New East Village Bakery to Put a Fresh Spin on Sweets

By Patrick Hedlund on August 1, 2011 6:48pm 

The forthcoming Zucker Bakery at 433 E. Ninth St. will feature Israeli-inspired cookies and other treats.
The forthcoming Zucker Bakery at 433 E. Ninth St. will feature Israeli-inspired cookies and other treats.
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DNAinfo/Patrick Hedlund

EAST VILLAGE — A new Mediterranean-style bakery serving up gourmet cookies is set to open on East Ninth Street in the coming months.

The forthcoming Zucker Bakery between First Avenue and Avenue A is the brainchild of Village resident Zohar Zohar, an Israeli native who decided to return to the culinary world after taking nearly a decade off to devote to her family.

“At the end of the day it’s just the kinds of cookies I like,” said Zohar, 40, who will do all the baking on premises, as well as serving up items like muffins and Stumptown Coffee.

The first-time storeowner, who has worked in restaurants around the city but is not formally trained as a pastry chef, plans to bake cookies influenced by her European and Middle Eastern roots.

For instance, Zohar prefers using ingredients like dates, pecans, cardamom and cloves over more traditional fillings like chocolate chips and raisins.

“I really don’t want to sound snobbish or dismissive,” she said of her artisanal approach to cookie making, which doesn't generally include classics like peanut butter or oatmeal. “I grew up with different kinds of sweets.”

Zohar attributes her style of cooking to her grandparents — Polish and Czechoslovakian Jews who brought a European sensibility to their cuisine when arriving to Israel.

She’ll also draw inspiration from food personality Johnny Iuzzini, a close friend of Zohar who works as head pastry chef at top restaurant Jean Georges.

“He’s a part of my culinary journey in New York,” Zohar said of the celebrated chef and author, who will help advise her in her new venture.

She hopes to have the bakery open by the beginning of September, with a barista on staff to serve up morning coffee and her doing the daily baking.

And the name?

“Zucker is my maiden name,” Zohar said, “and it means 'sugar' in German.”

Zucker Bakery, 433 E. Ninth St.

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