I took a trip to meet my BF in NYC a couple of weeks back as he was coming to the end of an epic USA month long adventure. He spent time in LA, lost a week of his life (plus a few brain cells) at Burning Man festival in the Nevada desert, hopped on a train to Colorado and finally met me off the plan in New York. The second he asked if I would like to join him my one track mind thought of all the amazing bakeries that have been on my bucket list for ages. New York always seems to do everything bigger, bader and better than everyone else, new flavours, new ideas, an exciting place for cake lovers!
Dominique Ansel was my absolute priority. If you didn’t hear of Cronuts yet, where have you been?! Even Greggs now have a copycat of this live changing doughnut/croissant hybrid. For those of you who don’t know, the Cronut has the shape and circular appearance of a traditional doughnut but with the flaky, buttery layers of a croissant, covered in sugar and filled with delicious fillings. Dominique changes her filling every month and this months flavour was bergamot with Earl Grey . Due to the amazingness of the Cronuts, it has been elevated to legendary status thus ensuring a queue of over-hyped people every morning to make sure they snaffle one (two at the most according to the bakery rules). Not one to miss the hype, I set my alarm for 6.30am (yes I was very popular with the BF that day) and joined the queue of around 20 people just after 7. I know what you are thinking, what kind of crazy woman does that?! Queuing as the sun rises just to eat a posh doughnut? Well my friend, I questioned myself as bemused local New Yorkers stared at the queue as they rushed off to work. But it was TOTALLY worth it. Finally we sat at a table with espressos and lattes to wake up plus two of the fabled Cronuts. Fresh from the oven, they were buttery, crisp and flaky and the creamy Bergamot crème patisserie inside was a dream. This is a big claim but it was the best bake I ever ate.
Momofuku Milk Bar was the next bakery on my hit list. It is famed for its more unusual cakes and cookies, famed by its liberal use of multi-coloured sprinkles and Crack Pie (so good, its as addictive as crack… apparently…). They also do a fine range of hot filled Asian buns if for some crazy reason you might want something savoury. Upon entering the bakery there was a sign for newbies, a selection of all the best bits they do for $16. Sold. We grabbed our goodies and headed over to Central Park to demolish our goodies. We had Birthday Truffles , Crack Pie and Compost Cookies. Birthday truffles were creamy balls of cake crumbs, vanilla buttercream and those infamous sprinkles rolled into treat sized balls. I loved these and induced a mammoth sugar coma. The Crack Pie was a Hob Nob like base filled with a condensed milky filling and doused in sugar syrup. This one was a bit sickly for me although I loved the creaminess. The Compost Cookie was filled with, well, everything from potato chips to milk crumbs and chocolate. Crunchy on the outside and chewy inside but perhaps a bit on the not-sweet-enough side. The Birthday Truffles were the winner here!
We stayed in Park Slope in Brooklyn which was very cool, it was around 20 minutes away on the underground and yet had its own village feel, lots of little boutiques and cosy restaurants. We stopped one morning at a vegan place, Sun In Bloom, for an early lunch. I could not resist the sound of their banana and choc chip vegan mini loaf. It was amazingly light and you would never guess it was vegan, I’m determined to try and copy the recipe!
I also had multiple doughnuts… I ate 5 within the first 24 hours. The boy met me at the airport with a Dunkin Doughnut (soft and squidgy but not the best, very Greggs like) which was hovered up in seconds. On the way to Boston, we stopped at an all American diner where the owner bought out fresh ring doughnuts, still warm from the fryer. Oh my days, they were crunchy on the outside, light and doughy inside, they were to die for! He even gave us a bag full to take away with us. God bless that man. I’ve got no idea, but somehow I managed to make it back to the UK without having to be rolled onto the plane. New York baking really was amazing, inventive and interesting. I can’t wait for the next trip!