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Discover Sweet Treats in Harlem

Wednesday, February 26, 2014 by Donna L
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When you were a kid, did you crave the cookie or the cake? Did you pick the candy bar or the gummy worms? Topped with sprinkles or dots? Or did you love them all? To satisfy the sweet tooth in all of us, make Harlem your destination. From Sugar Hill to Spanish Harlem, this neighborhood has a ton of bakeries and bodegas to choose from. We’ve rounded up some of the best bakeries and candy shops in Harlem that your kids will love and some even have gourmet dessert options.
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Make My Cake
Matriarch “Ma Smith” is credited with combining the southern baking traditions of Mississippi and Alabama with Harlem soul (many generations ago) to create this favorite amongst Harlemites. This bakery has two locations. But, the St Nicholas Ave location has a kid-sized table and chairs setting with coloring books to amuse your little one while you stock up on red velvet cupcakes. You’ll also find some interesting items like an old fashioned stove and a tin lunch box on the shelf near the window. Make My Cake has mini-cupcakes for tiny fingers and ice cream if you absolutely cannot eat cake without it.

121 St Nicholas Ave
(212) 932-0833

Mon - Thu: 8 am - 8 pm
Fri: 8 am - 9 pm
Sat: 9 am - 9pm
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Aromas Boutique Bakery & Cafe
Jo-Ann and Eileen are sisters who are passionate about pastries! With gluten free and sugar free options, these Harlem girls have the best pumpkin cake in the world! In addition to having evening dessert tastings and daily hot lunches, Aromas Boutique Bakery & Cafe offers classes. But, the best part about this year-old bakery is that Chef Eileen was a preschool teacher at Tufts University before entering culinary school. She now offers cooking classes for children in the bakery’s kitchen. She even blogs about kid-friendly foods. Although, Miss Jo-Ann will probably offer you a delicious sample no matter what day it is, be sure to get a pink velvet cupcake and a slice of pumpkin cake. They are so good.

2248 First Ave
(212) 360-0010


Mon - Fri: 7:30 am - 7 pm
Sat: 9 am - 5 pm
Sun: 12 pm - 5pm
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Levain Bakery
Did you know that the chocolate chip cookie is the official state cookie of both Massachusetts and Pennsylvania? Did you know that Cookie Monster’s birthday is November 2? Did you also know that April 30 is National Oatmeal Cookie Day? Levain is full of these fun facts and they even have their own song about cookies and their bakery. They are serious about cookies! Even Oprah gave them a shout-out. Kids will love the bench outside and the drawings on the window. Inside this Levain location (the other one is on W 74th and Amsterdam Ave), patrons can see the magic of the bakery. With an open floor plan, you’ll see members of the crew bringing mounds of dough to the oven and bringing out warm cookies throughout the day.

2167 Frederick Douglass Blvd
(646) 455-0952

Mon - Sat: 8 am - 7 pm
Sun: 9 am - 7 pm
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Coco Le Vu
Don’t even think about walking through the front doors of Coco Le Vu without grabbing a candy basket. Gummy bears, chocolate lollipops, colorful taffy and hundreds of other types of sweet confections can't be ignored at this candy shop. In addition to the colorful walls and scent of chocolate, Coco Le Vu also has a party room where candy lovers can unite for special events while being surrounded by bright colors and sweet treats. Homemade fudge in 20 flavors, chocolate dipped cherries, and gourmet cookies are all available for children and kids at heart.

202 E 110th St
(212) 860-3380

Mon - Sat: 11 am - 8 pm
Sun: 11 am - 6 pm
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Grinis Bakery
Grini's Grill & Restaurant is around the corner from its new bakery on Lenox Ave. Visitors to the restaurant made so many requests for the Dominican treats that Grinis Bakery had to open. Kids will appreciate the ceramic cupcakes on the tables near the windows and the thick binder of tall cakes with cartoon characters that the bakery can make for any special occasion. Along with cupcakes and cookies, this bakery also has empanadas and pastelitos available to snack on.

645 Lenox Ave
(646) 918-6268

Mon - Fri: 10 am - 8 pm
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Tonnie's Minis
Founder and CEO Tonnie B Rozier III began baking at the age of seven. So it makes sense that his cupcakes fit perfectly in tiny hands. Those who enter Tonnie’s Minis can’t help but to say “ooh” and “ahh” at the colorful and tasty options in the display case. Kids will love the Lemon Drop and the Strawberry Twist mini cupcakes. But, encourage those that love peanut butter to try The Carver; it's a peanut butter cupcake with peanut butter icing. If you can't make it to Harlem, you can also find Tonnie’s Minis at Bloomingdale’s, the Bronx and Washington Heights.

264 Lenox Ave
(212) 831-5292

Mon - Sat: 11 am - 9 pm
Sun: 11 am - 7 pm
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