Best sweets

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  • Photograph: Sean Ellingson

    100bestDessertsalnaimatsweets5

  • Photograph: Andrew Fladeboe

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    Chocolate-and-olive-oil bastoncino at Del Posto

  • Alex Strada

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    Honey-rosemary ice cream at DessertTruck Works

     

    This herbal, obscenely creamy scoop packs a savory wallop: The custardy treat (made with Greenmarket-sourced extra-rich cream) gets its assertive sweetness from honey, but fragrant, piney house-grown rosemary lends a pungent jolt to every lick. 6 Clinton St between E Houston and Stanton Sts (212-228-0701, dt-works.net). $3

  • Photograph: Allison Michael Orenstein

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    Wilkinsons at Henry Public

  • Photograph: Zenith Richards

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    Shaved ice at Ice Fire Land

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

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    Liddabit beer-and-pretzel caramels at Northern Spy Food Co.

  • Photograph: Allison Michael Orenstein

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    Morir soando at Reben Luncheonette

  • Photograph: the drunken photographer

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    Great White Way concrete at Shake Shack

  • Photograph: Annabelle Nyst

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    Classic Toast with condensed milk at Saint's Alp Teahouse

Photograph: Sean Ellingson

100bestDessertsalnaimatsweets5

Gulab jamun at Al Naimat restaurant & Sweets
Gulab jamun—bite-size dough balls soaked in cardamom and rose-flavored syrup—are a staple of Indian pastry shops across Jackson Heights. But crowded Al Naimat's are the borough's best: consistently fresh, dense and decadently moist, with a soft dough to absorb the sweet floral syrup. 37-03 74th St at 37th Ave, Jackson Heights, Queens (718-476-1100). $6 per pound.

Chocolate-and-olive-oil bastoncino at Del Posto Bakery
Chef Brooks Headley dispatches these one-bite pops as petits fours following a prix-fixe meal at Del Posto. The bastoncino is a thinking man's Klondike bar: A nugget of eggless gelato, enriched with grassy and floral Tuscan olive oil, is enrobed in a thin armor of dark chocolate, rolled in salted, olive-oil-toasted bread crumbs and skewered on a lollipop stick. 85 Tenth Ave at 16th St (212-497-8090, delposto.com). Part of $125 Tradizionale.

Honey-rosemary ice cream at DessertTruck Works
This herbal, obscenely creamy scoop packs a savory wallop: The custardy treat (made with Greenmarket-sourced extra-rich cream) gets its assertive sweetness from honey, but fragrant, piney house-grown rosemary lends a pungent jolt to every lick. 6 Clinton St between E Houston and Stanton Sts (212-228-0701, dt-works.net). $3--$5.

Wilkinsons at Henry Public
Soak up the cocktail bar's fancy booze with these clever desserts—six puffy little dough balls that bridge the gap between doughnut hole and flapjack (they're made with pancake batter). Instead of maple syrup: a slightly bitter and boozy rum-caramel sauce for dipping. 329 Henry St between Atlantic Ave and Pacific St, Cobble Hill, Brooklyn (718-852-8630, henrypublic.com). $9.

Shaved ice at Ice Fire Land
At this flashy hot-pot joint, a snowy Mount Everest of Taiwanese-style shaved ice is sweetened with up to four toppings, including our favorites: savory red beans, chewy bits of tapioca and a rich, oozing coat of sweet condensed milk. 135-11 40th Rd between Main and Prince Sts, Flushing, Queens (718-886-8600). $4.25.

Liddabit beer-and-pretzel caramels at Northern Spy Food Co.
These luscious caramels are made from Ronnybrook heavy cream and pure cane sugar. They get a crunchy, salty snap from shards of Martin's pretzels and malty, bitter tones from Brooklyn Brown and East India Pale ales. 511 E 12th St between Aves A and B (212-228-5100, northernspyfoodco.com). $1 each.

Morir soando at Reben Luncheonette
Orange juice, ice, fresh milk, vanilla syrup and sugar are frothed and served over fat ice cubes to create morir soando ("to die dreaming") at this Dominican greasy spoon. The result is a pale, ambrosial shake that recalls an orange Creamsicle. 229 Havemeyer St at Broadway, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-388-7696). $3.

Great White Way concrete at Shake Shack
The best desserts are regressive fantasies—banana splits, Moon Pie—so it follows that this slurpable revision of that old bake-sale staple, the Rice Krispie treat, would be one of the year's top sweets. Crunchy rice cereal and marshmallow sauce find their way into vanilla frozen custard. Polish it off before the crispy bits get soggy. Times Square location, 691 Eighth Ave at 44th St (646-435-0135, shakeshack.com). $6.25.

Classic Toast with condensed milk at Saint's Alp Teahouse
There's nothing prim about this Taiwanese teatime snack: a thick slice of toasted Pullman bread slathered in rich butter and drenched with sweetened condensed milk. It's a sticky, sugary afternoon treat that's best paired with a cool bubble tea—and some extra napkins. 39 Third Ave between 9th and 10th Sts (212-598-1890, www.saintsalp.com.hk). $2.

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