Dominique's Kouign Amann at Dominique Ansel Bakery
We've long hoped to find a first-class kouign amman in this town, and we finally have one. This king among pastries is so indulgent, it's almost not fair to everything else in the pastry case. It's a crispy, insanely buttery flaky caramelized disk of deliciousness, the butter and sugar actually apparent in the softer center. It's pricey to consider, but hard to regret once you've had a bite.
Eclairs at Epicerie Boulud
Dulce de leche and chocolate eclairs are both classically and perfectly done, which for an eclair freak is pure heaven.
Chocolate Chip Doughnut at the Doughnut Plant
At the new Chelsea Doughnut Plant, the chocolate chip tastes just like its namesake. The soft cake doughnut is studded with pecans and chocolate chips, then coated in a chocolate glaze and rolled in cookie dust. Taken together, it really does taste like equal parts cookie and doughnut (though this is one you'd probably want mid-afternoon, not first thing in the morning).
Pain au Chocolat at Mille-Feuille Patisserie
When it's still warm, and the boldly dark chocolate melts into the buttery, flaky dough, it's one of the best versions we've had in the city. (The other croissants are pretty brilliant, too.)
Salted Crack Caramel at Ample Hills Creamery
We're fond of an awful lot at this new Prospect Heights ice cream parlor, but it's hard to say no to Salted Crack. An intense and just salty enough butter caramel ice cream that would have been indulgent enough on its own, but gets even better with what they call "crack cookies," buttery chocolate-covered Saltines.
Olive Oil Torreja at Coppelia
We haven't stopped talking about the Torrejas de Oliva since we first slid a fork into it. It's the most aggressively olive-oily dessert we've ever had, and we mean that in the best of ways; a soft cake doused in olive oil is steam-baked so that it develops a soft, custardlike texture almost like a bread pudding, then caramelized on the top like a creme brulee. When eaten warm, it simply seems like the most delicate, pure expression of olive oil a solid could take, a hot mouthful of the stuff spun into the lightest cake imaginable. With a beautiful crust, a soft mound of condensed milk whipped cream, and a few blackberries, it's just astoundingly good.
Soft Serve at Takashi
There is one dessert offered at Takashi in the West Village, and it's excellent: house-made Madagascar vanilla soft-serve. Pure vanilla flavors take center stage in the soft-serve's dense and supple consistency. But things get fun with toppings. Four toppings, $2 each: sweet azuki beans; kurogoma kinako (otherwise known as black sesame) and soybean flour; mochi; and hojicha or matcha syrup. Plus there's a "Why choose? I'll have it with the works" listed on the menu.
Macarons at Ladureé
Famed Parisian macaron shop Ladurée finally opened their Madison Avenue doors this year—their first North American location. Make sure there's a soft-hued pistachio in your order, nutty and rewarding; add on a vanilla speckled with what seems like a million vanilla beans; then a fragrant, but not excessively floral rose petal; a salty caramel that's bold on the salt; strawberry and mint; and finally, one seasonal flavor, such as the green apple we loved.
Carrot Cake Spoon Bread at Buvette
It's served warm with a crunchy sugar-dusted surface and a mound of smooth whipped cream cheese frosting. They sometimes serve it with a silky whipped cream fraiche, and we're happy with either. This requires a spoon; it's a perfect, gentle sweet snack for one with espresso on the side. The spoon bread is dotted in chopped walnuts and carrots grated thinly enough to blend, but not so thin that you can't see the streaks throughout the dense, moist crumb. Comfort food gone elegant.
Matcha Eclair at Bosie Tea Parlor
Keep an eye out for the Matcha Eclair, the delicately crisp pate a choux filled with a luxurious, supple matcha cream. There's an equally intense matcha fondant to top. As a general rule of thumb, any dessert infused or scented with tea at Bosie is a solid bet, including their Darjeeling Tart, a heady and silky affair topped in caramelized almond slices and nestled tight in a thin and buttery tart shell. It's like drinking a potent cup of darjeeling tea in pastry form.