I feel so fortunate to live within mere blocks of four great Italian bakeries, each with it's own specialty. Today I'm highlighting the cookies from the sort-of recently renovated F. Monteleone & Cammareri Bros. Bakery (355 Court St., between Union & President Streets, 718-852-5600) in Carroll Gardens. When I'm coming home from work and am in need of a little sweet pick-me-up, I pop in here and get a little assortment of treats.
Looking at the photo below, starting in the middle with the big white cookie is the Almond Paste cookie. This is a soft cookie, made mostly with almond paste and covered with the finest powdered sugar, and is one of my favorites. It tastes fresh, with no bitter or fake aftertaste which taints too many of these kinds of cookies. Going clockwise we have the raspberry sandwich cookies with sprinkles. The cookie is slightly almond flavored vanilla cookie; smooth, crumbly and buttery but not overly sweet, with a layer of raspberry jelly and half-dunked in chocolate and then coated in multi-colored sprinkles. Not my favorite, but basic, tasty and fun.
At the top are the Seven Layer Cookies, again made with almond paste, with thin layers of apricot jelly between the cake and then coated in dark chocolate. These are more subtle than the straight-up Almond Paste cookie, they are moist little morsels of yumminess. The last cookie is the Apricot Butter cookie, a simple butter cookie with a dollop of sticky apricot jam in the center. These are some of my favorite kinds of cookies. They aren't overly buttery, and have a lovely little design around the outside. Perfect with coffee or tea at the end of a meal.
Then there are times when I want a more substantial desserty snack, something really chocolatey and satisfying. At those moments I head over to Naidre's (502 Henry St., at Sackett St., 718-5963400) (NOT an Italian Bakery but in the space formerly occupied by Cammareri Bros. Bakery, which was in the movie "Moonstruck") to pick up one of their massive Brownie's, which last me two days, so make sure you get it in a glassine envelope so it will keep. It's so chocolatey, with loads of chocolate chips throughout it's moist, cakey goodness. It's dense too, and a little on the sweet side (hence the time-out half-way through).
I like the corner piece, but they'll give you whatever piece you ask for!