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Macarons
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Francois Schnell

12 ways to eat your way through NYC’s dessert scene

By
Annalise Mantz
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Gelato and macarons and cupcakes, oh my! With sweet shops from Alphabet City to the West Village selling every kind of treat imaginable, New York City is a sugar fiend’s paradise and a dentist’s worst nightmare.

But where do you even start when there are so many delectable cannolis, cookies and truffles to choose from? Let a professional plan your eating itinerary for you in one of the city's best dessert tours or baking classes. It's the best bang (read: sugar) for your buck.

Raaka Factory Tour
Unlike the vast majority of chocolate on the market today, Raaka doesn’t roast their cacao beans, but keeps them in their “virgin” state to preserve the complex natural flavors. The company offers guided tours of its Red Hook factory so you can take in the whole process, from bean to bar, and get up close and personal with the finished product.

Bake the Book: Birthday Cake and Truffles Class
True devotees of funfetti know that Momofuku Milk Bar’s version of the sprinkle-studded cake is the ultimate way to enjoy it. Fluffy white cake get dressed up with pops of rainbow color, extra crunchy cake crumbs and a lusciously smooth coating of vanilla frosting. You’ll learn how to make this delicacy—and it’s cousins, Milk Bar's birthday cake truffles—in a workshop at the bakery’s Williamsburg location.

Cupcakes, Cookies and Gelato Walking Tour
Your ticket to this walking tour includes not one, not two, but six tastings. Start off small with one of Baked By Melissa’s bite-sized cupcakes, then move on to goodies from Crumbs Bake Shop, Amorino, Molly’s Cupcakes, Milk and Cookies and Magnolia Bakery. Come hungry: There’s a lot of sugar heading your way.

French Macaron Class
Petite, delicate macarons may be one of the most refined treats of all time. You’ll typically find the little almond cookie sandwiches in the windows of French pâtisseries, often with a hefty price tag. After a few hours of instruction at French'Encas, though, you’ll have all the culinary skills you need to bake them at home.

Ice Cream Summer Sundays
No, that’s not a typo. This walking tour meets every Sunday from June to August to help you beat the summer heat with the most refreshing dessert of all: ice cream. You’ll sample frozen yogurt, popsicles, milkshakes and other frozen delights as you meander through Chinatown and Little Italy. You scream, I scream, we all scream for ice cream!

How to Make a Mille-Feuille
The name of this classic French pastry translates to “one thousand layers,” and you’ll understand why after sinking your teeth into the sheets of flaky pastry stacked on top of rich cream. The eponymous bakery in Greenwich Village is so well known for these stunning treats, it even hosts cooking classes for would-be chefs.    

Tache Artisan Chocolate Class
Channel Willy Wonka in this chocolate-making class at Tache, a Lower East Side chocolatier known for its inventive flavors and dazzling designs. You might play with edible glitter, stamps or funky shapes. Plus, you get to take home all the chocolate you make—if you can wait that long to eat it.

Gelato Making
Think of gelato as ice cream’s more sophisticated older sister. You’ll discover what gives the frozen treat its luxurious texture and creamy mouthfeel in a workshop at Mia Chef Gelateria. Time in the classroom has never tasted so sweet.

Dessert Tours of Hell’s Kitchen, BroadwayGreenwich VillageChelsea and the West Village 
Finding the sweet stuff in every NYC neighborhood isn’t always a cakewalk—sometimes you need a local with insider knowledge to point out the best bites. Take advantage of your guide’s know-how on these tasting-filled walks through five of the city’s most popular neighborhoods. Trust us: You’ll leave with a sugar rush.

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