10 Desserts at Winter Markets That Are Worth Going Outside For

If winter brings us Earl Grey cookies and butter cake, maybe it’s not so bad after all. 

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Only a small sampling of Liddabit Sweets’ chocolates. Photo credit: Facebook/Liddabit Sweets

Maybe thanks to a certain groundhog (we feel the need to blame something, anything), this winter has been an extremely cold and still has a ways to go.

If you can’t beat it, join it though — at least for some of the best desserts to be found at seasonal markets across Brooklyn and Manhattan.

Defy the seasonal blues by suiting up, grabbing a friend and setting out to find these ten confections:

  1. The Bruffin
    Gansevoort Market, 52 Gansevoort St.
    The invention of a French pastry chef and an interior designer, the “Bruffin” — a combination of the words “brioche” and “muffin — is as decadent as it looks. As the name implies, it is classic, buttery French brioche dough that is rolled out and covered with ingredients before being rolled back up and baked in a muffin tin lined with colorful parchment paper. There’s a wide range of savory flavors, including the “American” with Buffalo chicken and blue cheese; the “French” with lardons, gruyère and brie; and the “Moroccan” with merguez and ratatouille tagine. For dessert, try a sweet Bruffin: chocolate covered bacon and salted caramel, or the blueberry cheesecake. Find fresh Bruffins daily at the Gansevoort Market in the Meatpacking District.
  1. Caramel apple pie
    Brooklyn Night Bazaar, Fridays and Saturdays, 165 Banker St., Brooklyn
    Baker Meghan Daly of Daly Pie was inspired by the traditional caramel apple when she created this sweet, luscious dessert filled with large chunks of apples and lightly salted caramel sauce, all topped with all-American peanut bits. As expected, she makes all her flaky pie crusts by hand. Grab a slice on Fridays and Saturdays at the Brooklyn Night Bazaar.  Meghan is also planning to open up a pie shop in Manhattan with funds from her current Kickstarter campaign!
  1. Chocolate Doom” candy bar
    Chelsea Market, 95 9th Ave.
    Sounds like a dare you want to take, right? Handmade by Liddabit Sweets, Chocolate Doom has a bottom layer of cocoa sable cookie, topped by a layer of milk chocolate ganache, covered with a layer of whipped white chocolate ganache, which is then all dipped in a dark chocolate coating. You can find this chocolaty confection and many other delights at Liddabit’s kiosk inside Chelsea Market. Try their other candy bars too, like “The King:” peanut butter nougat between brown sugar-brown butter cookies and a layer of fresh banana ganache, dipped in milk chocolate. Truth be told, this probably isn’t a dessert that you’ll want to share.
  1. Earl Grey cookies
    Brooklyn Flea Winter Market, 1000 Dean St., Brooklyn
    These lovely cookies from Whimsy & Spice at the Brooklyn Flea Winter Market are are artful and refined — the kind of cookie you would want to serve for afternoon tea with your best English bone china tea set. The classic sandwiches are made from toothsome bergamot-infused cookies filled with a layer of creamy white chocolate. In fact, all of the Whimsy & Spice cookies, brownies and biscotti are made with equal attention to detail and quality. And the flavors are quite innovative as well. Try their hazelnut whisky or chocolate chipotle caramel sandwich cookies, as well as their lovely handmade marshmallows in flavors like cardamom, rose vanilla and caramel.
  1. Giant banana chocolate chip muffin
    Essex Street Market. 120 Essex St.
    Rainbo’s AND bakery at the Essex Street Market is known for its gigantic, moist and cakey muffins. Their signature banana chocolate chip muffin is so big that you may have to save more than half of it for later, although that takes discipline because it is so delicious. Loaded with chocolate chips, this is one banana muffin that actually tastes like fresh banana. Try their classic chocolate chip muffin as well.
  1. Gooey butter cake
    Brooklyn Flea Winter Market, 1000 Dean St., Brooklyn
    This recipe is a traditional treat in St. Louis, generally made with a yellow cake mix and other grocery store ingredients. Gooey & Co. at the Brooklyn Flea’s Winter Market takes this mouthwatering cake to the next level with all natural, locally produced and mostly organic ingredients, including Hawthorne Valley buttermilk, Ronnybrook Farm butter, Ben’s Cream Cheese and farm fresh eggs. The original tastes like the definitive yellow cake, only better. Gooey & Co. has also created several specialty flavors, including chocolate, maple carrot and banana. Try bite-sized servings of them all — it’s so rich that that’s almost enough!
  1. Hot pepper maple candy
    Union Square Greenmarket, Manhattan
    Maple candy can be cloyingly sweet for some palates. Luckily for us all, Deep Mountain Maple has developed several less-sweet flavors and their hot pepper maple candy is one of the most satisfying. It clearly took some imagination and a lot of effort to perfect the balance between the maple sugar and the hot peppers, which are supplied by Oak Grove Plantation, another farm at the Greenmarket. For a milder combination, the apricot almond maple candy offers a lovely mix of textures. Get a mixed bag at the Union Square Greenmarket on Fridays and Saturdays, and try a chunk of each flavor.
  1. Egg creams
    Brooklyn Pop Up Market, Saturdays at 143 Waverly Ave. and Sundays at 49 Wykoff Ave., Brooklyn
    The egg cream is one of those definitive Brooklyn inventions. Made with seltzer, milk and vanilla or chocolate syrup (specifically Fox’s U-Bet chocolate syrup) in specific proportions, an egg cream is as satisfying as an ice cream soda, but without nearly as much guilt. Linda’s Egg Creams is a new company that serves up nothing but egg creams at the Brooklyn Pop Up Market. Linda, the mother of one of the company’s co-founders, passed her secrets for a perfect egg cream onto her son, who now brings us three flavors: vanilla, chocolate and their signature cherries jubilee egg cream made with cherry syrup with a splash of vanilla. Ask for a squirt of vanilla syrup in your chocolate egg cream too — it’s an old Brooklyn trick.
  1. “Milk Money” ice cream
    Brooklyn Night Bazaar, Fridays and Saturdays, 165 Banker St., Brooklyn
    Artisanal ice cream makers Ice & Vice set out to invent a chocolate ice cream with an adult twist. Known for their imaginative flavors and fine ingredients, they invented “Milk Money,” which is toasted milk, sea salt and chocolate ganache, available most weekends at the Brooklyn Night Bazaar during the winter season. It is smooth and chocolaty with a lovely depth. They recently introduced a new flavor they are calling “Love and Hate,” which is a root beer ice cream strewn with ginger molasses cookie crumbs. If you ever see “Figgin’ Toasted” ice cream on their chalkboard menu, get a scoop because it’s remarkable — toasted baguette, fig and goat cheese.
  1. Valrhona chocolate pudding
    Grand Central Market, inside Grand Central Terminal
    There is a huge bowl of chocolate pudding in Midtown Manhattan that will haunt your dreams. In a glass case at the Grand Central Terminal Market, Dishes Home/Dishes To Go keeps a large, deep serving bowl filled with smooth, luscious chocolate pudding made with French Valrhona chocolate and evidently a good deal of cream. You will have to stop whatever you are doing and simply enjoy each and every mouthful.

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Karen Seiger is the author of Markets of New York.