The annual Chanukah tradition of tasting sufganiyut (filled donuts) at local bakeries returned us to Brooklyn this year. We decided to focus on Flatbush and Williamsburg, and skipped the usual run in Boro Park. Below are the bakeries we went to in order, in case anyone would like to replicate the tour.
Ostrovitsky’s, 1124 Avenue J
Our first stop was Ostrovitsky’s which scored well in prior visits. Unfortunately, the selection this year was beautiful but not good. The flavors looked great – Hazelnut, Napolean, Lotus, Oreo, Chocolate Mousse and Rosemary – but the dough tasted like it was a few days old. The filling flavor was still good but the amount of filling was very different depending on which donut we sampled (yes, we taste everything).
Pomegranate Supermarket, 1507 Coney Island Ave
We made an exception for the strictly bakery locations for Pomegranate, because of the store’s great reputation. There were basic flavors to try – jelly, chocolate, custard and caramel – and the jelly was really great. Dough was light and tasty and just the right amount of jelly and flavor. The $4.00 each for non-fancy seemed steep, but they were good.
Sesame, 1540 Coney Island Ave.
Sesame was packed as usual with a line to get in the store (and Chanukah didn’t even start until that evening!) The bakery always has a great assortment of flavors and they are usually terrific. This year, we found the dough and filling excellent once again, however a bit sweeter than past years. We are biased towards flavor over sugar, and this year, there was a complete lack of subtlety. Pistachio is always a favorite but now it comes complete with a sugar rush. We tried hazelnut and peanut this year too, and picked up a couple dozen for people in our neighborhood who crave them.
Taste of Israel, 1322 Avenue M
We heard good things about TOI but were then told that they only took pre-orders. We may stop by again next Sunday.
Schreiber’s Homestyle Bakery, 3008 Avenue M
Schreiber’s simply has the best lace cookies so we go every year. While not a complicated dessert, they have a great crispiness in a single layer and a generous dipping of excellent chocolate. Make sure to pick some up along with the sufganiyut.
The majority in the store are pareve. They have pre-boxed assortments and we picked up a few to bring to a dinner party (see below). The dairy ones which we ate on the spot had amazing dough – very light and tasty. Please go to the back to pick these up. The strawberry had the perfect amount of filling and also a really nice light flavor. The cheese was a little too light on flavor.
We took a short break to watch the World Cup finals and got to see the end of the second period of extra time and the shootout with Argentina beating France. I’m not sure how many families watched the end of the amazing 2022 game in a hair salon in the middle of a Chanukah donut crawl, but to those who did – wasn’t it great?
Oneg Bakery, 188 Lee Avenue
We drove to Williamsburg which is a hike I do not recommend. If you are going to the neighborhood anyway, that’s fine but not together with Flatbush which can be 45 minutes away.
Oneg is rightfully famous for its heavy babka, among the best in the world. They are huge at $45 for a half and $90 for a whole. We actually get the large and cut it into three, as they freeze well.
The store is very small and old school. The donuts aren’t fancy but the classic jelly was excellent, maybe only slightly behind Pomegranate’s in terms of flavor and consistency of filling.
Black and White Bakery, 520 Park Ave
B&W was a real disappointment. We had a good experience there in the past, and the chocolate horn was indeed very good. However, the donuts are too expensive ($6.50), almost all dairy, and lacking a variety of taste. Every donut seemed to have the same cheese filling, just with a different topping. While the toppings were attractive, they lacked in flavor. On the plus side, you can daven mincha at the Yeshivat Viznitz around the corner with over 100 Satmar students.
Below is the ranking for this year’s donut crawl. If you visit, please tell them about the review on the blog First One Through. As Chanukah covers two weekends this year, we are likely to make a second run next weekend, possibly visiting Boro Park and Crown Heights bakeries.