Where to Get Kouign-Amann in New York

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Though originally from Douarnenez in Bretagne, the kouign-amann has found a new life in New York. “It’s the product we sell the most,” says Dominique Ansel, a famous French pastry chef in the United States who brought the famous butter- and sugar-based pastry into the mainstream in the U.S. seven years ago.

In the beginning, the kouign-amann was an anti-waste cake (in the same way that people make French toast so they don’t waste stale bread). At a time when nothing was thrown away, bakers took the rest of their bread dough, added butter and sugar as a means of preservation, and enjoyed it for a snack.

Outside of Ansel’s bakery, it took the kouign-amann a few years to appear. “We started offering kouign-amann at the opening of the store in 2011. It was unknown before. We helped Americans discover it,” says the French pâtissier.

But what makes a good kouign-amann? Of course, the important thing is that it’s crispy on the outside and melt-in-your-mouth on the inside. “Bread dough must have a lot of elasticity.” What makes a bad kouign-amann? It’s too heavy. The challenge is to make it light and airy. Unlike France, where the kouign-amann is served in a shareable size, like a cake, in the U.S. kouign-amanns are sold in single portions.

If the French pastry chef can boast of having brought the pastry fame in the U.S., he is no longer the only one to produce it today. French Morning and Frenchly’s editorial staff took on the challenge of finding the best kouign-amanns in New York.

Bouchon Bakery

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French Morning se met en quête des meilleurs kouign-amann de New York ! Cette petite patisserie faite de beurre que nos amis les bretons aiment tant… Ici, on l'aime aussi 🤤 . . On a testé celui de @bouchon_bakery. Un vrai délice ! On a aimé son caramel croquant sur le dessus et le fondant de la brioche au coeur. . . Tous les vendredis, retrouvez sur notre compte Instagram un nouveau kouign-amann 🥧 . #kouignamann #newyork #bouchonbakery #bouchonbakerynyc #bouchonbakeryme #kouignamannbkk #pastries #frenchpastry #frenchpastries #meilleurkouignamann #caramel #brioche #beurre #bretons #bretagne #patisseriesfrancaises #butter #sugar #sucre #yummy #miam #yummyfood #french #france #like #instafood #foodie #foodies #frenchfood #frenchie

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Bouchon Bakery, the boulangerie of Thomas Keller, has a kouign-amann worthy of the reputation of the chef, who is one of the best in the U.S. Its caramelized shell is very crispy. (Be careful, it sticks to your teeth.) Its layers of buttery puff pastry are delicately superimposed inside the round little cake. It’s one of the most expensive in New York at $5.75. The Shops at Columbus Circle, Third Floor, New York.

Cannelle Patisserie

Over in Long Island City and Jackson Heights (Queens), Jean-Claude Perennou, former pastry chef at the Waldorf-Astoria, founded Cannelle Patisserie. Originally from Quimper, he knows what he is talking about when it comes to kouignn-amann. His kouign-amann possesses a crispy caramelization with a hint of salt. No taller than an inch, the layers of puff pastry are rolled up in a circle like a snail. Cost is $3.50. 5-11 47th Ave, Long Island City and 7559 31st Ave, East Elmhurst.

Dominique Ansel 

It is impossible to talk about kouign-amann in the U.S. without mentioning Dominique Ansel. For his kouign-amann, the French chef thought of everything: a name easily pronounceable by Americans: DKA (Dominique’s Kouign Amann), and two versions to please everyone (traditional or with brown sugar). DKA is made of soft, melt-in-your-mouth layers enclosed in a crispy, flaky crust. Best to be enjoyed hot and for breakfast. (Chef Dominique Ansel told us to eat one every morning.) One costs $5.50. Dominique Ansel Kitchen, 137 7th Avenue South, New York.

Pain d’Avignon

Pain d’Avignon was born in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, in 1992. Created by three Serbian friends, today the brand has three shops in New York. Inspired by traditional French bakeries with a touch of New York, chef Françoise Ip designs her kouign-amanns with a touch of honey, which brings an added of sweetness. The sugar on the top creates an extra kind of crunch when you bite down. Available for the totally affordable price of $3. Essex Market, 120 Essex Street; Plaza Food Hall, 1 West 58th Street; Dekalb Market Hall, 445 Albee Sq West, Brooklyn.

Ladurée

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French Morning continue sa quête des meilleurs kouign-amann de New York ! Cette petite patisserie faite de beurre que nos amis les bretons aiment tant… Ici, on l'aime aussi 🤤 . . On a testé celui de @ladureeus. Goût framboise ou noisette, selon vos envies… La purée de framboises est fraîche et la noisette si douce ! On adore. . . Tous les vendredis, retrouvez sur notre compte Instagram un nouveau kouign-amann 🥧 . #kouignamann #newyork #bouchonbakery #bouchonbakerynyc #bouchonbakeryme #kouignamannbkk #pastries #frenchpastry #frenchpastries #meilleurkouignamann #caramel #brioche #beurre #bretons #bretagne #patisseriesfrancaises #butter #sugar #sucre #yummy #miam #yummyfood #french #france #like #instafood #foodie #foodies #frenchfood #frenchie

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Ladurée has renamed theirs “Brunettes.” These little kouign-amanns don’t really look like the ones you’ll find in Bretagne, but they’re still completely delicious. The famous French macaron brand offers these buns filled with raspberry and hazelnut flavors. The raspberry puree is fresh and the hazelnut creamy. You’ll spend $4.50 per Brunette. Soho, 398 W Broadway, New York; 864 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10021.

Choc O Pain

Across the Hudson River in New Jersey, the Choc O Pain bakeries have flourished since they were first opened in 2009 by Frenchwoman Clémence Danko. In Hoboken and Jersey City, Choc O Pain Bakery offers a “Petit Kouign” in multiple flavors: apricot, apple, raspberry and chocolate. Mini in size, its flaky, sugary crust offers the perfect crunch. Each Petit Kouign is a respectable $3.35. Hoboken, 157 First Street, Hoboken; 1500 Hudson Street, Tea Building, Hoboken; Jersey City, 530 Jersey Avenue, Jersey City, NJ; 330-332 Palisade Avenue, Jersey City. 

Récolte

The master baker at Récolte, Jay Wang was crowned champion of the 2018 Bakery Masters, a competition featuring the 18 best bakers in the world. The dough of his kouign-amann, made in the original shape, is light and airy. The lack of crispness keeps it from being too heavy. Cost is $3.75. 300 Amsterdam Ave, New York.

Epicerie Boulud

The kouign-amann of Epicerie Boulud has adapted to the Breton tradition. We’d expect nothing less from the chef, François Brunet, who hails from Bretagne. He uses buckwheat flour, very common in the region, which gives authenticity to the crispy little kouign-amann. While keeping a light texture, its caramelized top goes perfectly with its tender vanilla-accented dough. They are only sold on weekends for a reasonable $3.50. World Trade Center, 185 Greenwich St, LL 4000; Lincoln Center, 1900 Broadway at 64t St; Plaza Food Hall, 768 5th Avenue.