Appetizers are nice and entrées are essential, but we
adore dessert. For real — we feel about ice cream and cookies and brownies the way Liz Lemon feels about her night cheese. A day without something sweet is like a day without joy.
Ahead, find New York City's most jaw-dropping, happiness-inducing desserts — from legendary chocolate babka to a classic banana split. These treats aren't just memorable; they are worth every single delicious calorie. Fair warning: We're not sharing!
Red Velvet, Birthday Cake, & Matcha Croissants At Union Fare Bakery
Among its industrial chic eatery and ample amounts of food stands, Union Fare also boasts a bakery with some bomb croissants. Not your average pain au chocolat, these buttery-flakey pastries are filled with a trio of amped up flavors: red velvet, birthday cake, and matcha; Delicate, sweet, and entirely Insta-worthy.
Union Fare, 6 E. 18th Street (between 5th Avenue and Broadway); 212-633-6003. Photo: Via @nomnom_boston. More
Ring Dings At Ring Ding Bar
What's a ring ding? Simply a tiny little creme-filled cake with a fudge-y frosted coating (made famous by Hostess) — and leave it to NYC's Ring Ding Bar to gourmet up this snack cake's game.
Chopped champ Madeline Lanciani, owner and head pastry chef, has filled this Tribeca sweet shop with flavor upon flavor of fluffy, filled, and coated layer cakes (think chocolate-covered cherry, Nutella, lemon crème, PB&J, and more). We are swooning.
Ring Ding Bar, 181 Duane Street (between Greenwich and Hudson Street). Photo: Via @nycdining. More
Ube Ice Cream At Soft Swerve What is ube? Oh, just a purple yam. And now you can get your paws on the soft-served variety at NYC's Soft Swerve in the LES. Try swirling it with the other matcha, black sesame, or vanilla flavors and then topping it all off with some mochi or freeze-dried strawberries. Cone options? Black chocolate or red cinnamon. Not your mama's Mister Softie.
Soft Swerve, 85 Allen Street (at Broome Street); 646-476-6311. Photo: Via @ indulgenteats. More
Doughnut Holes At Flex Mussels If you stop by Flex Mussels in Manhattan, you better be in for more than simply seafood. The doughnut collection is something to marveled at with nine different flavors (fluffernutter, PB&J, cinnamon sugar, salted caramel, chocolate, wild blueberry, meyer lemon, raspberry, and s'mores) and one hell of a dipping sauce (strawberry vanilla bean). The crowds may come for the mussels, but they definitely stick around for these delectable doughy treats.
Flex Mussels, Multiple locations in Manhattan. Photo: @ lick_your_plate_. More
Marshmallows At Squish Small-batch, hand-cut, and located right in smack in the middle of Manhattan's bustling Saint Marks Place, Squish is serving the marshmallow market some major sweetness. With flavors ranging from Birthday Party to Mocha Chip, S'Mores, Peanut Butter Jelly, and many more, every decision at this fluffy dessert bar is bound to be a magical one.
Squish Marshmallows, 120 St. Marks Place (between Avenue A and 1st Avenue); 646-896-1667. Photo: Via @ giltcity. More Read More
Sugar Cookie Dough At DŌ DŌ in Manhattan's Greenwich Village is much like your ordinary corner scoop shop. Only instead of ice cream cones, they're serving up cookie dough cones. And this isn't an imitation situation, this dough is real and raw — so die hard dough-ers can indulge in public (instead of sneaking bites from bake bowls at home). The flavor options are rich, but OG sugar cookie is where it's at (and can also be ordered gluten-free, vegan, or grain-free).
DŌ, 550 LaGuardia Place (at W. 3rd Street); 646-892-3600. Photo: Via @taylormillerphoto. More
Face Cookies at Cupcake Market Looking to consume dessert, but also a little pop culture while you're at it? Look no further than Cupcake Market's face cookies. Featuring the likes of Drake and Kim K., these sugary sweets are edible pop art; Imagine if Andy Warhol was still alive and got into the baking business. You used to, you used to.
Cupcake Market, 74 E. 7th Street (between 1st and 2nd Avenue); 646-861-1274. Photo: Via @ hannsnyder. More
Matcha Lava Cookies At Spot Dessert Bar This St. Marks spot is home to a smorgasbord of the all the weird and wonderful desserts of your wildest dreams. Our favorite at the moment? The matcha lava cookies: A thick and chocolatey brownie-like cookie thats been delightfully stuffed with a melty matcha filling.
Spot Dessert Bar, 13 St Marks Place (between 2nd and 3rd Avenue); 212-677-5670. Photo: Via @oyuxi. More
Birthday Cake At Momofuku Milk Bar Momofuku's birthday cake has become legendary to foodies across the city (and states). The Milk Bar reimagined and reinvented a childhood favorite, turning a store-bought funfetti box mix and turning it into all food-obsessed millennial's celebratory sweet of choice. And the flavor nostalgia is just as good as you'd imagine: Vanilla rainbow cake layered with rainbow cake crumbs and topped with vanilla frosting.
Momofuku Milk Bar, multiple locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Photo: Via @ milkbarstore. More
Bite-Sized Desserts at Mini Melanie Mini Melanie in Brooklyn expertly dishes out handmade cake-filled truffles. These bite-sized treats incorporate freshly baked fillings and artfully decorated chocolate shells in an array of whimsical flavors (with prim names): E.g. The rainbow "Zoe" or the snickerdoodle "Sophie".
Mini Melanie, 630 Flushing Avenue (at Kent Avenue) in Brooklyn; 347-766-6779. Photo: Via @ ahawkz. More
Gelato at Il Laboratorio del Gelato The mad scientists behind this gelato laboratory in NYC's LES have created a whopping 200 flavor menu. We're talking 200 different house-made, creamy-frozen treats to fulfill any and all of your wildest dessert dreams. A fan of Turkish figs? There's a flavor for that. What about lavender honey? Yes, a flavor for that too. And don't forget to try a scoop of the pink peppercorn — it's lit.
Il Laboratorio del Gelato, 188 Ludlow Street (at East Houston ); 212- 343-9922. Photo: Via @ mmyfallonh. More
Cake Pop at William Greenberg Desserts William Greenberg has perfected the cake pop, 2.0 — and we're not talking your run-of-the-mill pre-packaged Starbucks purchase. Take your pick from red velvet, peanut butter, or chocolate and sweet potato (say what?!). Dipped in rich icing options and coated with sweet, sweet sprinkles. These decadent treats are less pop and more cake, still on a stick.
William Greenberg Desserts, 1100 Madison Avenue ( at East 83rd Street); 212- 861-1340. Photo: Via @ foodintheair. More
Brioche Bun Ice Cream Sandwich at OddFellows Ice Cream The rich ice cream offerings at OddFellows in NYC reach their peak premium with the brioche bun ice cream sandy. Imagine this: Layers of frosted cream pressed lovingly between a soft and sweet brioche bun and drizzled with velvety caramel sauce. Still have your socks on? Then how about topping all of that off with an ample dusting of rainbow sprinkles? Didn't think so.
OddFellows Ice Cream, 175 Kent Avenue (at North 3rd Street); 347- 599-0556. Photo: Via @ nyceeeeeats. More
Cereal Ice Cream At Kith Treats NYC's first cereal bar and cafe, Kith is delectably unique and effortlessly cool. Churning out over 20 different cereals, toppings, and multiple milk options (in addition to ice cream), your childhood breakfast and dessert mashup dreams are a nearly endless reality. We'll be having the Cookie Crisp with cheesecake bites and some vanilla soft serve, please.
Kith Treats, 233 Flatbush Avenue (at Bergen Street); 347- 889-6114. Photo: Via @ kithtreats. More
L'île Flottante At Le Coq Rico Translating to "the floating island," Le Coq Rico's l'île flottante is quite the sweet's spectacle. Artfully crafted with soft meringue, red praline, and creme anglaise, this French delicacy makes a stunning splash in the NYC's dessert scene.
Le Coq Rico, 30 East 20th Street (between Park Avenue S. and Broadway); 212-267-7426. Photo: Via @ lecoqriconyc. More
Cheesecake At Junior's A Brooklyn-born dessert institution, Junior's has been serving up these slices of heaven since the 1950s. So, how does one whip up one of NYC's best treats? Try some premium cream cheese, whipping cream, eggs, a dash of vanilla, all hand-mixed together, and you've got yourself the densest, creamiest cake in all the Big Apple land.
Junior's Cheesecake, 386 Flatbush Avenue(at DeKalb Avenue); 718-852-5257. Photo: Via @ doughdoughnuts. More
Soft Serve With Hello Kitty Cotton Candy At Ruimilk Just when we thought we'd seen every ice cream combo trend in the book — Ruimilk hits us with this cotton-candy-character-soft-serve situation. And if you haven't already spotted one of these cute concoctions on your social media feeds, perhaps it's time to take a trip to Flushing for an IRL experience. From Hello Kitty, Minions, storm clouds, and much more, this strange sweets spot has it all.
Ruimilk, 136-49 Roosevelt Avenue (at Lippman Plaza) in Flushing.
Photo: Via @ Ruimilk. More
Rolled Ice Cream Sandwiches At I-CE NY Recently, rolled ice cream has exploded onto the social scene — but I-CE NY is taking this foodie trend to whole new heights. They've jumped on the ice cream sandwich train and tucked their frozen rolls in between a sweet bun, and flavor-coordinated with fresh berries! We crown this double dessert trend, an icy masterpiece.
I-CE NY, 101 Macdougal Street (between Bleecker Street and Minetta Lane); 917-388-3851. Photo: Via @ i_ce_ny. More
Salty Pimp At Big Gay Ice Cream Big Gay Ice Cream is a downtown NYC dessert institution. Beginning as a colorful truck doling out frosty treats, BGIC expanded into two rooted locations within the East and West Village. It's a must visit for the Salty Pimp cone, one of their classic funky flavors: chocolate-dipped vanilla with dulce de leche and sea salt.
Big Gay Ice Cream, Multiple locations in Manhattan. Photo: Courtesy of Big Gay Ice Cream. More
Brooklyn Blackout At Doughnut Plant If you haven't had a doughnut from NYC's Doughnut Plant, you haven't been living. This lower east side originator has been churning out sweet baked dough since 1994 (with family business roots all the way back to the early 1900s). The Brooklyn Blackout is a classic: chocolate filled with chocolate, dipped in chocolate, and sprinkled with more chocolate.
Doughnut Plant, Multiple locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Photo: Courtesy of Doughnut Plant. More
Doughnut Ice Cream Sandwich At Holey Cream Foodie Instagram feeds have been flooded with doughnut ice cream sandwiches — but NYC's Holey Cream is doing the tasty trend right. This Hell's Kitchen sweet spot offers a "build-your-own" bar, so you can concoct the flavor medley of your wildest dessert dreams.
Holey Cream, 796 9th Avenue (at W. 53rd Street); 212-247-8400.
Photo: Courtesy of Holey Cream. More
Matcha Sesame Swirl Ice Cream At Taiyaki Taiyaki is the trendy Japanese ice cream parlor that's set up shop in Manhattan's Little Italy (and our Instagram feeds). The delectable soft serve is swirled atop a traditional Taiyaki cone (i.e. a crispy fish shaped cake filled with red bean paste). If you plan on stopping by, be prepared to wait in line — these cool fish are in high demand.
Taiyaki NYC, 119 Baxter Street (between Hester and Canal Street); 212-966-2882. Photo: Courtesy of Taiyaki NYC. More
Everything Black Ice Cream Sandwich At Ice & Vice This ice cream sandwich combines two of the Big Apple's ultimate flavor classics: everything bagels and black-and-white cookies. The mastermind behind the melty mashup is Kossar's Bagels & Bialys — they've teamed up with Ice & Vice for this salty sweet NYC mega treat.
Ice & Vice, 221 East Broadway (at Clinton Street); 646-678-3687. Photo: Courtesy of Ice & Vice. More
Black Tap Milkshake This ain't no ordinary milkshake. Black Tap is whipping up the mega milkshakes of your wildest dreams, ranging from $7 to $12 a pop. Think layers of frozen cream, fudge, doughnuts, sprinkles, candy, slices of cake, and so much more. You'll definitely want to bring a friend (or two) to share one of these milky monsters.
Black Tap, 529 Broome Street (between Sullivan and Thompson streets); 917-639-3089. Photo: Courtesy of Black Tap More
Ooey Gooey Butter Cake at Ample Hills Creamery If you have yet to taste the ice cream brilliance that is Ample Hills Creamery, go immediately. The inventive flavors range from Snap Mallow Pop (marshmallow flavored ice cream with rice crispy treat chunks) to Baby I Was Churned This Way! (salted hazelnut flavored ice cream with rainbow-chocolate covered sunflower seeds). But, the creamiest and dreamiest of all is the famous Ooey Gooey Butter Cake (it's all in the name).
Ample Hills Creamery, 305 Nevins Street (at the corner of Union Street), Gowanus; 347-725-4061 Photo: Courtesy of Ample Hills Creamery. More
Cookie Shots At Dominique Ansel Bakery The cronut is a household name at this point, but there are still lots of reasons to drop by Dominique Ansel's Soho bakery. His cookie shots, which are served starting at 3 p.m., are meant to be a twist on an after-school snack. The ooey-gooey cookie cup is coated in chocolate to make it water-tight, then filled with a shot of vanilla-infused milk. And, unlike its more famous sibling, you don't have to get up at the crack of dawn to get one.
Dominique Ansel Bakery, 189 Spring Street (Between Sullivan and Thompson Streets); 212-219-2773. Photo: Courtesy of Dominique Ansel Bakery. More
Banana Pudding At Magnolia Bakery Magnolia Bakery might be better known for its cupcakes, but the real treat is the banana pudding. Rich, creamy, and full of fresh fruit, it's the perfect decadent sweet. It comes in classic banana or chocolate-banana, and we suggest trying them both!
Magnolia Bakery, multiple locations. Photo: Courtesy of Magnolia Bakery. More
Pate De Fruit & Olive Oil Ice Cream At Betony This simple but delectable dessert will have your mouth watering for days. The seasonal dish has fresh watermelon and cucumber fruit jewels topped with three small scoops of olive oil ice cream. Seconds, anyone?
Betony, 41 West 57th Street (between 5th and 6th avenues); 212- 465-2400. Photo: Courtesy of Betony. More
Tarte Tatin For 2 At Gotham Bar and Grill Available at one of New York's best restaurants, this Tarte Tatin is beautiful and delicious. This puffy apple pastry is brought out whole first for the lucky diners to glimpse at before being taken back and cut in the kitchen. While it's a bit pricey at $28, it's totally worth the cash.
Gotham Bar and Grill, 12 East 12th Street (between Fifth Avenue and University Place); 212-620-4020. Photo: Courtesy of Gotham Bar and Grill More
Coconut Cake At Miss Lily's This Jamaican hot spot offers a selection of especially delicious sweets, but their coconut cake is the standout of the dessert tray. It's a moist white slide topped with frosting and toasted coconut bits — a.k.a. a must try.
Miss Lily's, 132 West Houston Street (at Sullivan Street); 212-812-1482. Photo: Courtesy of Miss Lily's. More
S'mores At Marc Forgione Urban campfires aren't easy to come by. The s'mores by pastry chef Veronica Rivera at Tribeca's Marc Forgione is a wonderful replacement. It's a gorgeous dish, but doesn't sacrifice authenticity: Crunchy graham cracker, gooey toasted marshmallows, and melty-chocolate are all represented. More proof that the dessert doesn't branch out too much: It's plated with a twig.
Marc Forgione, 134 Reade Street (between Hudson and Greenwich streets); 212-941-9401. Photo: Courtesy of Marc Forgione. More
Local Apple Pie At Bubby's The Big Apple has a lot of specialties. Funnily enough, apple pie is not one of them (you'll have more luck with cheesecake). The pie at Bubby's is an unforgettable exception to this rule. It's spiced with cinnamon, cloves, lemon zest, and is double-crusted, because it's the real, down-home deal.
Bubby's, Multiple Locations. Photo: Courtesy of Bubby's. More
Chocolate Green Tea Lava Cake At Spot Dessert Bar Green tea ganache and molten chocolate get super cozy in this decadent East-meets-West dessert. Spot operates on a 'Dessert Tapas' concept, which is a glorious excuse to treat sugar like Lilly Pulitzer for Target — take everything and don't look back. The cake comes with a delicate scoop of green tea ice cream to cool down your taste buds after they erupt.
Spot Dessert Bar, Multiple Locations. Photo: Courtesy of Spot Dessert Bar. More
Brown Sugar Panna Cotta At The Dessert Club by ChikaLicious This brand new West Village dessert club operates on the concept that appealing to your sweet tooth can be a full-service affair. Here, bakery items are available to-go, while a menu of haute creations are served plated with wine pairings. Prepped with house-made sorbet and fruit from the farmer's market, the panna cotta (which is also gluten-free!) is so fresh and airy, that eating it could only be more heavenly on a cloud. Flavors change seasonally, too, so you'll never, ever tire of its goodness.
The Dessert Club, 27 Bedford Street (at Downing Street); 212-691-2426. Photo: Courtesy of The Dessert Club. More
Chocolate Babka At Breads Bakery It's easy to have a love affair with the delectable goodness at this Union Square bakery, with its flaky top, soft, doughy brioche insides, and chocolate (mixed with Nutella) that oozes richness and happiness with every single bite. It's Eastern European comfort food at its finest (and sweetest), and it might just be the best babka in New York City (or dare we say, the world?).
Breads Bakery, 18 East 16th Street (between Union Square West and Fifth Avenue); 212-633-2253. Photo: Via @ breadsbakery More
Oversized Cookies At Levain Bakery You don't need to be a cookie connoisseur to recognize the award-worthy quality goods here. First things first, they're huge. Massive. And, they come in flavors like chocolate chip walnut and dark chocolate peanut butter chip. So, it's no surprise that there's typically a line going out the door. We promise they're worth the wait.
Levain Bakery, 167 West 74th Street (at Amsterdam Avenue); 212-874-6080. Photo: Courtesy of Levain Bakery. More
Gelato On A Stick at Popbar This pint-size West Village shop may have Italian gelato rival Grom situated on a nearby corner, but there's just something so fresh and delicious and satisfying about these fancy-pants ice pops. Maybe it's the all-natural ingredients; maybe it's the crazy mix of customizable flavors and toppings. All we know is that even when it's subzero degrees outside, they're still so damn good.
Popbar, 5 Carmine Street (at Sixth Avenue); 212-255-4874. Photo: Courtesy of Popbar. More
Banana Split At Empire Diner This scrumptious sundae is not your typical banana split. A caramelized banana cradles three over-the-top scoops of ice cream, topped with walnuts, chocolate fudge, whipped cream, and a cherry on top. Even better? The newly reopened diner will soon be open 24 hours a day, so you can enjoy this classic dessert anytime of the day or night. (After all, calories don't count after midnight, right?)
Empire Diner, 210 10th Avenue (at W. 22nd Street); no phone. Photo: Courtesy of Empire Diner. More
Taiwanese Shaved Ice At TAO Downtown Diving into this delicacy is just like splurging on a Rick Owens jacket — once you've tried it, there's no going back. That's why we haven't been able to stop thinking about TAO Downtown’s sweet bowl of heaven since we first tried it (and had to restrain ourselves from licking the dish clean). The towering serving of pineapple-lime ice is sweet, airy, and creamy. Topped with house-made mochi, roasted soba, and fresh strawberries and pineapple, it tastes like a one-way ticket to a tropical vacation, without the pesky security lines.
TAO Downtown, 92 9th Avenue (at W. 16th Street); 212-888-2724. Photo: Courtesy of TAO Downtown. More
Mocha Affogato At Thistle Hill Tavern Thistle Hill Tavern’s Mocha Affogato is a coffee-and-chocolate lover's dream. A heaping glass of Caramello Italian Gelato — a.k.a Brooklyn’s best ice cream — is served alongside a cup of strong espresso, made to be poured over and enjoyed as a chocolaty, caffeinated delicacy that melts together in perfect harmony. It’s ideal treat to enjoy before heading to that warehouse party in Bushwick you thought you couldn’t stay up for. This dessert will have you dancing 'til dawn.
Thistle Hill Tavern, 441 7th Avenue (at 15th Street), Brooklyn; 347-599-1262. Photo: Via @ thistlehilltav. More VIDEO Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here? This Restaurant Chain Will Let You Pay With Random Gift Cards From Any Store Refugees Are Writing A Cookbook Full Of Delicious Dishes & Inspiring Stories Beyond Beer Pong: 24 Drinking Games For Grown-Ups