BROOKLYN — It's time to finish the week off with something sweet.
We're putting the best bakeries and dessert spots in the borough up against each other for DNAinfo New York's final Brooklyn Brackets category.
It's a tough round — Brooklyn's been a hotbed for baking upstarts which have become nationally known for their tasty treats.
Red Hook's Baked, Greenpoint's Ovenly and Cobble Hill's One Girl Cookies have all written cookbooks based on their popular brownies, cakes and cookies and expanded their reach across the city.
Longtime bakeries have held their own in the neighborhoods, too.
Spots like Crown Heights' Allan's Bakery and Williamsburg's Fortunato Brothers are still serving some of the borough's favorite baked goods, years after being established.
Below, we've pitted 16 of Brooklyn's best spots to nab a sweet treat. Choose your favorites and, next Friday, the contestants will be cut down to eight — and so on, until a winner is chosen by the end of the month.
BAKED — 359 Van Brunt St. Red Hook's Baked is one of the neighborhood's go-to dessert shops, with brownies, whoopie pies and decadent layered and bundt cakes. The bakery has since expanded to TriBeCa, and owners Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito have launched their own cookbooks, granola and baking mixes. The Van Brunt Street space is also a great place to kick back with a cup of coffee and something sweet.
FOUR AND TWENTY BLACKBIRDS — 439 Third Ave. Brooklyn dessert lovers will agree that Four & Twenty Blackbirds is one of the most popular pie shops in the borough. The Gowanus shop at the corner of Third Avenue and Eighth Street can often have a long line of customers, waiting to pick up a whole pie or a slice to eat at the café. The shop’s menu changes with the season but its current winter selection includes lemon chess, salted caramel apple and bittersweet chocolate pecan.
OVENLY — 31 Greenpoint Ave. Ever since Ovenly came on the scene in 2010, it's been a game changer in salty-sweet baked goods. Ovenly's cookies, scones and muffins — including vegan and gluten-free options — can be spotted in coffee shops throughout the city, but its main shop in Greenpoint has helped make the waterfront a destination.
ONE GIRL COOKIES — 68 Dean St. and 33 Main St. One Girl Cookies, with locations in Cobble Hill and DUMBO, is known for its whoopie pies, shortbread cookies and cupcakes. The bakery focuses on aesthetic as much as flavor with delicately decorated treats that sometimes look too pretty to eat. In the short time One Girl Cookies has been around, it has become a go-to destination for locals and tourists.
THE CHOCOLATE ROOM — 51 Fifth Ave. This dessert cafe serves all chocolate all the time, from flourless chocolate cake to Belgian chocolate ice cream. Though chocolate is known as a remedy for broken hearts, the Park Slope chocolate spot's cozy feel, candlelit tables and chocolate fondue for two makes for an ideal date destination.
THE BLUE STOVE — 415 Graham Ave. Blue Stove is known for its pies, which change with the day and with the season. You can't go wrong — whether it's the bittersweet chocolate mousse or a classic apple, this Williamsburg eatery knows its pie. Its other baked goods, like scones, muffins and cookies, are bound to satisfy a sweet tooth, too.
ALMONDINE BAKERY — 85 Water St. This renowned bakery features French treats like pain au chocolat, almond croissants and macaroons. The DUMBO bakery is so beloved that when damages caused by Hurricane Sandy forced the shop to close, locals rallied to help. They raised $28,000 to rebuild, and six months after the storm, the bakery reopened to a line of customers eager for a taste of the first batch of croissants.
BIEN CUIT — 120 Smith St. The quaint Smith Street bakery brings a little piece of France to Cobble Hill, with its sizable selection of freshly baked breads, including baguettes and croissants, pastries and desserts. Bien Cuit has only been open since 2011 but it has repeatedly been hailed as one of the best bakeries in the city.
PIECE OF VELVET — 708A Fulton St. Run by Cake Man Raven's proteges, this Fort Greene favorite is known for its red velvet cakes and cupcakes. Piece of Velvet also serves other "velvet" flavors such as coco velvet (moist green cake infused with coconut), caramel velvet (caramel-flavored sponge cake covered in vanilla frosting) and pineapple velvet (pineapple cake with cream cheese frosting).
LE PARIS DAKAR — 518 Nostrand Ave. If the tubs of Nutella on display aren’t enough to draw you in to Le Paris Dakar, the endless selection of crepes might convince you. Sweet selections include apple, Brie and honey, and strawberry and banana, as well as a variety of savory items to choose from. The Bed-Stuy bakery also serves up an array of pastries, macarons, and tiramisu.
BROOKLYN KOLACHE — 520 Dekalb Ave. Get your fix of Texas-style Czech pastries at Brooklyn Kolache Co., which serves treats with house-made sweet fillings like strawberry, sweet cheese, apricot, and peanut butter and jelly. The Bed-Stuy bakery and coffee shop also offers savory kolaches, cinnamon rolls and vegan and gluten-free energy cookies.
BUTTERMILK BAKESHOP — 339 Seventh Ave., 250 Fifth Ave. Pastry chef Katie Rosenhouse opened Buttermilk Bakeshop on Seventh Avenue near Ninth Street in February 2014, and recently added a second Park Slope location on Fifth Avenue. Rosenhouse creates new interpretations of classic recipes, turning out fudge brownies, "grandma's" apricot bars, cupcakes, pies and tarts. Fans rave about the purple velvet whoopie pies and chocolate bread pudding, which is made with croissants.
ALLAN'S BAKERY — 1109 Nostrand Ave. Since 1961, Allan's Bakery on Nostrand Avenue has served Crown Heights customers who line up to get their currant rolls and coconut sticky buns — Caribbean-influenced treats the shop is famous for — right as they come out of the oven.
DU JOUR BAKERY — 365 Fifth Ave. This Park Slope cafe serves a full breakfast, lunch and weekend brunch menu with eggs and hash browns, but for those who don't have time to sit down, Du Jour offers a plentiful selection of baked goodies at its counter, including sweet and savory croissants, streusel and scones. The sugar doughnuts have won a special place in the hearts of many doughnut fans.
SPIRITED — 638 Bergen St. "Ruby Port Velvet Cake" and whiskey-based "Brenne Brulee" are on the menu at this "dessert speakeasy" on Vanderbilt Avenue in Prospect Heights, serving booze-infused desserts and dessert-like cocktails to those who like a good drink with their sweet tooth.
FORTUNATO BROTHERS — 289 Manhattan Ave. Williamsburg's Italian history is still alive and well at this bakery and cafe. Open since 1976, Fortunato Brothers is known for treats like cannoli and tiramisu.
Voting for this round has now closed. Check back on March 13 for the next round.
— Reporting by Serena Dai, Janet Upadhye, Camille Bautista, Nikhita Venugopal, Rachel Holliday Smith, Leslie Albrecht. Graphic by Nigel Chiwaya.