Kiedrowski's Bakery calls the Snoogle a happy accident. One night 25 years ago, husband-and-wife bakers Tim and Terri were working side-by-side — he on ladylocks and she on cheese Danish — when they began to mull a combination of the two. Such rumination birthed the Snoogle ($3), a long twist of pastry dough stuffed with sweet cream cheese filling and coated in a buttery glaze. This PolishAmerican family, who trademarked Snoogle's shape and name in 2011, closely guards any further details. "It's triple-locked in a safe," jokes Terri. "There are imitations that might look similar, but they're nothing like a Snoogle." The bakery sells up to 120 dozen on its busiest summer days, says son Michael. "They are hands down our most popular item."
Stuffed with fillings such as apricot, blueberry, raspberry or apple along with nuts, raisins and coconut, Becker's Russian tea biscuits ($2.59) may remind you of a scone — but a little sweeter and moister. Prepared from a dough recipe handed down through multiple Becker generations, these breakfast or after-dinner treats are rolled up, finished with coarse sugar and baked. "We don't use any machinery. It's all done by hand," says Tom Becker, the second-generation owner of this 67-year-old bakery. "Like many of our recipes, grandma made it, so we make it too. Everything's fresh — fresh eggs, real butter, no shortcuts."
Traditional cheesecake lovers might balk at Slices Fabulous Pastries' approach to making one of its most decadent desserts. The Old Brooklyn shop forgoes the thick, graham cracker crust opting for a dusting of toasted shredded coconut on the sides of the Della Robbia ($45), allowing the cake itself — which is so smooth, light and airy it's often mistaken for mousse — to shine. The artistic creation is then topped with an apricot glaze, crushed pineapples, strawberries, kiwis and mandarin oranges arranged to look like flower petals. The unusual name is in honor of Italian artist Luca della Robbia, known for his luscious fruit depictions. "It's just a showstopper," says owner Efty R. Simakis. "People are always oohing and aahing over it."
As a child, we loved opening our lunchboxes to find the spongy chocolate-covered, cream-filled goodness of Ho Hos next to our inevitable PB&J. Katz Club Diner chef and owner Douglas Katz lets us relive that memory with his faux ho ($3) — an update on the childhood favorite. "When I was starting the diner, all I thought about was the snacks I would have after school growing up in the early '70s: Pop-Tarts, Twinkies, Ho Hos," says Katz. "I wanted to re-create these nostalgic items using real, natural ingredients." Katz uses a house-made chocolate chiffon cake as the basis for his faux ho. After the cake has cooled, he layers it with a buttercream icing and then rolls it into the snack cake's familiar log shape. Once chilled, he covers it in a dark, bittersweet chocolate ganache, creating a rich, slightly crunchy shell. "There's a hint of salt in both the cake and the filling to help bring out the flavor of the chocolate," he says.