Don't let the name fool you: butter cookies are made from more than just butter. At Cutest Cookies, each nut-free, from-scratch batch incorporates 10 ingredients, including vanilla, flour, and meringue powder. Customers determine every cookie's color, shape, and design, ranging from wedding cookies decorated like tuxedos and dresses to birthday cookies ornamented with replicated pictures of the birthday boy or girl.
Bakers make the order one to two days before a customer's event, hand-decorating each cookie with individually mixed icing colors. To ensure freshness, they place every cookie in a cellophane bag fastened with a matching ribbon. If left in original packaging, an airtight container, or your mouth unchewed, the cookies will stay fresh for an entire month.
At Mother Mousse, a corset, a caterpillar, and a Christmas tree all have something in common—they each belong to the virtually countless selection of cookie designs that the staff can create. The bakers just as meticulously build layer cakes for up to 45 people, slathering the space between each pillowy sheet with such fillings as chocolate mousse, irish crème, and fresh fruit with vanilla pastry cream. Just as with their cookies, they finish each cake with an iced design. They can even transfer images onto cake tops, creating a fully personalized dessert for a guest of honor or a perfectly normal photo album for a family of Candyland characters.
Though Bagel Hole opened in 1985, the staff’s knowledge of the old-fashioned hand-rolled art form goes back to the 1940s. That’s when their teacher began making bagels as a young man in Germany, and it’s his expertise that still guides their craft today. The staff uses all-natural ingredients to make 11 types of bagels, which are all hand-rolled, boiled, and baked until they reach a crispy, golden-brown exterior and chewy, hot insides. To bedeck the rings, they add slices of nova lox or slather them with cream-cheese spreads such as fresh scallion and walnut-and-raisin. For afternoon staff makes it a point to pile Boar's Head cold-cuts high, or stuff sandwiches with the same amount of fresh-made whitefish salad found in a typical teddy bear.
The old-fashioned bagel-making methods take more time, but they've paid off. CBS hailed Bagel Hole as one of the top six bagel shops in the city, and the staff of Serious Eats awarded them the coveted title of best bagel in New York.
Here at The Bagel Store, bagels are a true labor of love. We hand-roll every bagel using old fashioned techniques that have been handed Down from generation to generation using only the best ingredients -- the true Brooklyn way.
When Al Gore teaches you about climate protection, you'll probably pay attention. That’s what happened to one of the owners of Little Cupcake Bakeshop, who was personally trained by the former Vice President to become a certified climate lecturer through his Climate Reality Project. The effects of these lessons make themselves evident in the eco-friendly confines of each LCB shop. “Our customers are loyal, because they know their money is going to support stuff like this,” co-owner Luigi LoBuglio told The New York Times in an article that detailed the shop’s conservation efforts. LoBuglio forgot to mention that his customers' loyalty might also hinge on the decadent flavors their money buys them.
With sustainable ingredients often sourced from farms in Vermont, New Jersey, the Hudson Valley, and the Catskills, the Little Cupcake Bakeshop churns out a full menu of earth-conscious sweets. Tufts of rich frosting bedeck cupcakes in flavors such as luscious lemon, peanut butter and jelly, and Southern red velvet; many of the same flavors can be used to make three-layer cakes. Spoons dive into ice cream and old-fashioned banana pudding, though they can also be used to stir mugs of nutella cappuccino and organic Oregon Chai lattes. While in the shop, customers can peruse a selection of bags, bears, and t-shirts emblazoned with the logo for FEED, a charity established by model and activist Lauren Bush to help provide food for schoolchildren around the world.
Putting your foot in your mouth can be embarrassing, but for Shannon Pridgen, putting shoes into other people's mouths is a career. Shannon sculpts customized cakes entirely out of sugar at Heavenly Crumbs, and several of her clients have requested desserts in the shape of designer high heels. Sometimes, the shoes even come with a handbag to match. The master baker channels her pastry arts degree to craft each unique order, personalizing the design, flavor, filling, and frosting. She can bake spice or red velvet cakes with the same ease as yellow or chocolate ones, and infuses them with sweet layers of ganache, buttercream, or mixed berries. She also readily adjusts her recipes to accommodate dietary restrictions.
Shannon's artistic flair honors most any vision; in the past, she has shaped boxing gloves, a sewing machine, and a freestanding elephant out of delectable batter. She complements these creations with elegant wedding cakes and monogrammed birthday cakes, all made from scratch instead of molded around stacks of Frisbees. At her bakery, guests can peruse confections aside from her specialty cakes, including cookies, scones, and cupcakes—some dressed in her signature passion fruit frosting.