We’re honestly not trying to take anything away from the Willy Wonka-esque genius of pastry chef Dominique Ansel. But considering the madcap frenzy that ensues every time he debuts a new creation, he might as well just mix flour and butter together and market it as the second coming of sweets. And besides, we’ve been enjoying cleverly conceived hybrid pastries in this borough before the Cronut was even a twinkle in Ansel’s eye.
So here are a few of our favorites; and no, you don’t need to stand on a three-hour line in order to try them.
The Brookster at Baked: If forced to take sides between crispy, dippable cookies and dense, fudgy brownies, we’d probably fall in the brownie camp (especially if they have nuts). But there’s no need to pledge your allegiance either way at Baked. Consider the Brookster the Switzerland of sweets; a decadent, cakey brownie cup with chewy, chocolate chunk cookie dough baked right into the top.
359 Van Brunt St., (718) 222-0345
The Chicken and Waffles Cupcake at Robicelli’s: If anyone could effectively translate one of our favorite soul food dishes to buttercream- frosted cupcake form, it’s the never-say-die Robicelli’s. The vanilla “waffle” base serves as pedestal for a craggy nugget of maple syrup doused fried chicken, which can be eaten together in one balls-to-the-wall bite, or plucked off and enjoyed separately as a savory snack. Either way, it’s a balanced meal; right?
9009 5th Ave., (917) 509-6048
The Mutt at SCRATCHbread: We’re wowed by everything that comes out of Matthew Tilden’s magic oven. Turkey meatball-stuffed pizza bread. Chai sticky buns with honey, oat and date butter. But there’s a reason the pleasantly musky-smelling Mutt has become a signature SCRATCH item. Like a genetically diverse pup, Tilden’s bread baby is a confluence of wonderful things; focaccia, rye and whole wheat dough crusted with whole black peppercorns and savory caraway seeds.
1069 Bedford Ave., (917) 803-5773
The Lemon Meringue Donut at Dough: Lemon meringue pie is essentially our favorite dessert ever, and we’ve never met a yeast-risen donut we didn’t like. Dominique Ansel may have spent months perfecting his Magic Soufflé recipe, but Fany Gerson makes deep-fried, citrus curd-filled dough discs crowned with jaunty, toasted meringue hats. Who’s the genius now?
448 Lafayette Ave., (347) 533-7544
Apple Cider Flower at Bakeri: What do you get when an apple cider donut makes sweet, sweet love to a cinnamon roll? The fragrant pastry “flower” at this Norwegian-accented Williamsburg bakery; a moist, apple-y, cinnamon-y swirl that just begs to be dunked in a Counter Culture cortado or cup of Scarlett Glo-hanssen (hibiscus and elderflower tea).
150 Wythe Ave., (718) 388-8037
The Cinco Leches Cake at La Gran Via Bakery: Anyone can make a tres leches cake, but this pioneering Sunset Park bakery has added two extra leches! Cray! It’s Brooklyn for the win, Ansel.
4516 5th Ave., (718) 853-8021