After you’ve visited the world’s largest entirely edible gingerbread village, currently on view at New York Hall of Science, head to one of the bakeries or restaurants below for the city’s best gingerbread treats. Fun fact: that village weighs 1.5 tons. By Jessica Allen.
Among the holiday ice cream sandwiches available at Melt is the Carol, which smooshes lemon ice cream between two gingerbread “meltcakes.” Pile on the scarves and sweaters, and head down to the Lower East Side shop for a try. This year’s holiday collection also includes the Bumpkin (meltcakes made with brown butter and pumpkin along with eggnog and Maker’s Mark ice cream) and the Fezziwig (hot buttered rum ice cream between two sticky toffee meltcakes).
A few years ago, the Russell family had to raise $50 for charity as part of a school project. Uniquely flavored rice cereal-and-marshmallow treats were conceived, baked, and sold on the street; several hours later, more than $300 had been earned, and the idea for Treat House had been born. Today, the shop sells 12 regular varieties of three-bite treats, along with seasonal specials, including the gingerbread man. For every treat you buy, $0.10 is donated to the Food Bank of New York City. Stock up, and do good.
It wouldn’t be a true New York list if there wasn’t a cupcake version, especially a cupcake from Magnolia Bakery, arguably the Village bakery that started the trend. While the bakery has expanded from its tiny roots, the attention to detail (i.e., flavor) and retro vibe keep customers coming back to the original location. Well, those things, definitely, as well as a little show called Sex and the City, which turned individual-sized cakes into a must-have accessory. At any rate, the gingerbread cupcake comes smothered in vanilla icing.
Too often, gingerbread masks the primary ingredient—ginger—usually with mountains of sugar or spice. Not so at the Doughnut Plant. Its gingerbread cake donut is a moist, chewy, gingery delight, thanks to a dip in glaze and roll in some actual, candied ginger. Double the fun by ordering a roasted chestnut donut, triple the fun by trying a panettone, or quadruple the fun by getting a marzipan star, a sweet almond explosion. Of course, the non-holiday offerings are pretty great too.
We all know the story, involving a shiny nose, some taunts, the discovery of a special talent, and, ultimately, acceptance and much festive cheer. Duane Park Patisserie evokes the spirit of Rudolph via its reindeer gingerbread, a cookie trimmed with white chocolate icing and a wee red nose. You can also get a blue-and-white star, 2014 egg, or customized stocking-shaped cookie, among other season-appropriate sweets. This beloved Tribeca bakery make its goodies fresh every morning.