Dessert Quest: NYC

Off Duty

New York City, or should I say New Fork City, is the prime place to get desserts with an insane number of choices in its many neighborhoods.  What all of these places has made me discover is that NYC definitely has the best options for treating yourself, but at these prices, some are better than others. As a dessert junkie, you can trust me when I outline which places are my favorites and must visits!

MUST TRY (definitely make time for these)

Levain Bakery has only one location on 167 West 74th street, which can be a bit of a haul depending on where you are coming from especially considering they close at 7 PM. They also tend to have a little bit of a line, but trust me, despite all of these things it is TOTALLY worth it. Even at $4 a pop, these cookies are a good purchase since they are massive, served warm and gooey and just unbelievably delicious. I have tried their chocolate walnut, double chocolate and the chocolate peanut butter. Of these, double chocolate was my favorite. Definitely go here!

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NYC has by far the best doughnuts that I have ever eaten. I am not sure I will even be able to enjoy any doughnuts back home again. I have tried doughnuts at three different locations being the Doughnut Project, Doughnut Plant and Dough Doughnuts. All of these places are very good and similar size as well as pricing wise (around $3 per doughnut). Of them, the Doughnut Project is my favorite due to their unique flavors. The kind pictured here is the lemon sea salt and probably my absolute favorite doughnut ever. I love lemon desserts and the sea salt perfectly offset the sweetness. Other interesting flavors they have on the menu include olive oil and black pepper as well as beets and ricotta cheese. Make sure to arrive somewhat early as they will sell out. Be sure to try at least one of these three doughnut shops while in the city!

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Baked by Melissa is the home of tiny treats that only cost $1 each. This is definitely the cheapest dessert you will find in NYC and an awesome option if you are trying to watch your calories. I got these two mini macarons and one mini cupcake all for only $3. Beyond the cheap price, they were really delicious and they have a lot of fun flavors. Make sure to grab a quick bite here.


The famous Ladurée initially drew me in due to its featuring on Gossip Girl, but they really do make by far the best macarons I have ever had. Plus their setup and displays are just adorable.


My favorite ice cream shop is probably Emack and Bolio’s. They have a huge list of flavors and my favorite is called “Cookie Monster”, which is a vanilla base with Oreos and cookie dough. They also have a bunch of different cones so I picked the fruity pebbles one. Their serving size gives you a decent amount of ice cream here, which is awesome!

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STILL DELICIOUS (if you’re going on an extended vacation or if you just have a sweet tooth, try these)

The Milk Bar has absolutely amazing truffles. Their birthday cake flavor is to die for and you get three for around $4. I am curious about their other desserts as well. Their most famous dessert is their cereal milk soft serves.


Chloe’s is a soft serve fruit is a more healthy dessert option if you opt for their plain fruit flavors. However, life is short so I got one of their sundaes. This is the crunchy salty option which has chocolate, peanut butter, bananas and pretzels. If you are a fan of the salty and sweet combo then you must try this! The best bites are where you get a little bit of everything.


Going to the Magnum ice cream store in NYC is definitely an experience, with a fancy interior and Instagram-ready booths for you to take a photo of your ice cream in (yeah, seriously). For those unfamiliar, you select your ice cream base, your chocolate coating and three toppings. The result is definitely tasty, but I wish it was a little cheaper especially considering the base bars that they use are the prepackaged ones you can buy at a store. You’re paying for the experience here, but it’s definitely worth a try or going to once in a while if you live in the city.


The ice cream flavors at ICE & VICE are experimental and unlike anything you have ever tasted (see their menu here). I ordered Milk Money which is toasted milk, sea salt and chocolate ganache. I’m not going to even try and explain how it’s so good, but trust me it is. My only complaint is that the small is small. So my advice is, you’re going out to eat anyways, I recommend sizing up. Just be warned that if you want to create an elaborate concoction like the ones you have seen from the viral online images, it will cost you more. All in all, definitely worth a go.

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IF IN NYC FOR LONGER (awesome places, but not worth scrambling to if you only have a couple of days)

Sprinkles Cupcakes has locations in cities besides New York too, but I definitely recommend going to one at some point. They have cupcake ATMS where you can make a selection out of their many flavors and it pops out, super adorable! Otherwise, they also have a store if you want to pay cash or grab some of their ice cream. The frosting on their cupcakes is really good!

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I think that I waited in line at 10Below ice cream in Chinatown for around 45 minutes and I am not sure it was worth waiting that long, I’d try to find a time when the line is shorter. However, it is definitely a unique experience. This is part of the rolled ice cream trend and it is awesome to watch them make it front of you. You also get unlimited toppings onto your sundae and at $6, these sundaes are already huge making them definitely worth the cost. I got the Strawberry Shawty with teddy graham, strawberry, banana and whipped cream. I honestly think that the only reason I did not love this place is because of the wait. Definitely check it out if you have time to spare.


An edible cookie dough shop called Cookie DO Confections offers confections that are very yummy when eaten raw, but they can be baked as well. I got the kind with milk and white chocolate chips as well as sprinkles.


I visited another cookie bakery called Schmackary’s. This one is more known for its non-traditional flavors such as chocolate covered pretzel or sweet corn (super weird). I tried one of their seasonal kinds, birthday party, which was quite good. I also got a traditional chocolate chip and what made this cookie unique was the sea salt in it, which made for a great salty/sweet combination.


A cheaper alternative to the Magnum store is Popbar. This is a gelato/yogurt/sorbet pop shop where you can buy one pre-made or build your own. I got a chocolate covered coffee one, which was perfect on a hot day. You can get more toppings than this if you so choose but you pay by weight.

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Most of us have seen the post on Buzzfeed that has circulated about Black Tap’s shakes and it was good. However, I am not sure that it was worth a 5o minute wait and almost $20 for this shake. That’s a wait on the shorter side too, I have heard of people waiting over two hours. Unlike other places, you can’t just put your name in either you have to stand there. I also was a little disappointed because I had heard the size of them was so big that you HAD to split it with two people so I came on an empty stomach, but I had no trouble at all finishing mine on my own. It was a little disappointing but I would say still worth splurging on at least once if you live in the city.

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If you are looking for a larger, more decadent dessert than I would recommend Brooklyn Farmacy. This old school style restaurant has a big menu of large sundaes including many that have hot desserts. I got “Cookie Monster” which had mint chocolate ice cream, whipped cream and chocolate chip cookies.

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All in all, my sweet tooth is very satisfied in this city. My only complaint is that sometimes the cost is a little above what you’re getting, but hey rewarding yourself is definitely necessary every once and awhile so I hope that this helped outline your decision making. Remember, you’re worth it, treat yourself.


Kelsey Knepler


2 thoughts on “Dessert Quest: NYC

  1. certifiedpastryaficionado says:

    Omg! I am so jealous of your NYC Dessert adventures!!! Doughnut Plant is on my bucket list, for sure. I mean, a Tres Leches doughnut?! I have to. And I love La Duree. First macarons I ever had and are still in my top 2. Glad you got to try them!!

    Liked by 1 person

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