The best desserts in NYC: Where to treat yourself this summer

Hot weather is always a great excuse for a frozen indulgence, and this summer, New York City is buzzing with exciting options from familiar favorites to tasty new trends. But, with so many delicious offerings — from fresh fruit pops to fancy ice cream sandwiches — you could get a brain freeze just trying to decide what to treat yourself to.

Thankfully, we’ve broken it all down scoop by scoop: Here are the best frozen delights to try in the city this season.
Serendipity3
Upper East Side
Joe Calderone, Creative Director at Serendipity3, holds up one of the famed eatery’s newest desserts, the It’s Your Birthday Cake Sundae.
Joe Calderone, Creative Director at Serendipity3, with the new It’s Your Birthday Cake Sundae.
Stefano Giovannini

After closing for over a year, Serendipity3 — the iconic restaurant on East 60th Street — reopened its doors on Friday. The popular dessert spot is, of course, famous for its Frrrozen Hot Chocolate ($15.95), as well as its three-hour-long lines, but it’s returning with some new menu items.
Serendipity3’s famed Frrrozen Hot Chocolate is back!Serendipity3’s famed Frrrozen Hot Chocolate is back!Stefano Giovannini

“We’ve added the It’s My Birthday Cake Sundae, which is amazing,” says Serendipity3’s Creative Director, Joe Calderone, 59. “And we have a bunch of new frozen hot chocolates coming in the next couple of weeks.”

The new sundae features a tall piece of birthday cake with blue and red sponge and purple and white frosting, accompanied by three scoops of birthday cake ice cream, whipped cream with sprinkles and a cherry on top.

During the closure, the restaurant got a face-lift of sorts. The kitchen was renovated and the famed red pegasus leaping across one of the walls was transformed into a unicorn with a neon blue horn. Classic design elements like Tiffany lamps and hexagon-tiled floors remain.

Calderone said: “We’re just so happy to be able to open our doors again.”

It’s My Birthday Cake Sundae, $26.95. 225 E. 60th St.; 212-838-3531, Serendipity3.com
Island Pops
Crown Heights, Brooklyn
Island Pops brings the rich flavors of the Caribbean to Brooklyn with their collection of gourmet sorbet, ice cream and popsicles.
The mango pop from Island Pops.
Island Pops

Get the taste of the Caribbean in Crown Heights with Island Pops. “When it’s over 90 degrees, the pops sell out,” said co-founder Shelly Marshall, who runs the company (which now ships nationwide) with her husband Khalid Hamid.
Their island snow cone sorbet is an indulgent mix of tropical flavors with a creamy texture.The Snow Cone sorbet inspired by CarnivalIsland Pops

See if you can snag their popular punchy red sorrel (hibiscus) pop, or their bold mango flavor, made with puree from Ecuador.

“People are noticing it’s so rich,” she said. “In Trinidad we have starch mangoes, they’re small and they’re super sweet — it tastes like those. Kids really love them.”

For more island bliss, try the Island Snow Cone sorbet, made with guava, passionfruit, mango and a splash of hibiscus tea. “We’re from Trinidad and Carnival is the biggest event of the year. We all missed out on it during the pandemic, so this flavor was the biggest hit,” she said. “It reminds people of having snow cones at the Savannah in the Port-of-Spain.”

Pops, $3, and ice creams, $4.50. 680 Nostrand Ave.; 347-365-6737, IslandPops.com
Max & Minas
Flushing, Queens
Owner Bruce Becker holds a cone of new flavors, cinnamon toast rugelach and croissant date walnut.
Owner Bruce Becker holds a cone of new flavors, cinnamon toast rugelach and croissant date walnut.
Tamara Beckwith

Max & Minas offers kosher ice cream in truly unique flavors. Co-owners and brothers Bruce and Mark Becker take inspiration from their grandfather Max, an organic chemist who kept a recipe book with all sorts of whimsical ideas. The Beckers have developed over 10,000 flavors, experimenting with ingredients like horseradish and beer.

This summer, the colorful shop — which is known for its quirky decor of throwback cereal boxes and vintage posters — is introducing several flavors worth flocking to Flushing for: Cinnamon Toast Crunch Rugelach, Croissant Date Walnut and PB & Jelly Marshmallow Fluff.

Cinnamon Toast Crunch Rugelach, $8 for small, $12.50 for large. 7126 Main St.; 718-793-8629, Max-Minas-Ice-Cream.Business.Site.
Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Cream
West Village
Nicholas Morgenstern holds up the two new ice cream burgers at Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Cream.Nicholas Morgenstern with the ice cream burgers.Tamara Beckwith

At Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Cream’s downtown flagship, sweet-toothed visitors can sink their chops into a buttered and toasted burger bun — with Neapolitan scoops of chocolate, vanilla and strawberry sandwiched in between.

“The bun is the perfect vehicle because it soaks up any ice cream that melts — and that softens the toasted bun pretty nicely,” said Morgenstern’s 43-year-old founder and owner, Nicholas Morgenstern, of the Ice Cream Burger, which was released in June and costs $10.

“It’s so perfect for walking around and enjoying New York City coming back to life.”

Ice Cream Burger, $10. 88 W. Houston St.; 212-209-7684, MorgensternsNYC.com
The Musket Room
Nolita
Options include a vegan coconut caramel cookie with coconut ice cream, a chocolate chip cookie with miso ice cream and a hazelnut macaron with blackberry.The ice cream sandwiches as The Musket Room.Courtesy of Musket Room

Have you ever had an ice cream sandwich from a Michelin-starred restaurant? Your chance awaits at the Musket Room, an upscale Nolita eatery that added a takeout window for to-go treats in the early days of the pandemic.

Executive chef Mary Attea and pastry chef Camari Mick make four varieties of gourmet ice cream sandwiches: Oishii Berry ice cream (made with pricy Omakase strawberries) on pistachio macarons, coconut ice cream on vegan coconut caramel cookies, miso ice cream on chocolate chip cookies and hazelnut macarons on blackberry ice cream.

Ice cream sandwiches, $8. 265 Elizabeth St.; 212-219-0764, MusketRoom.com
Whipped Urban Dessert Lab
Lower East Side
This oat milk ice cream cone from Whipped Urban Dessert Lab is among the best vegan desserts in NYC.
This oat milk ice cream cone from Whipped Urban Dessert Lab is among the best vegan desserts in NYC.
Stefano Giovannini

This cone puts the “oat” in GOAT. Whipped Urban Dessert Lab, which opened last year, exclusively serves up oat milk ice cream. Its buzzy chocolate peanut butter pretzel cone can satisfy any dairy die-hard, with its decadent layers of pretzels, chocolate sauce and peanut butter sauce. “Sometimes [people] come to our shop and say ‘Oh, it’s dairy-free? I don’t want to try it,’ ” said 32-year-old co-founder Courtney Blagrove. “But what we’re very proud of is you shouldn’t be able to tell the difference … Once we get people to try it, they’re like, ‘I would have never known.’ ”Chocolate peanut butter pretzel cone, $8. 95 Orchard St.; 646-892-3338, UrbanDessertLab.com
Sugar Hill Creamery
Harlem
Sugar Hill Creamery’s version of an ice cream sandwich is buttermilk biscuit with strawberry basil ice cream, strawberry sauce and whipped cream.Sugar Hill Creamery’s limited edition strawberry basil ice cream sandwich.Tamara Beckwith

Sugar Hill Creamery is ringing in summer with a berry special dessert. Only available for the month of July, the strawberry shortcake ice cream sandwich ($7) features a buttermilk biscuit, strawberry jam, whipped cream and a scoop of strawberry ice cream accented with basil, lemon curd and Nilla Wafers clusters. Co-founder Petrushka Bazin Larsen, 38, said the basil element “is very subtle, but welcomed … with everything that we do, we’re trying to add a little something different to keep it fun.”

If that doesn’t float your boat, maybe a float ($7) will. Though you can customize your own soda-and-ice-cream concoction, this one’s a must-try: Jarritos tamarind soda mixed with a passion fruit and apricot sorbet and a mildly spicy guava sauce. “[It’s] reminiscent of the flavors you get in a coco helado cart, so this float says summer,” said Bazin Larsen.

Strawberry shortcake ice cream sandwich, $7. 184 Malcolm X Blvd.; 212-634-9004, SugarHillCreamery.com
Sugar Hill Creamery in Harlem is serving up an ice cream float with Tamarind soda, passion fruit, apricot sorbet, and guava swirl.
The Tamarind soda float from Sugar Hill Creamery in Harlem.
Tamara Beckwith
The Good Batch Creamery
Clinton Hill, Brooklyn
Brooklyn bakery The Good Batch is serving up a delicious chocolate milkshake this summer.
Brooklyn bakery The Good Batch is serving up milkshakes this summer at their Creamery..
Courtesy of

Known for their luscious ice cream cookie sandwiches, the Good Batch Bakery spun off into their own creamery across the street during the pandemic, offering decadent sundaes, scoops and shakes, which are new this summer.

Each milkshake is topped with whipped cream and cookie crumbles that complement the flavor you choose. This chocolate shake, for example, is dusted with chocolate cookie crumbs.

Milkshakes and sundaes, both $10. 995A Fulton St.; 347-889-5123, TheGoodBatch.com
Fan-Fan Doughnuts
Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn
Fan-Fan Doughnuts in Brooklyn created donut-based sundaes like this hot fudge sundae served in a donut.
Fan-Fan Doughnuts in Brooklyn created donut-based sundaes like this hot fudge sundae served in a donut.
Tamara Beckwith

Fan-Fan Doughnuts owner Fany Gerson wanted to “have a little fun” with her playful pastries this summer, so the Mexican chef decided to whip up some scrumptious sundaes.

Choose your own doughnut base and top with one of five ice cream flavors for a more traditional-style sundae, or try it Gerson’s way: with chopped up “doughnut croutons” mixed throughout the ice cream, so it all infuses together like a tres leches cake.

Not sure what to choose? Go classic-decadent with the Hot Fudge Munchies, topped with fudge and chopped pecans, or be bold with the “Nati’s Dream,” inspired by Gerson’s niece, which combines strawberries-and-cream ice cream with passion curd along with brown butter walnut crumble and crispy meringue.

Donut sundaes, $12. 448 Lafayette Ave.; 347-533-7544, Fan-FanDoughnuts.com
Mom & Icepops
Williamsburg
Eli Kaplan and wife Ingrid Young operate Mom & Icepops, a frozen treat business which especially emphasizes fresh fruit in every succulent bite.
Eli Kaplan and wife Ingrid Young operate Mom & Icepops, a frozen treat business that especially emphasizes fresh fruit in every succulent bite.
Mom and Icepops

Flag down this family popsicle cart at Brooklyn’s Domino Park this summer.

Eli Kaplan co-founded Mom & Icepops with his mother, and their treats boast fresh fruit in every succulent bite. They’ve teamed up with Domino Park to collect fresh fruit grown on-site for their pops; they’re working on flavors like hibiscus mint, cucumber lime and orange anise hyssop, as well as seasonal sour cherry and peach flavors.

In the next few months, the couple plans to head to Pennsylvania to pick concord grapes for fall-worthy peanut butter and jelly ice pops.

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