I’m not even sure where to begin this post because I’m so overly-excited about it all.
New York City is a particularly great place to find cool specialty bakeries and sweets shops, but when you get right down to it, there really aren’t that many of them. You’ve got your classics like Magnolia and Buttercup and your neighborhood favorites like Sugar Sweet Sunshine, but as a baked goods connoisseur, if I may claim such a title, I can tell you that you cannot find a good one on every corner. Or even in every neighborhood. And sometimes when you need a sweet treat that isn’t mass produced or filled with chemicals you might have to go well out of your way to get one. And for me, visiting a well-run specialty bakery I’ve never been to before is probably a lot like how a reality show fanatic feels when something good happens for their favorite bachelorette. It’s a feeling of true elation over something that nobody else gives an eff about.
Well, my bachelorette got a rose yesterday. Because I’ve been meaning to hit up Baked in Red Hook Brooklyn for quite some time now and it finally happened. I read an article about this bakery in the spring and I remember feeling really inspired by their little company. Not only have they successfully launched their “ode to the perfect bakery” but their brownies have also been named one of Oprah’s “favorite things” (a sure-fire rocket to superstardom) and they’ve also recently opened a second location in Charleston, South Carolina. (This is exciting to me because I have a special relationship with Charleston. It’s a beautiful and interesting city to which Harvard Sailing Team has traveled a bunch of times to perform comedy and hang with the locals, and where, if we’re getting gross about it, Kevin told me he loved me for the first time. Puke, aack, gross.)
Although Kev and I have been spending a lot of our weekend free time lately gallivanting around Red Hook enjoying the beautiful pool, the Brooklyn Ikea and the delicious Latin American food, I’d forgotten about Baked completely until one of our landladies mentioned it to me on Saturday morning. At that point the rest of the weekend might as well have just fallen away because I was mainly intent on one thing only: getting to Baked and eating their bakes.
After a busy morning and afternoon yesterday, Kevin and I eventually set out to Red Hook (again) to go swimming, to buy groceries at the huge, beautiful Fairway Market AND to visit Baked. When we arrived at the bake shop about six minutes before their closing time I impulsively began grabbing packages of brownies and bars, like some kind of crazed sugar fiend panicked that she wouldn’t get her fix before all the sugar in the world evaporated. I wanted it all. Plus we’d come all this way and the heat and the walking – I needed more than one brownie – “Who knows when we’ll be back!?” In the end I bought three different bars and an iced coffee, snapped a few photos and left only mildly out of breath. It was a delightful whirlwind.
I chose their Sweet & Salty Brownie, because I’d heard great things about it from my landlady. I also chose their Peanut Butter Brownie because I’m not crazy. And lastly, I chose their Baked Bar, because I love bars and this particular bar had a lot of ingredients (graham cracker, coconut, pecans, sweetened condensed milk) similar to my favorite Fanny & Jane bar. (Research.)
We sat on the wooden bench right outside their big picture window and tore into the Sweet & Salty and the Baked Bar, saving the Peanut Butter Brownie for another day. Together, Kevin and I ate about half of each of the two pieces we opened. I liked the Sweet & Salty Brownie a lot, although it wasn’t the best brownie I’ve ever eaten. I’d wished I’d gotten their Original Deep Dark Brownie instead. You almost can’t go wrong with Deep Dark things. My landlady really talked up this Sweet & Salty Brownie so I was expecting fireworks. It was yummy but not mind blowing.
But then I tried the Baked Bar. Oh my good God this thing is incredible. It was chewy, moist, flavorful, rich, varied in texture and taste and just really, really good. I’m into bars, you guys. Despite so many ingredient similarities, this actually tasted very different from the Fanny & Jane bar – I like them both equally for different reasons. One of my favorite aspects of the Baked Bar is the way they incorporate the chocolate. It’s sort of hard to describe, but when you bite into it you should probably lay down. I cannot wait to finish the bar later this week. Kevin will stay away from it if he knows what’s good for him.
All in all, it was a hurried but wonderful trip to Baked and I cannot wait to go back for a longer experience. They actually have a full cafe menu complete with sandwiches and stuff. And the interior of the place is really homey and casual – I can imagine enjoying a lazy lunch there. Soon!