empire Fulton Ferry Park, a riverside park just opposite the bakery.
When creating his wealth of cocoa confections, Jacques Torres prides himself on using all-natural ingredients. The original chocolate shop wows customers year round with New York City-themed chocolate boxes, gooey chocolate-chip cookies and chocolate bars in flavors such as Heavenly Hazelnut and Brûlée Crunch.
Since the 1950s, Junior’s has been a Brooklyn institution. While the cheesecake can now be ordered online or enjoyed for a pre-theater snack in Times Square, it is best savored in its old-world Downtown Brooklyn digs. The original cheesecake is certainly Junior’s most famous, but these days they’re known to infuse and crown the slices with a slew of toppings: apple crumb, chocolate mousse, red velvet and carrot cake.
Given its cotton candy-pink walls and black-and-white checkered floors, Petee’s Cafe feels like a dressed-up, modern-day version of a luncheonette – one in which perfect pie prevails. Buttery lattices shroud wild Maine blueberry pies, and plump whipped cream clouds are piped atop vanilla pudding and banana slices. While the baking isn’t done on premises – the flagship location is on Delancey Street in Manhattan – everything is baked that morning and can be warmed up on request.
Since opening in Prospect Heights in 2011, Ample Hills Creamery has won the hearts (and stomachs) of locals and tourists alike. The goofy shop now boasts five locations in Brooklyn (Prospect Heights, Gowanus, Red Hook, Downtown Brooklyn and Brooklyn Bridge Park) where it serves rounds of wacky desserts like The Munchies (pretzel ice cream studded with Ritz crackers, M&Ms and potato chips) and Ooey Gooey Butter Cake (vanilla ice cream peppered with hunks of St. Louis-style butter cake).
The doughnuts at Dough are a far cry from your run-of-the-mill fried rings. They are towering rounds cloaked in shimmering glazes and about the size of your face. At the Bedford-Stuyvesant flagship location, the handmade yeast and cake doughnuts are guided through a small-batch process, fried, and dipped on site. The offerings change daily, but popular flavors include hot-pink hibiscus, salted chocolate caramel and blood orange.
Ovenly was born out of founders Agatha Kulaga and Erin Patinkin’s love of fusing sweet and savory together. Contrasting flavors merge in blueberry-cornflake muffins, pistachio-agave cookies, and currant-rosemary scones to forge a mix of traditional and avant-garde desserts. Much of what you’ll find in the case is gluten-free, while the famed salted chocolate-chip cookie is secretly vegan.
Real estate in Greenpoint may be split between Polish restaurants and brand-new high rise buildings, but one doughnut shop has remained stuck in time for more than six decades: Peter Pan Donut and Pastry Shop. The mid-20th-century luncheonette still boasts its retro charm – chrome stools, a lunch counter, waitresses in teal smocks – and the main lure, of course, is its old-school doughnuts. These nostalgic pucks are only a little more than a dollar, so stack up on a few; crispy crullers, jelly, sour cream and glazed are the biggest sellers.
The sisters behind Four and Twenty Blackbirds first started rolling pie dough as kids in South Dakota. After deeming that Gowanus was in dire need of a neighborhood coffee shop, the duo launched a brick-and-mortar space specializing in artisanal pies. Perched on a quiet segment of Third Avenue, the quaint shop is usually peppered with pie lovers feasting on a slice of their beloved Salty Honey (honey custard flecked with sea salt). Other flavors include peach streusel, coffee custard, matcha custard and bittersweet chocolate pecan.
What was once a 1920s apothecary is now Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain. It’s been restored to resemble an old-school soda shop, complete with red-topped stools and a counter home to whirring milkshakes. For dessert, check out the decadent, over-the-top sundaes, which come in a slew of flavors, such as More is S’more (red velvet cake crowned with chocolate, vanilla and coffee ice cream, Nutella and marshmallow fluff). If that’s too much, help yourself to simple ice-cream sandwiches, floats and milkshakes, all made with Adirondack Creamery ice cream.
The female-owned Butter & Scotch functions as both a bar and a bakery. Sweets and drinks collide, each informing the other. There are things like slices of bourbon ginger pecan pie and rainbow-sprinkle-bedazzled birthday cake, along with cookies, brownies and build-your-own sundaes. On the alcohol side, choose from a sampling of boozed-up milkshakes and floats studded with Blue Marble ice cream. There are plenty of cocktails, too, usually sporting a theme; in the past, there’s been feminist-influenced drinks like Smash the Patriarchy (tequila, chile liqueur, honey, lemon and sage).
At the very edge of Red Hook is Steve’s Authentic Key Lime Pies, a venerable dessert destination – especially for anyone obsessed with key limes. The menu has been narrowed down to a couple of options: pies, tarts and the Swingle. The tarts are wonderfully delicate, simply showcasing key lime through the vehicle of butter and graham crackers. Help yourself to one (or two) of the mini-tarts, then snag at least one Swingle: a mini-tart dunked in quick-hardening dark chocolate and held up only by a popsicle stick poking out from the bottom.
Ice cream at Oddfellows is delightfully odd. You won’t stumble across your classic chocolate or strawberry here; instead, you’ll discover funky scoops of chorizo caramel swirl, cinnamon raisin toast and foie gras. All the flavors are made in the Williamsburg location, where you can see the ice-cream wizards working away through a glass window.
The Chocolate Room isn’t Willy Wonka’s factory, but it’s about as close as you’re going to get. As the name suggests, everything is chocolate here: from sundaes to cookies to shakes and even a chocolate stout beer. Warm up on an icy day with a cup of dark hot chocolate crowned with a cloud of whipped cream, or settle into the house specialty: chocolate fondue. The rich melted chocolate is kept warm by a small candle and is ready to be mopped up by house-made marshmallows, macaroons, graham crackers, strawberries and bananas.
Although Bien Cuit has made a name for its dark bread, the Boerum Hill bakery also serves plenty of viennoiseries (think brandy-soaked almond croissants, cinnamon-sugar roules and apple-cardamom danishes), along with plenty of desserts. Opt for something small like a salted chocolate buckwheat cookie, or go for something larger and decadent, like the chocolate-mousse cake, a chocolate lover’s dream: white-, milk- and dark-chocolate mousse infused with brown-butter caramel.