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75 Best Bakeries in America

75 Best Bakeries in America


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Since prehistoric times, humans have been perfecting the art of breadmaking. The earliest flatbreads may date from up to 30,000 years ago, when our ancestors ground the roots of plants and possibly mixed the pulp with water and cooked it on hot rocks. Throughout the ages, the style, density, and taste of baked goods has dramatically changed.

Click here for the 75 Best Bakeries in America (Slideshow)

We’ve come a long way from grain gruel, and it’s been a journey that has taken us from unleavened bread to hybrid baked innovations that folks living in the Middle Ages would not have been able to comprehend. We’ve come so far that we now have specialized subtypes of bakeries, and we know the difference between a pâtisserie (which makes pastries) and a boulangerie (which bakes bread). There specialized bakeries for everything, from the those that are devoted to the fine and delicate art of making French macarons to standalone cupcakeries and wedding cake experts. According to a report by Sundale Research, the U.S. now has nearly 6,700 independent bakeries serving Americans daily. This number has greatly decreased in recent years (the report stated that in 1993 there were 21,000 bakeries in the U.S.), most likely due to the rise of health-consciousness and the proliferation of bakery and baked-goods-selling coffee chains, but 6,700 is still a lot, and we've picked 75 of them that we feel are still doing stellar work — the best of the bunch.

In a country with so many bakeries, you’ll see wide variation in style and ambition, but with the common mission of bringing flaky, moist, often sugary goodness to their customers, they can be ranked against each other. We narrowed those 6,700 bakeries down to 200, based on a combination of factors including bakeries that have made it to the top of our previous lists as well as those recognized nationally by other publications, and pitted them against each other in a survey that we sent out to our expert panel. Participants were asked to rank what they thought were the top bakeries by region and indicate which items they felt each bakery was best known for (pies, cakes, breads, etc.). We then took the list and put it under The Daily Meal editorial team’s scrutiny. Were they only specialists in a certain category of pastry? If so, were they so good in that category that they were still worth putting on the list.

After hours of deliberation and help from our panelists, we ended up expanding our 50 Best Bakeries in America list with 25 additions that offer bakery aficionados a wide selection of delicious variables to consider. A large portion of the total list hails from the New York area, which panelists had the most input on, as many of our panelists knew the city well and were able to confidently rank those establishments. We’ve also got a hefty number of bakeries from other major cities like Portland, Ore., and Philadelphia, as well, and a few quaint mom-and-pop bakeries that make a visit to their small town worth the trip.

Take a tour around the country with us to find out where you can get the best cannoli, pies, breads, cupcakes, and so much more by clicking through our delicious slideshow!

Additional contributions made by Vivian Mac

#75 Bing’s Bakery, Newark, Delaware

Bing’s Bakery, established in 1949 and the self-proclaimed longest running bakery in Delaware, is a full-line scratch bakery that has mastered the art of pastry. Petit fours, Danishes, pies, and cheesecakes are just some of the sweets that come out of Bing’s on a daily basis. Try their delicious butter cookies for a decadent and homey treat.

#74 Pinkitzel Cupcakes & Candy, Oklahoma City, Okla.

Even though the talents of Pinkitzel Cupcakes & Candy are focused mostly on gourmet cupcakes, those cupcakes are so tasty that we just had to include them on our list this year. In addition to options like the Turtle Cheesecake (a chocolate cupcake with a cheesecake center and cheesecake buttercream, topped with caramel, nuts, and chocolate), they have over 100 loose candy selections, making this the ultimate sweet house in Oklahoma City.


N.J.'s 20 best bakeries: The only list you'll ever need

I cannot live without baked goods, and if you're reading this story, I'm guessing you can't either, especially this time of year, when they are must pick-ups for that big family get-together.

Bread, doughnuts, pastries, cakes, cupcakes, cookies -- if they disappeared from the face of the earth, Iɽ move to another planet.

Which is why our latest food showdown -- a search for the state's best bakeries -- had me both excited and fearful.

Excited, because Iɽ spend nearly a solid week eating my favorite food ever.

Fearful, because how would I possibly survive a glaze-galore, sugar-saturated week?

When the going gets tough, the tough reach for another doughnut. Or pastry. Or cookie.

Here are New Jersey's top 20 bakeries and top 25 baked goods, based on last week's field trip -- 40 bakeries in five days -- plus visits to 75+ other bakeries, pastry shops, donut stands, cupcake shops and more in the past few years.

We received thousands of tips for hundreds of places via e-mail, Twitter, Facebook and on nj.com, and it wasn't easy coming up with this list, believe me. As you can see, it's a mix of bakeries, cafes, pastry shops, cupcake stores and farm stands, spanning traditional, French, Italian, Viennese, Portuguese, South American and Middle Eastern influences.

You probably won't agree with many of my picks, so make sure to let me know which of your favorites I left out. The top 20 are listed alphabetically.

When you're finished checking out the story -- and that scrumptious gallery -- take a look at our other recent food showdowns: The New Jersey Pizza Power Rankings a search for the state's best tacos and New Jersey's best mall food.

1. Antoinette Boulangerie, 32 Monmouth St., Red Bank (732) 224-1118. Beautiful hardwood-floored shop with open kitchen and a display case packed with exquisite pastries, tarts and macarons in perfect rows. The executive pastry chef is Gina Roselle Broschart, a former Rutgers gymnast and graduate of the Culinary Institute of America. The coconut macaroons here are pure, simple bite-size coconut bliss.

2. Argentina Bakery, 1611 Bergenline Ave., Union City (201) 601-5801. Ever walk into a bakery and realize just by looking at the cakes and pastries they're going to be good? That was my experience at this tiny shop, where the beautifully-constructed pastries glisten in the display case. Whipped cream, made here, is the key to many of the items. Try the pasta flora, a shredded coconut-topped quince pastry, or the alfajor, white chocolate-topped caramel cookies. Or just about anything else.

Aversa's in Brigantine makes the state's best sticky buns - and great rolls (Peter Genovese I NJ Advance Media for NJ.com)

3. Aversa's Bakery, 3101 Atlantic Ave., Brigantine (609) 264-8880. I have a particular weakness for sticky buns, and this spare bakery just over the bridge from Atlantic City makes the state's best: caramel-gooey, raisin-packed, with great cake. They may make the state's best sandwich bread, too, in the form of the torpedo rolls. Other locations are in Margate, Turnersville and Washington Township.

4. Baker's Treat, 42 Route 12, Flemington (908) 782-3458. I received a ton of recommendations for Factory Fuel Co., a new coffeehouse in the old Stangl Factory in Flemington. Baker's Treat, within walking distance, is better. It is operated by Ability2Work, a nonprofit that trains and employs the developmentally disabled. This may have been the only stop on my field trip last week where everything was excellent: the mocha decadence bar, chocolate ganache brownie macaroons and more. A great stop the next time you're at Liberty Village Premium Outlet, right across the street.

5. Beiler's Bakery, Amish Market at Mullica Hill, 108 Swedesboro Road, Mullica Hill (856) 223-9998. Jersey's Amish markets are irresistible to me: nothing like the sight and smell of fresh-baked pies, breads and cakes, and don't forget the rotisserie chickens. Beiler's is just inside the entrance to this market, and whenever I'm there I head straight for the cinnamon and raisin/cinnamon breads. Inside tip: if you're like me and like to slice your own bread, unsliced loaves are available. Pretty good sticky buns, doughnuts and pies, too.

6. Cafe Pierrot, 212 Main St., Andover (973) 786-6069. Has Cafe Pierrot really been around for 25 years? That surprised even me. Excellent pies, muffins, scones and more in the Andover bakery, a sweet stop on your Andover antique store expedition. Cafe Pierrot's Sparta restaurant serves sandwiches, wraps and salads.

7. Cafe Vienna, 200 Nassau St., Princeton (609) 924-5100. Small, cozy cafe that opened on Princeton's main drag in April. Cakes are made with old family recipes the owner, Anita Waldenberger, grew up in Austria. Recommended: the flourless chocolate cake cheesecake and the strudel, with oodles of apples. Oh, and great coffee, too.

8. Deluxe Italian Bakery, 680 East Clements Bridge Road, Runnemede (856) 939-5000. New Jersey is filled with long-time bakeries cranking out the same tired product this bakery is not one of them. I give you the awesome -- and awesome-sized -- cream-filled doughnuts the filling looks ready to burst out of the pastry and attack you. Elephant ears don't get much respect as a bakery item (with that name, it's no surprise). The ones here -- impossibly light, supremely flaky -- are the best I've had anywhere.


N.J.'s 20 best bakeries: The only list you'll ever need

I cannot live without baked goods, and if you're reading this story, I'm guessing you can't either, especially this time of year, when they are must pick-ups for that big family get-together.

Bread, doughnuts, pastries, cakes, cupcakes, cookies -- if they disappeared from the face of the earth, Iɽ move to another planet.

Which is why our latest food showdown -- a search for the state's best bakeries -- had me both excited and fearful.

Excited, because Iɽ spend nearly a solid week eating my favorite food ever.

Fearful, because how would I possibly survive a glaze-galore, sugar-saturated week?

When the going gets tough, the tough reach for another doughnut. Or pastry. Or cookie.

Here are New Jersey's top 20 bakeries and top 25 baked goods, based on last week's field trip -- 40 bakeries in five days -- plus visits to 75+ other bakeries, pastry shops, donut stands, cupcake shops and more in the past few years.

We received thousands of tips for hundreds of places via e-mail, Twitter, Facebook and on nj.com, and it wasn't easy coming up with this list, believe me. As you can see, it's a mix of bakeries, cafes, pastry shops, cupcake stores and farm stands, spanning traditional, French, Italian, Viennese, Portuguese, South American and Middle Eastern influences.

You probably won't agree with many of my picks, so make sure to let me know which of your favorites I left out. The top 20 are listed alphabetically.

When you're finished checking out the story -- and that scrumptious gallery -- take a look at our other recent food showdowns: The New Jersey Pizza Power Rankings a search for the state's best tacos and New Jersey's best mall food.

1. Antoinette Boulangerie, 32 Monmouth St., Red Bank (732) 224-1118. Beautiful hardwood-floored shop with open kitchen and a display case packed with exquisite pastries, tarts and macarons in perfect rows. The executive pastry chef is Gina Roselle Broschart, a former Rutgers gymnast and graduate of the Culinary Institute of America. The coconut macaroons here are pure, simple bite-size coconut bliss.

2. Argentina Bakery, 1611 Bergenline Ave., Union City (201) 601-5801. Ever walk into a bakery and realize just by looking at the cakes and pastries they're going to be good? That was my experience at this tiny shop, where the beautifully-constructed pastries glisten in the display case. Whipped cream, made here, is the key to many of the items. Try the pasta flora, a shredded coconut-topped quince pastry, or the alfajor, white chocolate-topped caramel cookies. Or just about anything else.

Aversa's in Brigantine makes the state's best sticky buns - and great rolls (Peter Genovese I NJ Advance Media for NJ.com)

3. Aversa's Bakery, 3101 Atlantic Ave., Brigantine (609) 264-8880. I have a particular weakness for sticky buns, and this spare bakery just over the bridge from Atlantic City makes the state's best: caramel-gooey, raisin-packed, with great cake. They may make the state's best sandwich bread, too, in the form of the torpedo rolls. Other locations are in Margate, Turnersville and Washington Township.

4. Baker's Treat, 42 Route 12, Flemington (908) 782-3458. I received a ton of recommendations for Factory Fuel Co., a new coffeehouse in the old Stangl Factory in Flemington. Baker's Treat, within walking distance, is better. It is operated by Ability2Work, a nonprofit that trains and employs the developmentally disabled. This may have been the only stop on my field trip last week where everything was excellent: the mocha decadence bar, chocolate ganache brownie macaroons and more. A great stop the next time you're at Liberty Village Premium Outlet, right across the street.

5. Beiler's Bakery, Amish Market at Mullica Hill, 108 Swedesboro Road, Mullica Hill (856) 223-9998. Jersey's Amish markets are irresistible to me: nothing like the sight and smell of fresh-baked pies, breads and cakes, and don't forget the rotisserie chickens. Beiler's is just inside the entrance to this market, and whenever I'm there I head straight for the cinnamon and raisin/cinnamon breads. Inside tip: if you're like me and like to slice your own bread, unsliced loaves are available. Pretty good sticky buns, doughnuts and pies, too.

6. Cafe Pierrot, 212 Main St., Andover (973) 786-6069. Has Cafe Pierrot really been around for 25 years? That surprised even me. Excellent pies, muffins, scones and more in the Andover bakery, a sweet stop on your Andover antique store expedition. Cafe Pierrot's Sparta restaurant serves sandwiches, wraps and salads.

7. Cafe Vienna, 200 Nassau St., Princeton (609) 924-5100. Small, cozy cafe that opened on Princeton's main drag in April. Cakes are made with old family recipes the owner, Anita Waldenberger, grew up in Austria. Recommended: the flourless chocolate cake cheesecake and the strudel, with oodles of apples. Oh, and great coffee, too.

8. Deluxe Italian Bakery, 680 East Clements Bridge Road, Runnemede (856) 939-5000. New Jersey is filled with long-time bakeries cranking out the same tired product this bakery is not one of them. I give you the awesome -- and awesome-sized -- cream-filled doughnuts the filling looks ready to burst out of the pastry and attack you. Elephant ears don't get much respect as a bakery item (with that name, it's no surprise). The ones here -- impossibly light, supremely flaky -- are the best I've had anywhere.


N.J.'s 20 best bakeries: The only list you'll ever need

I cannot live without baked goods, and if you're reading this story, I'm guessing you can't either, especially this time of year, when they are must pick-ups for that big family get-together.

Bread, doughnuts, pastries, cakes, cupcakes, cookies -- if they disappeared from the face of the earth, Iɽ move to another planet.

Which is why our latest food showdown -- a search for the state's best bakeries -- had me both excited and fearful.

Excited, because Iɽ spend nearly a solid week eating my favorite food ever.

Fearful, because how would I possibly survive a glaze-galore, sugar-saturated week?

When the going gets tough, the tough reach for another doughnut. Or pastry. Or cookie.

Here are New Jersey's top 20 bakeries and top 25 baked goods, based on last week's field trip -- 40 bakeries in five days -- plus visits to 75+ other bakeries, pastry shops, donut stands, cupcake shops and more in the past few years.

We received thousands of tips for hundreds of places via e-mail, Twitter, Facebook and on nj.com, and it wasn't easy coming up with this list, believe me. As you can see, it's a mix of bakeries, cafes, pastry shops, cupcake stores and farm stands, spanning traditional, French, Italian, Viennese, Portuguese, South American and Middle Eastern influences.

You probably won't agree with many of my picks, so make sure to let me know which of your favorites I left out. The top 20 are listed alphabetically.

When you're finished checking out the story -- and that scrumptious gallery -- take a look at our other recent food showdowns: The New Jersey Pizza Power Rankings a search for the state's best tacos and New Jersey's best mall food.

1. Antoinette Boulangerie, 32 Monmouth St., Red Bank (732) 224-1118. Beautiful hardwood-floored shop with open kitchen and a display case packed with exquisite pastries, tarts and macarons in perfect rows. The executive pastry chef is Gina Roselle Broschart, a former Rutgers gymnast and graduate of the Culinary Institute of America. The coconut macaroons here are pure, simple bite-size coconut bliss.

2. Argentina Bakery, 1611 Bergenline Ave., Union City (201) 601-5801. Ever walk into a bakery and realize just by looking at the cakes and pastries they're going to be good? That was my experience at this tiny shop, where the beautifully-constructed pastries glisten in the display case. Whipped cream, made here, is the key to many of the items. Try the pasta flora, a shredded coconut-topped quince pastry, or the alfajor, white chocolate-topped caramel cookies. Or just about anything else.

Aversa's in Brigantine makes the state's best sticky buns - and great rolls (Peter Genovese I NJ Advance Media for NJ.com)

3. Aversa's Bakery, 3101 Atlantic Ave., Brigantine (609) 264-8880. I have a particular weakness for sticky buns, and this spare bakery just over the bridge from Atlantic City makes the state's best: caramel-gooey, raisin-packed, with great cake. They may make the state's best sandwich bread, too, in the form of the torpedo rolls. Other locations are in Margate, Turnersville and Washington Township.

4. Baker's Treat, 42 Route 12, Flemington (908) 782-3458. I received a ton of recommendations for Factory Fuel Co., a new coffeehouse in the old Stangl Factory in Flemington. Baker's Treat, within walking distance, is better. It is operated by Ability2Work, a nonprofit that trains and employs the developmentally disabled. This may have been the only stop on my field trip last week where everything was excellent: the mocha decadence bar, chocolate ganache brownie macaroons and more. A great stop the next time you're at Liberty Village Premium Outlet, right across the street.

5. Beiler's Bakery, Amish Market at Mullica Hill, 108 Swedesboro Road, Mullica Hill (856) 223-9998. Jersey's Amish markets are irresistible to me: nothing like the sight and smell of fresh-baked pies, breads and cakes, and don't forget the rotisserie chickens. Beiler's is just inside the entrance to this market, and whenever I'm there I head straight for the cinnamon and raisin/cinnamon breads. Inside tip: if you're like me and like to slice your own bread, unsliced loaves are available. Pretty good sticky buns, doughnuts and pies, too.

6. Cafe Pierrot, 212 Main St., Andover (973) 786-6069. Has Cafe Pierrot really been around for 25 years? That surprised even me. Excellent pies, muffins, scones and more in the Andover bakery, a sweet stop on your Andover antique store expedition. Cafe Pierrot's Sparta restaurant serves sandwiches, wraps and salads.

7. Cafe Vienna, 200 Nassau St., Princeton (609) 924-5100. Small, cozy cafe that opened on Princeton's main drag in April. Cakes are made with old family recipes the owner, Anita Waldenberger, grew up in Austria. Recommended: the flourless chocolate cake cheesecake and the strudel, with oodles of apples. Oh, and great coffee, too.

8. Deluxe Italian Bakery, 680 East Clements Bridge Road, Runnemede (856) 939-5000. New Jersey is filled with long-time bakeries cranking out the same tired product this bakery is not one of them. I give you the awesome -- and awesome-sized -- cream-filled doughnuts the filling looks ready to burst out of the pastry and attack you. Elephant ears don't get much respect as a bakery item (with that name, it's no surprise). The ones here -- impossibly light, supremely flaky -- are the best I've had anywhere.


N.J.'s 20 best bakeries: The only list you'll ever need

I cannot live without baked goods, and if you're reading this story, I'm guessing you can't either, especially this time of year, when they are must pick-ups for that big family get-together.

Bread, doughnuts, pastries, cakes, cupcakes, cookies -- if they disappeared from the face of the earth, Iɽ move to another planet.

Which is why our latest food showdown -- a search for the state's best bakeries -- had me both excited and fearful.

Excited, because Iɽ spend nearly a solid week eating my favorite food ever.

Fearful, because how would I possibly survive a glaze-galore, sugar-saturated week?

When the going gets tough, the tough reach for another doughnut. Or pastry. Or cookie.

Here are New Jersey's top 20 bakeries and top 25 baked goods, based on last week's field trip -- 40 bakeries in five days -- plus visits to 75+ other bakeries, pastry shops, donut stands, cupcake shops and more in the past few years.

We received thousands of tips for hundreds of places via e-mail, Twitter, Facebook and on nj.com, and it wasn't easy coming up with this list, believe me. As you can see, it's a mix of bakeries, cafes, pastry shops, cupcake stores and farm stands, spanning traditional, French, Italian, Viennese, Portuguese, South American and Middle Eastern influences.

You probably won't agree with many of my picks, so make sure to let me know which of your favorites I left out. The top 20 are listed alphabetically.

When you're finished checking out the story -- and that scrumptious gallery -- take a look at our other recent food showdowns: The New Jersey Pizza Power Rankings a search for the state's best tacos and New Jersey's best mall food.

1. Antoinette Boulangerie, 32 Monmouth St., Red Bank (732) 224-1118. Beautiful hardwood-floored shop with open kitchen and a display case packed with exquisite pastries, tarts and macarons in perfect rows. The executive pastry chef is Gina Roselle Broschart, a former Rutgers gymnast and graduate of the Culinary Institute of America. The coconut macaroons here are pure, simple bite-size coconut bliss.

2. Argentina Bakery, 1611 Bergenline Ave., Union City (201) 601-5801. Ever walk into a bakery and realize just by looking at the cakes and pastries they're going to be good? That was my experience at this tiny shop, where the beautifully-constructed pastries glisten in the display case. Whipped cream, made here, is the key to many of the items. Try the pasta flora, a shredded coconut-topped quince pastry, or the alfajor, white chocolate-topped caramel cookies. Or just about anything else.

Aversa's in Brigantine makes the state's best sticky buns - and great rolls (Peter Genovese I NJ Advance Media for NJ.com)

3. Aversa's Bakery, 3101 Atlantic Ave., Brigantine (609) 264-8880. I have a particular weakness for sticky buns, and this spare bakery just over the bridge from Atlantic City makes the state's best: caramel-gooey, raisin-packed, with great cake. They may make the state's best sandwich bread, too, in the form of the torpedo rolls. Other locations are in Margate, Turnersville and Washington Township.

4. Baker's Treat, 42 Route 12, Flemington (908) 782-3458. I received a ton of recommendations for Factory Fuel Co., a new coffeehouse in the old Stangl Factory in Flemington. Baker's Treat, within walking distance, is better. It is operated by Ability2Work, a nonprofit that trains and employs the developmentally disabled. This may have been the only stop on my field trip last week where everything was excellent: the mocha decadence bar, chocolate ganache brownie macaroons and more. A great stop the next time you're at Liberty Village Premium Outlet, right across the street.

5. Beiler's Bakery, Amish Market at Mullica Hill, 108 Swedesboro Road, Mullica Hill (856) 223-9998. Jersey's Amish markets are irresistible to me: nothing like the sight and smell of fresh-baked pies, breads and cakes, and don't forget the rotisserie chickens. Beiler's is just inside the entrance to this market, and whenever I'm there I head straight for the cinnamon and raisin/cinnamon breads. Inside tip: if you're like me and like to slice your own bread, unsliced loaves are available. Pretty good sticky buns, doughnuts and pies, too.

6. Cafe Pierrot, 212 Main St., Andover (973) 786-6069. Has Cafe Pierrot really been around for 25 years? That surprised even me. Excellent pies, muffins, scones and more in the Andover bakery, a sweet stop on your Andover antique store expedition. Cafe Pierrot's Sparta restaurant serves sandwiches, wraps and salads.

7. Cafe Vienna, 200 Nassau St., Princeton (609) 924-5100. Small, cozy cafe that opened on Princeton's main drag in April. Cakes are made with old family recipes the owner, Anita Waldenberger, grew up in Austria. Recommended: the flourless chocolate cake cheesecake and the strudel, with oodles of apples. Oh, and great coffee, too.

8. Deluxe Italian Bakery, 680 East Clements Bridge Road, Runnemede (856) 939-5000. New Jersey is filled with long-time bakeries cranking out the same tired product this bakery is not one of them. I give you the awesome -- and awesome-sized -- cream-filled doughnuts the filling looks ready to burst out of the pastry and attack you. Elephant ears don't get much respect as a bakery item (with that name, it's no surprise). The ones here -- impossibly light, supremely flaky -- are the best I've had anywhere.


N.J.'s 20 best bakeries: The only list you'll ever need

I cannot live without baked goods, and if you're reading this story, I'm guessing you can't either, especially this time of year, when they are must pick-ups for that big family get-together.

Bread, doughnuts, pastries, cakes, cupcakes, cookies -- if they disappeared from the face of the earth, Iɽ move to another planet.

Which is why our latest food showdown -- a search for the state's best bakeries -- had me both excited and fearful.

Excited, because Iɽ spend nearly a solid week eating my favorite food ever.

Fearful, because how would I possibly survive a glaze-galore, sugar-saturated week?

When the going gets tough, the tough reach for another doughnut. Or pastry. Or cookie.

Here are New Jersey's top 20 bakeries and top 25 baked goods, based on last week's field trip -- 40 bakeries in five days -- plus visits to 75+ other bakeries, pastry shops, donut stands, cupcake shops and more in the past few years.

We received thousands of tips for hundreds of places via e-mail, Twitter, Facebook and on nj.com, and it wasn't easy coming up with this list, believe me. As you can see, it's a mix of bakeries, cafes, pastry shops, cupcake stores and farm stands, spanning traditional, French, Italian, Viennese, Portuguese, South American and Middle Eastern influences.

You probably won't agree with many of my picks, so make sure to let me know which of your favorites I left out. The top 20 are listed alphabetically.

When you're finished checking out the story -- and that scrumptious gallery -- take a look at our other recent food showdowns: The New Jersey Pizza Power Rankings a search for the state's best tacos and New Jersey's best mall food.

1. Antoinette Boulangerie, 32 Monmouth St., Red Bank (732) 224-1118. Beautiful hardwood-floored shop with open kitchen and a display case packed with exquisite pastries, tarts and macarons in perfect rows. The executive pastry chef is Gina Roselle Broschart, a former Rutgers gymnast and graduate of the Culinary Institute of America. The coconut macaroons here are pure, simple bite-size coconut bliss.

2. Argentina Bakery, 1611 Bergenline Ave., Union City (201) 601-5801. Ever walk into a bakery and realize just by looking at the cakes and pastries they're going to be good? That was my experience at this tiny shop, where the beautifully-constructed pastries glisten in the display case. Whipped cream, made here, is the key to many of the items. Try the pasta flora, a shredded coconut-topped quince pastry, or the alfajor, white chocolate-topped caramel cookies. Or just about anything else.

Aversa's in Brigantine makes the state's best sticky buns - and great rolls (Peter Genovese I NJ Advance Media for NJ.com)

3. Aversa's Bakery, 3101 Atlantic Ave., Brigantine (609) 264-8880. I have a particular weakness for sticky buns, and this spare bakery just over the bridge from Atlantic City makes the state's best: caramel-gooey, raisin-packed, with great cake. They may make the state's best sandwich bread, too, in the form of the torpedo rolls. Other locations are in Margate, Turnersville and Washington Township.

4. Baker's Treat, 42 Route 12, Flemington (908) 782-3458. I received a ton of recommendations for Factory Fuel Co., a new coffeehouse in the old Stangl Factory in Flemington. Baker's Treat, within walking distance, is better. It is operated by Ability2Work, a nonprofit that trains and employs the developmentally disabled. This may have been the only stop on my field trip last week where everything was excellent: the mocha decadence bar, chocolate ganache brownie macaroons and more. A great stop the next time you're at Liberty Village Premium Outlet, right across the street.

5. Beiler's Bakery, Amish Market at Mullica Hill, 108 Swedesboro Road, Mullica Hill (856) 223-9998. Jersey's Amish markets are irresistible to me: nothing like the sight and smell of fresh-baked pies, breads and cakes, and don't forget the rotisserie chickens. Beiler's is just inside the entrance to this market, and whenever I'm there I head straight for the cinnamon and raisin/cinnamon breads. Inside tip: if you're like me and like to slice your own bread, unsliced loaves are available. Pretty good sticky buns, doughnuts and pies, too.

6. Cafe Pierrot, 212 Main St., Andover (973) 786-6069. Has Cafe Pierrot really been around for 25 years? That surprised even me. Excellent pies, muffins, scones and more in the Andover bakery, a sweet stop on your Andover antique store expedition. Cafe Pierrot's Sparta restaurant serves sandwiches, wraps and salads.

7. Cafe Vienna, 200 Nassau St., Princeton (609) 924-5100. Small, cozy cafe that opened on Princeton's main drag in April. Cakes are made with old family recipes the owner, Anita Waldenberger, grew up in Austria. Recommended: the flourless chocolate cake cheesecake and the strudel, with oodles of apples. Oh, and great coffee, too.

8. Deluxe Italian Bakery, 680 East Clements Bridge Road, Runnemede (856) 939-5000. New Jersey is filled with long-time bakeries cranking out the same tired product this bakery is not one of them. I give you the awesome -- and awesome-sized -- cream-filled doughnuts the filling looks ready to burst out of the pastry and attack you. Elephant ears don't get much respect as a bakery item (with that name, it's no surprise). The ones here -- impossibly light, supremely flaky -- are the best I've had anywhere.


N.J.'s 20 best bakeries: The only list you'll ever need

I cannot live without baked goods, and if you're reading this story, I'm guessing you can't either, especially this time of year, when they are must pick-ups for that big family get-together.

Bread, doughnuts, pastries, cakes, cupcakes, cookies -- if they disappeared from the face of the earth, Iɽ move to another planet.

Which is why our latest food showdown -- a search for the state's best bakeries -- had me both excited and fearful.

Excited, because Iɽ spend nearly a solid week eating my favorite food ever.

Fearful, because how would I possibly survive a glaze-galore, sugar-saturated week?

When the going gets tough, the tough reach for another doughnut. Or pastry. Or cookie.

Here are New Jersey's top 20 bakeries and top 25 baked goods, based on last week's field trip -- 40 bakeries in five days -- plus visits to 75+ other bakeries, pastry shops, donut stands, cupcake shops and more in the past few years.

We received thousands of tips for hundreds of places via e-mail, Twitter, Facebook and on nj.com, and it wasn't easy coming up with this list, believe me. As you can see, it's a mix of bakeries, cafes, pastry shops, cupcake stores and farm stands, spanning traditional, French, Italian, Viennese, Portuguese, South American and Middle Eastern influences.

You probably won't agree with many of my picks, so make sure to let me know which of your favorites I left out. The top 20 are listed alphabetically.

When you're finished checking out the story -- and that scrumptious gallery -- take a look at our other recent food showdowns: The New Jersey Pizza Power Rankings a search for the state's best tacos and New Jersey's best mall food.

1. Antoinette Boulangerie, 32 Monmouth St., Red Bank (732) 224-1118. Beautiful hardwood-floored shop with open kitchen and a display case packed with exquisite pastries, tarts and macarons in perfect rows. The executive pastry chef is Gina Roselle Broschart, a former Rutgers gymnast and graduate of the Culinary Institute of America. The coconut macaroons here are pure, simple bite-size coconut bliss.

2. Argentina Bakery, 1611 Bergenline Ave., Union City (201) 601-5801. Ever walk into a bakery and realize just by looking at the cakes and pastries they're going to be good? That was my experience at this tiny shop, where the beautifully-constructed pastries glisten in the display case. Whipped cream, made here, is the key to many of the items. Try the pasta flora, a shredded coconut-topped quince pastry, or the alfajor, white chocolate-topped caramel cookies. Or just about anything else.

Aversa's in Brigantine makes the state's best sticky buns - and great rolls (Peter Genovese I NJ Advance Media for NJ.com)

3. Aversa's Bakery, 3101 Atlantic Ave., Brigantine (609) 264-8880. I have a particular weakness for sticky buns, and this spare bakery just over the bridge from Atlantic City makes the state's best: caramel-gooey, raisin-packed, with great cake. They may make the state's best sandwich bread, too, in the form of the torpedo rolls. Other locations are in Margate, Turnersville and Washington Township.

4. Baker's Treat, 42 Route 12, Flemington (908) 782-3458. I received a ton of recommendations for Factory Fuel Co., a new coffeehouse in the old Stangl Factory in Flemington. Baker's Treat, within walking distance, is better. It is operated by Ability2Work, a nonprofit that trains and employs the developmentally disabled. This may have been the only stop on my field trip last week where everything was excellent: the mocha decadence bar, chocolate ganache brownie macaroons and more. A great stop the next time you're at Liberty Village Premium Outlet, right across the street.

5. Beiler's Bakery, Amish Market at Mullica Hill, 108 Swedesboro Road, Mullica Hill (856) 223-9998. Jersey's Amish markets are irresistible to me: nothing like the sight and smell of fresh-baked pies, breads and cakes, and don't forget the rotisserie chickens. Beiler's is just inside the entrance to this market, and whenever I'm there I head straight for the cinnamon and raisin/cinnamon breads. Inside tip: if you're like me and like to slice your own bread, unsliced loaves are available. Pretty good sticky buns, doughnuts and pies, too.

6. Cafe Pierrot, 212 Main St., Andover (973) 786-6069. Has Cafe Pierrot really been around for 25 years? That surprised even me. Excellent pies, muffins, scones and more in the Andover bakery, a sweet stop on your Andover antique store expedition. Cafe Pierrot's Sparta restaurant serves sandwiches, wraps and salads.

7. Cafe Vienna, 200 Nassau St., Princeton (609) 924-5100. Small, cozy cafe that opened on Princeton's main drag in April. Cakes are made with old family recipes the owner, Anita Waldenberger, grew up in Austria. Recommended: the flourless chocolate cake cheesecake and the strudel, with oodles of apples. Oh, and great coffee, too.

8. Deluxe Italian Bakery, 680 East Clements Bridge Road, Runnemede (856) 939-5000. New Jersey is filled with long-time bakeries cranking out the same tired product this bakery is not one of them. I give you the awesome -- and awesome-sized -- cream-filled doughnuts the filling looks ready to burst out of the pastry and attack you. Elephant ears don't get much respect as a bakery item (with that name, it's no surprise). The ones here -- impossibly light, supremely flaky -- are the best I've had anywhere.


N.J.'s 20 best bakeries: The only list you'll ever need

I cannot live without baked goods, and if you're reading this story, I'm guessing you can't either, especially this time of year, when they are must pick-ups for that big family get-together.

Bread, doughnuts, pastries, cakes, cupcakes, cookies -- if they disappeared from the face of the earth, Iɽ move to another planet.

Which is why our latest food showdown -- a search for the state's best bakeries -- had me both excited and fearful.

Excited, because Iɽ spend nearly a solid week eating my favorite food ever.

Fearful, because how would I possibly survive a glaze-galore, sugar-saturated week?

When the going gets tough, the tough reach for another doughnut. Or pastry. Or cookie.

Here are New Jersey's top 20 bakeries and top 25 baked goods, based on last week's field trip -- 40 bakeries in five days -- plus visits to 75+ other bakeries, pastry shops, donut stands, cupcake shops and more in the past few years.

We received thousands of tips for hundreds of places via e-mail, Twitter, Facebook and on nj.com, and it wasn't easy coming up with this list, believe me. As you can see, it's a mix of bakeries, cafes, pastry shops, cupcake stores and farm stands, spanning traditional, French, Italian, Viennese, Portuguese, South American and Middle Eastern influences.

You probably won't agree with many of my picks, so make sure to let me know which of your favorites I left out. The top 20 are listed alphabetically.

When you're finished checking out the story -- and that scrumptious gallery -- take a look at our other recent food showdowns: The New Jersey Pizza Power Rankings a search for the state's best tacos and New Jersey's best mall food.

1. Antoinette Boulangerie, 32 Monmouth St., Red Bank (732) 224-1118. Beautiful hardwood-floored shop with open kitchen and a display case packed with exquisite pastries, tarts and macarons in perfect rows. The executive pastry chef is Gina Roselle Broschart, a former Rutgers gymnast and graduate of the Culinary Institute of America. The coconut macaroons here are pure, simple bite-size coconut bliss.

2. Argentina Bakery, 1611 Bergenline Ave., Union City (201) 601-5801. Ever walk into a bakery and realize just by looking at the cakes and pastries they're going to be good? That was my experience at this tiny shop, where the beautifully-constructed pastries glisten in the display case. Whipped cream, made here, is the key to many of the items. Try the pasta flora, a shredded coconut-topped quince pastry, or the alfajor, white chocolate-topped caramel cookies. Or just about anything else.

Aversa's in Brigantine makes the state's best sticky buns - and great rolls (Peter Genovese I NJ Advance Media for NJ.com)

3. Aversa's Bakery, 3101 Atlantic Ave., Brigantine (609) 264-8880. I have a particular weakness for sticky buns, and this spare bakery just over the bridge from Atlantic City makes the state's best: caramel-gooey, raisin-packed, with great cake. They may make the state's best sandwich bread, too, in the form of the torpedo rolls. Other locations are in Margate, Turnersville and Washington Township.

4. Baker's Treat, 42 Route 12, Flemington (908) 782-3458. I received a ton of recommendations for Factory Fuel Co., a new coffeehouse in the old Stangl Factory in Flemington. Baker's Treat, within walking distance, is better. It is operated by Ability2Work, a nonprofit that trains and employs the developmentally disabled. This may have been the only stop on my field trip last week where everything was excellent: the mocha decadence bar, chocolate ganache brownie macaroons and more. A great stop the next time you're at Liberty Village Premium Outlet, right across the street.

5. Beiler's Bakery, Amish Market at Mullica Hill, 108 Swedesboro Road, Mullica Hill (856) 223-9998. Jersey's Amish markets are irresistible to me: nothing like the sight and smell of fresh-baked pies, breads and cakes, and don't forget the rotisserie chickens. Beiler's is just inside the entrance to this market, and whenever I'm there I head straight for the cinnamon and raisin/cinnamon breads. Inside tip: if you're like me and like to slice your own bread, unsliced loaves are available. Pretty good sticky buns, doughnuts and pies, too.

6. Cafe Pierrot, 212 Main St., Andover (973) 786-6069. Has Cafe Pierrot really been around for 25 years? That surprised even me. Excellent pies, muffins, scones and more in the Andover bakery, a sweet stop on your Andover antique store expedition. Cafe Pierrot's Sparta restaurant serves sandwiches, wraps and salads.

7. Cafe Vienna, 200 Nassau St., Princeton (609) 924-5100. Small, cozy cafe that opened on Princeton's main drag in April. Cakes are made with old family recipes the owner, Anita Waldenberger, grew up in Austria. Recommended: the flourless chocolate cake cheesecake and the strudel, with oodles of apples. Oh, and great coffee, too.

8. Deluxe Italian Bakery, 680 East Clements Bridge Road, Runnemede (856) 939-5000. New Jersey is filled with long-time bakeries cranking out the same tired product this bakery is not one of them. I give you the awesome -- and awesome-sized -- cream-filled doughnuts the filling looks ready to burst out of the pastry and attack you. Elephant ears don't get much respect as a bakery item (with that name, it's no surprise). The ones here -- impossibly light, supremely flaky -- are the best I've had anywhere.


N.J.'s 20 best bakeries: The only list you'll ever need

I cannot live without baked goods, and if you're reading this story, I'm guessing you can't either, especially this time of year, when they are must pick-ups for that big family get-together.

Bread, doughnuts, pastries, cakes, cupcakes, cookies -- if they disappeared from the face of the earth, Iɽ move to another planet.

Which is why our latest food showdown -- a search for the state's best bakeries -- had me both excited and fearful.

Excited, because Iɽ spend nearly a solid week eating my favorite food ever.

Fearful, because how would I possibly survive a glaze-galore, sugar-saturated week?

When the going gets tough, the tough reach for another doughnut. Or pastry. Or cookie.

Here are New Jersey's top 20 bakeries and top 25 baked goods, based on last week's field trip -- 40 bakeries in five days -- plus visits to 75+ other bakeries, pastry shops, donut stands, cupcake shops and more in the past few years.

We received thousands of tips for hundreds of places via e-mail, Twitter, Facebook and on nj.com, and it wasn't easy coming up with this list, believe me. As you can see, it's a mix of bakeries, cafes, pastry shops, cupcake stores and farm stands, spanning traditional, French, Italian, Viennese, Portuguese, South American and Middle Eastern influences.

You probably won't agree with many of my picks, so make sure to let me know which of your favorites I left out. The top 20 are listed alphabetically.

When you're finished checking out the story -- and that scrumptious gallery -- take a look at our other recent food showdowns: The New Jersey Pizza Power Rankings a search for the state's best tacos and New Jersey's best mall food.

1. Antoinette Boulangerie, 32 Monmouth St., Red Bank (732) 224-1118. Beautiful hardwood-floored shop with open kitchen and a display case packed with exquisite pastries, tarts and macarons in perfect rows. The executive pastry chef is Gina Roselle Broschart, a former Rutgers gymnast and graduate of the Culinary Institute of America. The coconut macaroons here are pure, simple bite-size coconut bliss.

2. Argentina Bakery, 1611 Bergenline Ave., Union City (201) 601-5801. Ever walk into a bakery and realize just by looking at the cakes and pastries they're going to be good? That was my experience at this tiny shop, where the beautifully-constructed pastries glisten in the display case. Whipped cream, made here, is the key to many of the items. Try the pasta flora, a shredded coconut-topped quince pastry, or the alfajor, white chocolate-topped caramel cookies. Or just about anything else.

Aversa's in Brigantine makes the state's best sticky buns - and great rolls (Peter Genovese I NJ Advance Media for NJ.com)

3. Aversa's Bakery, 3101 Atlantic Ave., Brigantine (609) 264-8880. I have a particular weakness for sticky buns, and this spare bakery just over the bridge from Atlantic City makes the state's best: caramel-gooey, raisin-packed, with great cake. They may make the state's best sandwich bread, too, in the form of the torpedo rolls. Other locations are in Margate, Turnersville and Washington Township.

4. Baker's Treat, 42 Route 12, Flemington (908) 782-3458. I received a ton of recommendations for Factory Fuel Co., a new coffeehouse in the old Stangl Factory in Flemington. Baker's Treat, within walking distance, is better. It is operated by Ability2Work, a nonprofit that trains and employs the developmentally disabled. This may have been the only stop on my field trip last week where everything was excellent: the mocha decadence bar, chocolate ganache brownie macaroons and more. A great stop the next time you're at Liberty Village Premium Outlet, right across the street.

5. Beiler's Bakery, Amish Market at Mullica Hill, 108 Swedesboro Road, Mullica Hill (856) 223-9998. Jersey's Amish markets are irresistible to me: nothing like the sight and smell of fresh-baked pies, breads and cakes, and don't forget the rotisserie chickens. Beiler's is just inside the entrance to this market, and whenever I'm there I head straight for the cinnamon and raisin/cinnamon breads. Inside tip: if you're like me and like to slice your own bread, unsliced loaves are available. Pretty good sticky buns, doughnuts and pies, too.

6. Cafe Pierrot, 212 Main St., Andover (973) 786-6069. Has Cafe Pierrot really been around for 25 years? That surprised even me. Excellent pies, muffins, scones and more in the Andover bakery, a sweet stop on your Andover antique store expedition. Cafe Pierrot's Sparta restaurant serves sandwiches, wraps and salads.

7. Cafe Vienna, 200 Nassau St., Princeton (609) 924-5100. Small, cozy cafe that opened on Princeton's main drag in April. Cakes are made with old family recipes the owner, Anita Waldenberger, grew up in Austria. Recommended: the flourless chocolate cake cheesecake and the strudel, with oodles of apples. Oh, and great coffee, too.

8. Deluxe Italian Bakery, 680 East Clements Bridge Road, Runnemede (856) 939-5000. New Jersey is filled with long-time bakeries cranking out the same tired product this bakery is not one of them. I give you the awesome -- and awesome-sized -- cream-filled doughnuts the filling looks ready to burst out of the pastry and attack you. Elephant ears don't get much respect as a bakery item (with that name, it's no surprise). The ones here -- impossibly light, supremely flaky -- are the best I've had anywhere.


N.J.'s 20 best bakeries: The only list you'll ever need

I cannot live without baked goods, and if you're reading this story, I'm guessing you can't either, especially this time of year, when they are must pick-ups for that big family get-together.

Bread, doughnuts, pastries, cakes, cupcakes, cookies -- if they disappeared from the face of the earth, Iɽ move to another planet.

Which is why our latest food showdown -- a search for the state's best bakeries -- had me both excited and fearful.

Excited, because Iɽ spend nearly a solid week eating my favorite food ever.

Fearful, because how would I possibly survive a glaze-galore, sugar-saturated week?

When the going gets tough, the tough reach for another doughnut. Or pastry. Or cookie.

Here are New Jersey's top 20 bakeries and top 25 baked goods, based on last week's field trip -- 40 bakeries in five days -- plus visits to 75+ other bakeries, pastry shops, donut stands, cupcake shops and more in the past few years.

We received thousands of tips for hundreds of places via e-mail, Twitter, Facebook and on nj.com, and it wasn't easy coming up with this list, believe me. As you can see, it's a mix of bakeries, cafes, pastry shops, cupcake stores and farm stands, spanning traditional, French, Italian, Viennese, Portuguese, South American and Middle Eastern influences.

You probably won't agree with many of my picks, so make sure to let me know which of your favorites I left out. The top 20 are listed alphabetically.

When you're finished checking out the story -- and that scrumptious gallery -- take a look at our other recent food showdowns: The New Jersey Pizza Power Rankings a search for the state's best tacos and New Jersey's best mall food.

1. Antoinette Boulangerie, 32 Monmouth St., Red Bank (732) 224-1118. Beautiful hardwood-floored shop with open kitchen and a display case packed with exquisite pastries, tarts and macarons in perfect rows. The executive pastry chef is Gina Roselle Broschart, a former Rutgers gymnast and graduate of the Culinary Institute of America. The coconut macaroons here are pure, simple bite-size coconut bliss.

2. Argentina Bakery, 1611 Bergenline Ave., Union City (201) 601-5801. Ever walk into a bakery and realize just by looking at the cakes and pastries they're going to be good? That was my experience at this tiny shop, where the beautifully-constructed pastries glisten in the display case. Whipped cream, made here, is the key to many of the items. Try the pasta flora, a shredded coconut-topped quince pastry, or the alfajor, white chocolate-topped caramel cookies. Or just about anything else.

Aversa's in Brigantine makes the state's best sticky buns - and great rolls (Peter Genovese I NJ Advance Media for NJ.com)

3. Aversa's Bakery, 3101 Atlantic Ave., Brigantine (609) 264-8880. I have a particular weakness for sticky buns, and this spare bakery just over the bridge from Atlantic City makes the state's best: caramel-gooey, raisin-packed, with great cake. They may make the state's best sandwich bread, too, in the form of the torpedo rolls. Other locations are in Margate, Turnersville and Washington Township.

4. Baker's Treat, 42 Route 12, Flemington (908) 782-3458. I received a ton of recommendations for Factory Fuel Co., a new coffeehouse in the old Stangl Factory in Flemington. Baker's Treat, within walking distance, is better. It is operated by Ability2Work, a nonprofit that trains and employs the developmentally disabled. This may have been the only stop on my field trip last week where everything was excellent: the mocha decadence bar, chocolate ganache brownie macaroons and more. A great stop the next time you're at Liberty Village Premium Outlet, right across the street.

5. Beiler's Bakery, Amish Market at Mullica Hill, 108 Swedesboro Road, Mullica Hill (856) 223-9998. Jersey's Amish markets are irresistible to me: nothing like the sight and smell of fresh-baked pies, breads and cakes, and don't forget the rotisserie chickens. Beiler's is just inside the entrance to this market, and whenever I'm there I head straight for the cinnamon and raisin/cinnamon breads. Inside tip: if you're like me and like to slice your own bread, unsliced loaves are available. Pretty good sticky buns, doughnuts and pies, too.

6. Cafe Pierrot, 212 Main St., Andover (973) 786-6069. Has Cafe Pierrot really been around for 25 years? That surprised even me. Excellent pies, muffins, scones and more in the Andover bakery, a sweet stop on your Andover antique store expedition. Cafe Pierrot's Sparta restaurant serves sandwiches, wraps and salads.

7. Cafe Vienna, 200 Nassau St., Princeton (609) 924-5100. Small, cozy cafe that opened on Princeton's main drag in April. Cakes are made with old family recipes the owner, Anita Waldenberger, grew up in Austria. Recommended: the flourless chocolate cake cheesecake and the strudel, with oodles of apples. Oh, and great coffee, too.

8. Deluxe Italian Bakery, 680 East Clements Bridge Road, Runnemede (856) 939-5000. New Jersey is filled with long-time bakeries cranking out the same tired product this bakery is not one of them. I give you the awesome -- and awesome-sized -- cream-filled doughnuts the filling looks ready to burst out of the pastry and attack you. Elephant ears don't get much respect as a bakery item (with that name, it's no surprise). The ones here -- impossibly light, supremely flaky -- are the best I've had anywhere.


N.J.'s 20 best bakeries: The only list you'll ever need

I cannot live without baked goods, and if you're reading this story, I'm guessing you can't either, especially this time of year, when they are must pick-ups for that big family get-together.

Bread, doughnuts, pastries, cakes, cupcakes, cookies -- if they disappeared from the face of the earth, Iɽ move to another planet.

Which is why our latest food showdown -- a search for the state's best bakeries -- had me both excited and fearful.

Excited, because Iɽ spend nearly a solid week eating my favorite food ever.

Fearful, because how would I possibly survive a glaze-galore, sugar-saturated week?

When the going gets tough, the tough reach for another doughnut. Or pastry. Or cookie.

Here are New Jersey's top 20 bakeries and top 25 baked goods, based on last week's field trip -- 40 bakeries in five days -- plus visits to 75+ other bakeries, pastry shops, donut stands, cupcake shops and more in the past few years.

We received thousands of tips for hundreds of places via e-mail, Twitter, Facebook and on nj.com, and it wasn't easy coming up with this list, believe me. As you can see, it's a mix of bakeries, cafes, pastry shops, cupcake stores and farm stands, spanning traditional, French, Italian, Viennese, Portuguese, South American and Middle Eastern influences.

You probably won't agree with many of my picks, so make sure to let me know which of your favorites I left out. The top 20 are listed alphabetically.

When you're finished checking out the story -- and that scrumptious gallery -- take a look at our other recent food showdowns: The New Jersey Pizza Power Rankings a search for the state's best tacos and New Jersey's best mall food.

1. Antoinette Boulangerie, 32 Monmouth St., Red Bank (732) 224-1118. Beautiful hardwood-floored shop with open kitchen and a display case packed with exquisite pastries, tarts and macarons in perfect rows. The executive pastry chef is Gina Roselle Broschart, a former Rutgers gymnast and graduate of the Culinary Institute of America. The coconut macaroons here are pure, simple bite-size coconut bliss.

2. Argentina Bakery, 1611 Bergenline Ave., Union City (201) 601-5801. Ever walk into a bakery and realize just by looking at the cakes and pastries they're going to be good? That was my experience at this tiny shop, where the beautifully-constructed pastries glisten in the display case. Whipped cream, made here, is the key to many of the items. Try the pasta flora, a shredded coconut-topped quince pastry, or the alfajor, white chocolate-topped caramel cookies. Or just about anything else.

Aversa's in Brigantine makes the state's best sticky buns - and great rolls (Peter Genovese I NJ Advance Media for NJ.com)

3. Aversa's Bakery, 3101 Atlantic Ave., Brigantine (609) 264-8880. I have a particular weakness for sticky buns, and this spare bakery just over the bridge from Atlantic City makes the state's best: caramel-gooey, raisin-packed, with great cake. They may make the state's best sandwich bread, too, in the form of the torpedo rolls. Other locations are in Margate, Turnersville and Washington Township.

4. Baker's Treat, 42 Route 12, Flemington (908) 782-3458. I received a ton of recommendations for Factory Fuel Co., a new coffeehouse in the old Stangl Factory in Flemington. Baker's Treat, within walking distance, is better. It is operated by Ability2Work, a nonprofit that trains and employs the developmentally disabled. This may have been the only stop on my field trip last week where everything was excellent: the mocha decadence bar, chocolate ganache brownie macaroons and more. A great stop the next time you're at Liberty Village Premium Outlet, right across the street.

5. Beiler's Bakery, Amish Market at Mullica Hill, 108 Swedesboro Road, Mullica Hill (856) 223-9998. Jersey's Amish markets are irresistible to me: nothing like the sight and smell of fresh-baked pies, breads and cakes, and don't forget the rotisserie chickens. Beiler's is just inside the entrance to this market, and whenever I'm there I head straight for the cinnamon and raisin/cinnamon breads. Inside tip: if you're like me and like to slice your own bread, unsliced loaves are available. Pretty good sticky buns, doughnuts and pies, too.

6. Cafe Pierrot, 212 Main St., Andover (973) 786-6069. Has Cafe Pierrot really been around for 25 years? That surprised even me. Excellent pies, muffins, scones and more in the Andover bakery, a sweet stop on your Andover antique store expedition. Cafe Pierrot's Sparta restaurant serves sandwiches, wraps and salads.

7. Cafe Vienna, 200 Nassau St., Princeton (609) 924-5100. Small, cozy cafe that opened on Princeton's main drag in April. Cakes are made with old family recipes the owner, Anita Waldenberger, grew up in Austria. Recommended: the flourless chocolate cake cheesecake and the strudel, with oodles of apples. Oh, and great coffee, too.

8. Deluxe Italian Bakery, 680 East Clements Bridge Road, Runnemede (856) 939-5000. New Jersey is filled with long-time bakeries cranking out the same tired product this bakery is not one of them. I give you the awesome -- and awesome-sized -- cream-filled doughnuts the filling looks ready to burst out of the pastry and attack you. Elephant ears don't get much respect as a bakery item (with that name, it's no surprise). The ones here -- impossibly light, supremely flaky -- are the best I've had anywhere.


Watch the video: Behind the scenes at a French bakery (December 2022).