Blue Sky Bakery
Fresh fruit fillings clustered in the center and crunchy sugar-dusted tops are signature marks of muffins by Blue Sky Bakery in Park Slope. Bran, plain, or carrot, these are certainly worth a detour. Come in the morning—a cooled muffin is great, but a still-warm one is magical.
Breakfast is just as important as dinner on Valentine's Day; Start the day right with the Valrhona Sourdough Roll from Levain Bakery. Serve warm, and crack open the crusty, golden roll to reveal a molten interior of dark chocolate, the fine shards melting into every nook and cranny. Glorious!
The best slice of Olive Oil Cake in the city is found at Abraço, the much-loved East Village coffeeshop. Abraço's golden slice conjures up descriptors like moist and luxuriously dense. The loaf is only a touch sweet, with the ever-present taste of olive oil—ideal for when you crave baked goods but not sugar.
A slice of Banana Bread ($3) from El Beit, a coffee shop in Williamsburg, is the stuff of dreams—dense, superbly moist, and gently spiced. Mashed bananas and big chunks of ripe bananas make their way into this tender loaf, one with a well-browned exterior and crust that's just the slightest bit crunchy. It's no fancy affair, just a walnut-studded classic done extremely well.
Pumpkin Buns at Mott Street's Golden Steamer are stuffed with a buttery pumpkin puree, slightly sweet and unabashedly creamy. The bread itself is superior to most Manhattan Chinese bakeries, neither dense nor tough, and noticeably fluffy. Stuffing-to-bun ratio is low, but at only $.70 each, I wouldn't dare complain.