The typeAbaker strikes again! Except for instead of baking cupcakes, this time I was eating them! We bought this awesome cupcake walking tour in NYC (thanks to LivingSocial!) and finally got around to using it this past weekend! Luckily, my boyfriend was only too willing to accompany me on this baking-addicts’ adventure, even though he was only 1 of 3 guys on the tour! Let’s be clear, I didn’t really know anything about what we would be doing, I just heard Cupcake and tour in NYC and I was signed up. It turned out to be a REALLY great time, not that I was surprised; there was even enough walking that you didn’t feel guilty over eating your way through 6 bakeries! :)
I had so much fun taking photo’s of everything before I ate it! Okay, secretly I was trying to pretend I was a photojournalist. I think my passion probably lies on the other side of the counter… We didn’t get to go behind the scenes and check out how the delicious goodies were made, or grab any secret recipes, but eating was more than enjoyable! Let’s just take a minute and reflect on the self-control that I had to muster up, and patiently photograph anything that went into my mouth, while everyone around me was able to enjoy that immediate gratification one gets when you are handed a free sample, and subsequently jam it into you mouth as quickly as the serving dimensions allow.
The first stop was Baked by Melissa. Now talk about taking a great idea and making it your own. This (she? Melissa?) only bakes these adorable bite-size cupcakes, which made it a great first stop on the tour, since it’s essentially a cupcake hors devours. The bakery features a flavor of the season which was Snowflake Cupcake. Normally, the flavors range from normal, to original, and to crazy and beyond; each cupcake is stuffed with some delightful concoction, and you can even create your own! (Yup, just spent about 35 minutes getting sidetracked making fun flavors). Right now the flavors are mint chocolate chip, tie-dye (signature cupcake) cookie dough, peanut butter cup, cinnamon, cookies & cream, s’mores, peanut butter & jely, red velvet, chocolate chip pancake, and snowball… is it sick that I feel accomplished since some of my own creations are up on that list?! Definitely a stop to check out again!
The natural progression of a walking tour is really like a fine multi-course meal. After the hors devours, we are served the palate cleanser (yes, this may or may not have happened… except I knew going in, that gelato comes frozen). Amorino serves only the best quality goods, using authentic ingredients, without artificial flavor. Standing in front of the window, it was like looking into an old-school Italian bakery somewhere VERY far from the modernized New York. Our taste was pistachio gelato. So I know you’re thinking, a sweet milk-shake, vanilla-ice-cream-blened-with-pistachios flavor right now, right? WRONG! The flavor was indescribable; (And yes, watch as I go onto describe it…) it was creamy and nutty, not at all what I was expecting…you could taste the pistachio so distinctly… utterly delicious. Despite the fact that it was legitimately freezing outside, we’re wearing scarves and weather coats, I was dying to check out the rest of the flavors. But, alas, dinner (the tour) moves on.
Third up was Crumbs Bake Shop! I’ve been dying to try Crumbs for the longest time, having listened to my NY savvy relatives talk about it nonstop (you know who you are!) in addition to its fame from Food Network coverage! Crumbs is actually one of the largest chains in the US, it was started in NYC in 2003 and now has about 51 locations! Walking in, the floor is that awesome black-and-white hex tiles and SO MANY varieties of cupcakes/baked goods/brownies in their display case. Seriously, glad I didn’t have to make a decision with a line behind me! We got “sampler packs” and were each able to choose a flavor from the mini cupcakes; it’s no surprise that I made a Bee-line for the most chocolate looking one. What, judgment?…Dark chocolate is full of antioxidants, I was just trying to make sure I was staying healthy with all that walking we were doing! It was phenomenal, and took real effort to walk all the way outside to get a good photo, instead of doing the aforementioned activity of stuffing face.
Fourth us was Molly’s Cupcakes, which was created from the memory of a third grade teacher (Molly) who always brought in the best cupcakes for birthdays and holidays. (Um, a bakery erected in your memory? Hello accomplished baker!) The founder actually donates a portion of the profits directly to NY schools and community, making this a truly guilt-free dessert!! The best part about it, aside from them being a winner of Cupcake Wars, was that we were able to COOP! …Create Our Own Cupcakes! I thought we would be going in with piping bags and aprons, but instead we just selected our cupcake/icing combo and went to the ‘sprinkles bar’ for the decorating part. Probably a much cleaner and efficient way of letting this happen. Chocolate cupcake (uhh, surprised?) and a french buttercream. DELISH!
Now, you’re feeling a bit sluggish and tired after eating your way through 4 bakeries. But time for a game changer – COOKIES! Well, more specifically, Milk & Cookies. Funnily enough, before the tour we had been wandering around Manhattan and saw this adorable smart-car that delivered cookies from this same bakery! This place sells really knows the demographic of a holiday cookie fiend; in addition to selling fresh baked cookies; they offer you other options to get that cookie fix. If you don’t have time to bake, but want that fresh baked cookies, they sell you the dough, you can create you OWN cookie, and get either the dough, the baked cookie, or either DELIVERED TO YOUR HOME. And we thought society was getting lazy, they will bring cookies TO YOU! (Also, I’m assuming there is some sort of milk deal in there too, otherwise their name is a bit misleading.) For us, it was a play on the traditional Oatmeal cookie, the salted oat surprise; oat cookie with white-chocolate chip & toffee inside and sea salt sprinkled on top. The salty-sweet of the cookie was JUST what I needed after so much SWEET.
Last up was Magnolia’s Bakery. They’re famous for Red Velvet cupcakes, (which I think were featured on Sex & the City, which really snowballed their success and fame). The place looked like Willy Wonka’s factory for baked goods. EVERY SURFACE was covered with these giant cupcakes, beautifully iced deserts, and all sorts of goodies. We could actually smell the bakery about a 1/4 of a mile before we got to it, talk about anticipation! All of the smells and sights we’re actually a bit overwhelming, after having indulged so much already; the tour ended here at Magnolias, so we decided to take home our two ginormous red velvet cupcakes instead of eating them and glutinously rolling down the subway on our way back.
The tour was a great way to explore 6 bakeries in one day, in a controlled environment; i.e., we didn’t die from sugar and cupcake overdose. But honestly, it was just a fun excuse to spend the day out in the city with an agenda! I seriously cannot pick a favorite though, I liked them each for their uniqueness… I know, what a political answer. Sorry, better luck next time! :) Has anyone else been to these bakeries? What are your favorites?
Coming soon, something deep dark chocolate-ly and delightful!
Can’t wait! Until then, Sayonara!