If your New Year’s resolution involved getting back into those skinny jeans or swapping the cinnamon stick for a stalk of celery, then this new crop of confectioneries popping up around Bergen are about to challenge your willpower. From perfect Pignolis to blissful Black Forest Cake, these local bake shops offer sweet treats that are worth the extra treadmill time. We nibbled our way through the mix- and found some standouts.
Carlo’s Bakery: The world renowned, line-bending-round-the-block home of Buddy the Cake Boss has now planted roots in the heart of Ridgewood. The bakery opened Sunday with tons of fanfare (read lines of fans and camera crews) and the Boss plus his fam were on hand to meet and greet. Rumor has it they will be shooting some new show episodes there.
Experience: Very friendly staff, order/pickup system, a few tables to sit and enjoy your experience.
Offerings: Cakes (both custom and the typical crowd pleasers), pastries, cookies, cupcakes, pies, cheesecake and more. Plus coffee drinks (thank you) and Cake Boss merchandise.
Favorites: Perfectly pasted Pignoli tarts, flakey Rugelach (choose from chocolate, raisin or strawberry), noteworthy Butter Cookies, Cannolis and Biscotti had us wishing we lived within walking distance. Plus Chocolate Dipped Strawberries with berries so fresh, we thought it was mid-June.
(Carlo’s Bakery, 12 Wilsey Square, Ridgewood, www.carlosbakery.com)
Marc’s Cheesecake: Newly opened in Glen Rock, this Mecca for cheesecake lovers is worth the stop- “wow-worthy” in our book. And Clifton devotees who enjoyed the shop for years before its recent move can rest easy (it’s only 15 minutes drive).
Experience and Offerings: Super casual with two tables for staying in and a menu offering over 30 flavors of cheesecake (made to order) including Mint Chocolate Chip, Apple Crumb, Marble, Original and Cookie Dough to name just a few, plus 8 flavors ready to eat daily.
Favorites: Call us purists, but we went wild over the “Original” flavor. Chocolate Truffle had a decadent rich taste, and the Key Lime (our third choice of the three) was still sinfully good. Each piece was fluffy, flavorful, with a perfect crust- making it obvious that they bake with the freshest ingredients daily.
(Marc’s Cheesecake, 251 Rock Road, Glen Rock, 201-857-0880 www.marcscheesecake.com)
Heidi’s Bavarian Bakery: German’s are known for certain things: engineering, beer, and some darn good confections. Feel like you’ve taken a turn onto the Bahnhofstrasse when you enter this authentic sweet spot set on Ridgewood’s main drag.
Experience and Offerings: Loungey vibe with tables, chairs and bar stools. Waitresses donning Dirndls (traditional German dress) serve up croissants, waffles, soups, sandwiches, homemade “party pretzels” and baked goods.
Favorites: The Black Forest Cake was divine (made with sweet cream and real cherries) and the perfectly roasted coffee (Italian or German) made haling a refill a sure thing.
(Heidi’s Bavarian Bakery, 3 E Ridgewood Ave, Ridgewood, 201- 857-0700)
BB Bakery and Olive Bakery: The new crop of Korean bakeries setting up on busy Bergen streets had us wanting to step out of our comfort zone. So we stopped in for tastes at BB Bakery of Leonia and Olive Bakery in Tenafly.
Experience and Offerings: Both were clean, with baskets and refrigerator cabinets filled with pastries and cakes- staffed with pleasant young helpers who explained the offerings.
Favorites: Rolled Sponge Cakes (especially the green tea or cocoa) were the specialty of both, Bean Paste Buns and Bubble Tea from BB Bakery and Red Bean Donuts from Olive.
(BB Bakery, 354 Broad Ave, Leonia)
(Olive Bakery, 35 Highwood Ave, Tenafly, 201- 567-3437)
And that’s the way the cookie crumbles.
(Food Editor Carla Sullivan is the founder of the website MiniMunchers.com, a great resource for family dining in NYC)