Brooklyn’s Best Breakfast Pastries

SCRATCHbread’s Pecan Sticky Rolls
SCRATCHbread’s Pecan Sticky Rolls
All photos by Jane Bruce

It’s a funny thing about breakfast—we’re told time and again that it’s the most important meal of the day, and yet, it’s the only one where it’s actually entirely acceptable to eat muffins, scones and sticky buns (i.e., cake, cake, and cake). So maybe our moms, teachers and doctors are merely advising us against Pop-Tarts, or those crappy, plastic-wrapped danishes sold at the counter of corner delis, and recommending we jump-start our day with a selection of top tier sweets instead, such as the almond croissants at Runner & Stone, or monkey buns at Buttermilk Bakeshop.

SCRATCHbread’s Pecan Sticky Rolls: So the thing is, sticky buns are never actively undelicious—and seriously, who’s not a little bit obsessed with those Pillsbury tubes you whack against the counter? But if anyone knows how to make a great thing obscenely better, it’s the rolling pin-wielding geniuses at SCRATCHbread, who coat their gooey twists of dough with candied pecans and a complex blood orange caramel, infused with ground chilies, black pepper and heady chai spice.

1069 Bedford Avenue, Bed-Stuy

Ovenly’s Cheddar-Mustard Scones: Now that they’ve got an outpost on the East River Ferry, there are multiple opportunities to start your morning right with Ovenly, and their not-too-sweet, Eastern Europe-inspired treats. Although you might want to pick up a tin of breath mints to pair with the pleasantly sharp cheddar-mustard scone—there’s still a whole day of work in front of you, after all.

31 Greenpoint Avenue, Greenpoint

Brooklyn Kolache Co.’s Kolaches: Owner Autumn Stanford introduced Brooklyn to these Czechoslovakian pastries, which are hugely popular in her home state of Texas. Made with a puffy, slightly chewy yeast dough, the kolaches come in a number of sweet and savory variations, including strawberry, apricot, lemon curd, kielbasa, sausage and jalapeno, ham and cheddar and pimento cheese.

520 Dekalb Avenue, Bed-Stuy

Buttermilk Bakeshop’s Monkey Buns: This relatively new bakery is located steps away from Park Slope’s 7th Avenue subway; perfect for commuters in need of an early morning sugar fix. They’ve got the usual suspects—all perfectly tasty—such as blueberry muffins and dried cherry scones, but there’s a reason the monkey bread has quickly emerged as a signature item; diminutive cinnamon rolls crowned with crunchy pecans and molten, caramelized bananas.

339 7th Avenue, Park Slope

Nine Chains’ Bread Pudding: We didn’t recently name Nine Chains Brooklyn’s best new bakery for nothing. The team behind the Farm on Adderley makes unimpeachable baguettes, brioche and boules at this Ditmas Park spot, using local, organic flours and grains. But unless you’re cool with tearing into a loaf on the subway, go for the savory, single-serving bread pudding instead, studded with seasonal goodies like corn and shell peas.

1111 Church Avenue, Prospect Park South 

Lily Bloom’s Egg Custard Tarts: These small Chinese pastries consisting of scarcely sweet egg custard in a pie shell can be an acquired taste for some… but the tarts at Lily Bloom, located in Bath Beach (Brooklyn’s fast-growing new Chinatown), are a paragon of form; fresh from the oven with silken, wobbly centers and a delicate, buttery crust.

2220 86th Street, Bath Beach

Runner & Stone’s Almond Croissant: There are so many subpar specimens masquerading as croissants, it can be easy to forget what a good one really tastes like. But unsurprisingly, Runner and Stone (co-owned by former Per Se baker, Peter Endriss), serves the real deal, using local, high-fat butter to form an ethereal dough, that’s been fermented for over 24 hours.

285 3rd Avenue, Gowanus

Leske’s Kringle: Since it’s not a generally accepted practice to eat black and white cookies for breakfast, why not pick up one of Leske’s equally infamous kringle instead; an iced, pretzel-shaped Scandinavian pastry, ideally filled with custard and cream.

7612 5th Avenue, Bay Ridge

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