No matter how healthy you aim to be, you probably still receive desperate messages from your sweet tooth on occasion. Good news: At these five spots in New York City and Brooklyn, you can answer the call without feeling guilty. They will let you have your cake, eat it, too.
1. Fine & Raw
Not only is Brooklyn’s Fine & Raw surrounded by inspiring street art, its signature raw and half-raw chocolate will spark your creativity, as well. The open-factory setup allows you to hang out and savor rich hot chocolates and bonbon truffles while watching how they’re made. Why is raw better? Ensuring the chocolate never hits above 140 degrees Fahrenheit preserves the natural characteristics of the cacao — including its health benefits. Bonus: You will always find free samples of Fine & Raw’s bars and spreads on the counter.
2. Rockin’ Raw
Located in Manhattan’s West Village, Rockin’ Raw features creative uncooked Peruvian Creole dishes — everything is gluten-free and organic, including dessert. That means vegans and raw diners can enjoy favorite sweets that are usually off-limits in their traditional forms, such as pumpkin pie, “cheezcake” and milkshakes in flavors like lavender-vanilla, honey and chocolate. How do they do it? The desserts get their sweetness from coconut nectar.
3. Erin McKenna’s Bakery
At Erin McKenna’s Bakery on Manhattan’s Lower East side, the focus is on vegan, gluten-free and kosher baked goods that use natural sweeteners sparingly. Despite the dietary restrictions, this bakery does not disappoint with treats that taste seriously decadent, even thought they’re not: agave-sweetened brownies that melt in your mouth, thin mint cookies with a flavor punch and coconut-milk-based soft serve topped with house-made vegan caramel sauce. If you’re only going to get one thing, make it a donut, in flavors like samoa, maple and salted butter caramel.
4. The Protein Bakery
One issue with indulging in dessert: It causes sugar level spikes, which are bad for the body and leave you feeling drained. Pair that with any jet-lag or travel fatigue, and you’ll undoubtedly feel like going back to bed in the middle of the day. Happily, The Protein Bakery in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood comes to the rescue by baking all-natural, gluten-free goodies — including black and white blondies, double chocolate chip cookies and peanut butter brownies — made with muscle-building whey protein concentrate. By using this ingredient, you will feel full on less food and less susceptible to those above-mentioned spikes.
As its name suggests, OatMeals in the West Village is all about oatmeal, available as savory and sweet bowls made with 100 percent all-natural whole grain steel cut oats. Oatmeal isn’t strictly for breakfast here — you can have it morning, noon or night, and even after dinner. Some of the tasty dessert versions include the “Hot Date” ( dates, pecans, homemade granola, honey and peanut butter) and the “Matcha & Black Sesame Mochi Bowl” (Greek yogurt, matcha green tea drizzle, black sesame mochi, sliced almonds and black sesame seeds).