You can look in the window at Monaco’s Bakery on Third Avenueand see the industrial size mixer in operation. Inside the bakerykitchen, owner Joe Monaco and one other baker turn out a steadystream of treats – made the old-fashioned way, with lots of loveand lots of butter – that set the standard for this family-ownedand operated jewel box of a shop.
At this time of year, especially, the bakery’s cookies, pies andcakes are in high demand, evoking dessert lust, plain andunvarnished. The serried ranks of beautifully arranged pastries,chocolate glazed cookies, pies bursting from their crusts andelegantly decorated cakes delight the eye and tempt the palate.
The bakery’s offerings are an enticing combination –traditional sweets, and ones that Monaco, who spent nearly fourdecades honing the patissier’s art at Manhattan’s renownedVeniero’s Pastry Shop before striking out on his own a year ago,has devised.
Noted eldest son Louis Monaco, A lot of stuff my father learnedis self-taught and he would make original recipes and creations.It’s a passion [for him].
Among these creations is the gorgeous, colorful Rainbow MousseCake ($3.50 individual, $20 large) that takes the traditional treatin a whole new direction, a vanilla sponge cake enrobed in cookieslices and filled with raspberry-flavored Bavarian cream.
Among the other standouts we tasted were a thick, rich disc ofNew York cheesecake ($3.50 individual, $14 large) that is light,sweet and incredibly creamy yet somehow not heavy; acinnamon-scented apple pie ($4 individual, $15 large) with itschunky filling pushing up a golden crust; and a deep-umber coloredpumpkin pie ($4 individual, $15 large), its crust flaky andsoft.
If you swoon over this individual serving of New Yorkcheesecake, then you’ll want to try Monaco’s other cheesecakes,ranging from Italian and fruit-topped New York varieties to thepumpkin cheesecake, tailor-made for eating with a mug of hot teawhile sitting at the window, digesting Thanksgiving turkey andwatching the leaves fall.
The wide variety of cookies ($16 per pound) are rich withbutter, delicate yet sturdy, sandwiched together with meltedchocolate or glistening preserves, many finished with a robe ofshiny tempered chocolate. There are also crispy and chewymeringues; the chocolate variety studded with almond chunks was asmuch confection as cookie, and distinctly suited to those with lessof a sweet tooth.
There are even pastry options for breakfast, such as thechocolate-almond croissants and moist blueberry scones.
We grew up with this, said youngest son and night managerPeter Monaco, who along with brothers Louis and Joseph – himself abaker now, works with parents Joe and Elizabeth at thejust-over-a-year-old bakery. Dad makes his own crust… I rememberhim doing it, rolling it out. There would be lines out the door. Wewant people to get the taste, know it and come back. This is adream the family had, and if it’s successful, we’ll keep going aslong as you guys keep coming.
All of the baking is done on the premises. For holiday orders,call it in at least two to three days in advance, preferably a weekahead, although there will be a limited amount of cakes and piesavailable for walk-in customers.
MONACO’S BAKERY & CAFÉ
8511 Third Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11209
Pricing includes all applicable taxes.
Store hours from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Inquire about school tours.