Category Archives: Doughnut

Free Donuts in Madison Square Park Today

Today, June 6, is National Donut Day.  The day was started in 1938 by the Salvation Army to honor the “Donut Lassies,” women who gave donuts to soldiers during World War I.  Entenmann’s teams up with Salvation Army to give out free donuts in Madison Square Park until 3 p.m. today.  And you can see a 7-foot replica of a red velvet doughnut too.

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Dina’s Guide to NYC Old World Bakeries

I love old world bakeries.  Whenever I visit a new city, I always look for old bakeries.  I don’t care if they look dirty or grungy from the outside, or if they have outdated signs out front.  Those signs are a sure “sign” that deliciousness awaits me inside. I feel good that I am supporting a family and the local economy as well as eating something that was made with pride and craft.  So if you are visiting NYC or if you live here, when you eat at most of the bakeries on this list, you are supporting local families and businesses that represent the history and culture of this diverse city.

In this list, I’ve tried to include all old world bakeries in Manhattan.  If I missed one, by all means, tell me about it because I’d love to go there.  (I’m focusing on the more “touristy” part of Manhattan.  This list doesn’t include Mexican or Dominican bakeries in Upper Manhattan, such as Bakery el Panadero, Capri, De Colores Bakery, Dyckman’s, D’Lillian’s, El Barrio, El Manantial, El Nazareno, Esmeraldo’s, Floridita, Grinis, Kenny Bakery, Las Americas, Mi Querido Mexico Lindo or Sweet Life Bakery.  It also doesn’t include kosher bakery Gideon’s, Hungarian Pastry Shop, Asian bakery In & Out or Ethiopian Injera Bakery.  Sounds like a bakery tour of Upper Manhattan is in order!)

I’ve written about Italian bakeries in Manhattan before in Dina’s Guide to NYC Italian Bakeries.  My favorite bakeries are old school and traditional German, Jewish and Italian ones.  There is only one German bakery and only one Jewish bakery left in Manhattan.  (As far as I know–please tell me if there are more.  There are other places to get German and Jewish baked goods, ex. Zabar’s, but not other old school bakeries.  East Broadway Kosher on Grand near Kossar’s closed, but I’m not sure if it reopened?  Last time I was there, it was closed.)  In this list I’m including bakeries that have sweet bakery items.  Following that is a list of specialty old world bakeries that make bread, knishes, bialys etc.  Many of these places are cash only, so go prepared.

moishes

Moishe’sLower East Side, Grand Street at East Broadway, and East Village, 2nd Avenue at 7th Street, Moishe’s is my favorite bakery in the city–the quintessential bakery.  I am addicted to Moishe’s.  The best hamentaschen, the best black and white cookies, the best rainbow cookies.  I’ve never had anything here that wasn’t delicious.  It’s no frills with graffiti on the window, but who cares?  I’m here for the cookies, not the decor.  They do have a new sign out front, but I’m keeping this photo of the old one.  I’ve sung the praises of Moishe’s many times. 

Poseidon Bakery

PoseidonHell’s Kitchen, 9th Avenue between 44th and 45th Streets, At 90 years old, Poseidon is still family owned and the only Greek bakery in Manhattan, and one of the last businesses in what used to be a Greek neighborhood.  Here, you can get delicious Greek goodies like baklava and cookies.  The handmade phyllo dough strudels are a must-get.  I’ve written about Poseidon before.

Glaser's

Glaser’s Bake ShopYorkville, Upper East Side, 1st Avenue at 87th Street, Family-owned since 1902, Glaser’s is the only German bakery in Manhattan in what used to be a German neighborhood.  It still turns out amazing crumb cake, jelly doughnuts and danishes.  However, it also makes American favorites like brownies too.  This is an old school bakery at its best.  Check out the beautiful wood interior and tile floor.  I’ve written about Glaser’s before.

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La DeliceKips Bay, 3rd Avenue at 27th Street, La Delice is an old school bakery with a variety of classic baked goods and beautiful cakes.  They have many colorful macarons.

Andre’s HungarianMidtown East, 1st Avenue at 57th Street and Upper East Side, 2nd Avenue at 85th Street, Andre’s is the place to go for traditional, handmade strudel and other Hungarian pastries and gorgeous cakes.

Ferrara2

FerraraLittle Italy, Grand Street at Mulberry,  Ferrara, a legendary Italian pastry shop, opened in 1892 by Enrico Scoppa and Antonio Ferrara.  The fifth-generation pastry shop gained fame when Enrico Caruso became a regular.   Ferrara’s became well-known for its cannoli and torrone.  Talk about being a kid in a candy store.  I take one look at the glass case of glistening glazed fruit atop an array of pastries in a myriad of colors, and I’m mesmerized.  The pastry case at Ferrara’s is a work of art.  When I talk to people who’ve never been to an Italian bakery, I show them pictures of Ferrara’s.  Everyone in my family will attest to Ferrara’s being the gold standard of New York Italian pastries.

Ferrara's pastries

Ferrara’s pastries

La Bella FerraraLittle Italy, Mulberry Street at Canal, is an old school bakery.  Walk in here and the waft of fresh-baked cookies fills the air.  Many are displayed in the usual bakery case but there’s also a table of cookies that reminds me of the dessert table at a family party.

Veniero's pastry

Veniero’sEast Village, East 11th Street at 1st Avenue, Veniero’s claims to be America’s oldest pastry shop, opening in 1894.  Veniero’s is also owned by Bruce Springsteen’s cousin.  It has a beautiful display of traditional Italian pastries as well as a cafe.

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Pasticceria RoccoWest Village, Bleecker Street near Carmine, is the last man standing in this old Italian neighborhood even though the pastry shop itself is not that old.  (Rocco Generoso apprenticed with the owner of a prior bakery before purchasing it and renaming it in 1974.  Now, Rocco Jr. is at the helm.)  My family came from this area, lived on Carmine Street and went to Our Lady of Pompeii Church across the street.   The big fat cookies in the window beckon you into the bakery, but get the cheesecake.  It’s the best in the city, hands down.  (Yes, better than Junior’s.)

William Greenberg DessertsUpper East Side, Madison Avenue at 82nd Street, Rugelach, black and whites, hamentaschen, rainbow cookies and Linzers…need I say more?  Oh yeah, how about black and whites in custom colors?

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Orwasher’s, Upper East Side, 78th Street at 2nd Avenue, Orwasher’s opened in 1916 and was known for its Eastern European-style bread.  The bakery got a new owner in 2007 who added other European artisanal breads, and there are still the same wonderful pastries.  Did I mention fill-to-order jelly doughnuts and the sweetest staff in NYC?

Fay Davarious locations, While I’m not an expert in Chinese baked goods, I’ve been to many bakeries in Chinatown.  Fay Da is my favorite with consistently fresh and tasty pastries.

Specialty Bakeries

Russ & DaughtersLower East Side, Houston Street at Orchard Street, Celebrating 100 years this year, Russ & Daughters is a classic NYC institution.  It is in this category because it specializes in smoked fish and also has baked goods like babka, rugelach and macaroons.  But it also serves a bit of feminist history.  As the original owner had no sons, he left his shop to his daughters, hence the name.

Kossar’sLower East Side, Grand Street at Essex Street, Kossar’s specializes in bialys.

Yonah SchimmelLower East Side, Houston Street between 1st and 2nd Avenues, Yonah Schimmel has specialized in knishes for over 100 years.

Parisi BakeryLittle Italy, two locations at Elizabeth and Mott Streets,  Family-owned for over 100 years, Parisi Bakery specializes in bread and deli sandwiches.

 

–Dina Di Maio

Two for Tuesday: King Cake and Paczki

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Happy Mardi Gras!  Growing up, we always called today Fat Tuesday.  We would eat a lot today before Lent started tomorrow.  An Italian tradition is to make very large meatballs with raisins; however, my family didn’t like the raisins so they didn’t use them.  I can get on board with the Irish tradition of pancakes or the Polish tradition of jelly doughnuts, or paczki.  I got these from the grocery store.  They were a tad stale with cheap-flavored jelly in them, but I’m sure real ones are the bomb.

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I wanted to try my hand at making a New Orleans king cake.  I read a lot of recipes beforehand, and every one is a bit different.  So I mixed and matched and came up with the following recipe.

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King Cake

For the cake:

2 packages active dry yeast (1/4 oz. each)

1/2 cup warm water (110-115 degrees F)

1/2 cup sugar

1 stick butter, softened

1/2 cup warm milk (110-115 degrees F)

2 eggs

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon grated orange peel

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

3 1/2 cups flour (may need more)

For the filling:

3/4 cup light brown sugar

1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

3/4 cup butter, softened

For the icing:

1 box powdered sugar

5-6 tablespoons milk

2 tablespoons light cream

green, purple and gold colored sugars (I bought these ready made at Target.)

For the cake, dissolve yeast in warm water.  Add 1/2 cup sugar, butter, milk, eggs, salt, orange peel, cinnamon, nutmeg, and flour.  Beat on low speed in a KitchenAid mixer with a dough hook until a dough forms.  You may have to add more flour until you see the dough is no longer sticking to the bottom of the bowl.  The dough should not be too sticky.

Knead dough on a floured surface until you have a nice dough ball.  Put dough in a bowl greased with olive oil.  Cover and let rise in a warm place.  (I wrapped it in a blanket and put it near the heat in my bedroom.)  This may take a few hours.  It should double in size.

After it doubles, punch it down and roll it into a rectangle.  I made my rectangle about 18 x 8 but you could make it longer lengthwise so that you have more flexibility to roll it into different shapes (like the Haydel’s long rectangular shape).

Spread the filling on with a spatula and leave about 1 inch around the edges.  Roll it up and then pinch to seal the edges.  Use some water to do this.  It’s a bit tricky but really make sure to do it or the filling will seep out while baking.

Put it on a plate, cover with plastic wrap and let it double in size again.

Bake at 375 degrees F on a baking sheet for 10 minutes and then 350 degrees F for 20 minutes.  Cool completely.  When cool, lift up and put plastic baby somewhere in the bottom of the cake.  (You can’t bake the baby in or it might melt.)  Drizzle with icing and sprinkle with colored sugars on top.

Two for Tuesday: Croissant Doughnuts and Bagel Balls

Is there anything better than a doughnut, a croissant or a bagel?  Can you really improve upon perfection?  Well, the popularity and the “black market” cronuts would have one believe that you can.  Having never tried a cronut, I can’t speak to them.  I have tried the knockoff at Crumbs and wasn’t impressed.  On a recent trip to the grocery store Food Emporium, I tried two of its “croissant donuts”:  strawberry and salted caramel.  At first glance, they look delicious.  Knowing that they come from Food Emporium makes one believe they will taste like grocery store baked goods.  And guess what?  They do–but in a really yummy way.  I have to say I enjoyed the cream in both of these, especially the strawberry.  I still have yet to taste an authentic cronut, but these are pretty darn good.  They have layers like a croissant but more of a doughnut flavor.

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Is this better than a doughnut or a croissant?  Well, no, I like both for different reasons.  I like my doughnuts sweet with jelly or sugar and my croissants savory with butter.  So I probably think of these more as doughnuts.

At Bantam Bagels on Bleecker Street in the West Village, the bagels are small, round balls of bagel dough filled with cream cheese…well, not always.  The takeout spot has a variety of bagels to choose from.  I got a French toast, an everything and an onion bagel.  The first thing they do is toast these in a small oven.  I wish they would ask if you want them toasted before they put them in the oven because I don’t like toasted bagels.  The French toast bagel was my favorite.  It was flavorful, cinnamony and had an ample amount of a sweet cream cheese inside.  The onion bagel had a dot of butter inside.  These were a real disappointment because they didn’t have enough cream cheese inside and some had no cream cheese at all (which I didn’t know because I made an assumption when I saw onion that it would just have cream cheese in it).  Also, the dough is hard.

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Bantam bagels are $1.35 each.  While I enjoy a little experimentation, it’s hard to justify charging a high price for something that just isn’t that great.

This idea reminded me of bagel knots from Chesapeake Bagel Bakery.  They were a pastry made from bagel dough with an icing on top.  They were delicious, but the bakery discontinued making them.

Sweets Week: Day 1: Orwasher’s Bakery

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There’s a sweet bready smell in the air at Orwasher’s Bakery. It’s as inviting as the friendly service.  Yes, it’s true, I rarely make it up to Yorkville and the Upper East Side, but Orwasher’s alone is worth a trip.  Especially for a jelly doughnut fanatic such as myself.  Orwasher’s has large pillowy doughnuts that are filled to order with your choice of strawberry, raspberry, sour cherry, blueberry or other fillings.

sour cherry jelly doughnut

sour cherry jelly doughnut

Wow, I’ve never seen filled-to-order jelly doughnuts before.  And the fillings are like preserves, not the standard blood-red goo in most commercial jelly doughnuts.

strawberry jelly doughnut

strawberry jelly doughnut

The bread looks amazing here, and I opted for a the seasonal pumpkin loaf, which was out of this world good with a little butter and sprinkle of cinnamon.

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5 Sweet Potato Recipes

Sweet potatoes are one of my favorite vegetables, and having lived in North Carolina, I’ve had my share of them!  Each Thanksgiving, I make sweet potato pie and sweet potato casserole.  And I’ve joined the sweet potato fries craze.  Here are some delicious-looking sweet potato recipes that I’d like to try.  Enjoy!

Crispy sweet potato fries from Chocolate-Covered Katie

photo used with permission of Chocolate-Covered Katie

photo used with permission of Chocolate-Covered Katie

Sweet potato and apple kugel from Cuisineous

photo used with permission of Cuisineous

photo used with permission of Cuisineous

Sweet potato donuts from Acute Designs

photo used with permission of Acute Designs

photo used with permission of Acute Designs

Sweet potato cupcakes with marshmallow fluff topping from The Shabby Creek Cottage

photo used with permission of The Shabby Creek Cottage

photo used with permission of The Shabby Creek Cottage

Sweet potato parmigiana bites salad from Fuss Free Cooking

photo used with permission of Fuss Free Cooking

photo used with permission of Fuss Free Cooking

Crumbnuts at Crumbs

crumbnut sign

OMG Crumbnuts are here! screams the sign outside a Crumbs store in Midtown.  I’m not sure if Crumbs was preparing for a long line outside to rival the line at Dominique Ansel’s bakery, but there were plenty of crumbnuts on the shelf at 2 p.m. in the afternoon.  There are three varieties available of crumbnuts:  plain, powdered sugar and Bavarian cream.  I opted for powdered sugar, although I can tell you the Bavarian cream looked like the most popular, as it was nearly out.

crumbnut

Maybe I should’ve gotten the Bavarian because the outside of this one was a bit hard, as if it were getting stale.  The inside had more give and tasted fresher.

crumbnut inside

It tasted like a grocery store doughnut that’s very airy.  It’s not very impressive.  I’d opt for the cupcakes at Crumbs.  They have some great-looking ones for the season like pumpkin and apple.  They also have some Italian-bakery-inspired cupcakes like cannoli and rainbow cookie with a mini cannoli and mini rainbow cookie on top.  I am curious to try the Cronut from Dominique Ansel, but I just can’t get myself to get up that early and really can’t wait in line that long.