"Better than Conversation Hearts any day."

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[Photo: Robyn Lee]

One can always count on Bouchon Bakery for whimsical seasonal treats, and this Valentine's Day is no exception. We got a chance to sample their February lineup, and oh, were we charmed. Cookies, cupcakes, and the tastiest bread I've had this year, after the jump.

Pictured at top are the Expression cookies ($3.75); take your pick of "Be Mine," "xoxo," "Kiss Me," or "I Love You!" At any other bakery, huge icing-smothered slabs like this would be dry, sugary, and generally unappealing. But Bouchon's are a buttery, crumbly shortbread, whose melt-prone white chocolate glaze gets a slight tang from yogurt. Better than Conversation Hearts any day.

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Scale down that shortbread, triple that tang, and you'll have the Heart Shaped Yogurt Cookies ($10/bag), which had a yogurt-lover like me in raptures. A nibble of this cookie is like a spoonful of Fage, in the best of ways.

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As a rule, cupcakes do not excite me. Expensive cupcakes really don't excite me. But this Cupid Cupcake ($6.50) was an exception. Devil's food cake with a moist and delicate crumb, light in texture with a deep chocolate flavor. That little white spot in the middle? A bright passionfruit cream.

Back from last year are the hazelnutty Heart Shaped Linzer Cookies ($3.50), thick with homemade jam that Ed called "just right balance of sweet and tart... it tastes like a bunch of sun-kissed raspberries that have been crushed with a mortar and pestle."

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But best of all was the Chocolate Cherry Loaf ($12)—a crusty, sweet, buttery-tasting loaf absolutely crammed with dark chocolate and tart, juicy cherries. The chocolate fuses with the darkly browned crust, so that each bite of that outside layer is a surprise—bread, or chocolate? It all blends together. It's messy, it flakes onto everything in sight, and it disappeared from our office within 15 minutes.

Bouchon Bakery

10 Columbus Circle, New York NY 10019 (map)
212-823-9364‎
bouchonbakery.com

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