New Kid at the Mall: Mah Ze Dahr

The new location of Mah-Ze-Dahr at Hudson Eats, which opened late last year, is the bakery’s sixth location, with two more here and three in DC. Umber Ahmad, who was known as Tom Colicchio’s “pastry protégé,” founded the company in 2014 and opened her first brick-and-mortar in 2016. Their known for their dark chocolate brownies, cinnamon rolls (both of which you can buy to bake at home from their website) and a brioche donut that is so popular you can buy an enamel pin of its likeness.

“Pastry isn’t something that one needs to reinvent every day,” Ahmad said to Eater back in 2016. “A lot of people have this philosophy around being trendy with pastry. We don’t ascribe to that. We ascribe to trying to evolve every pastry item into something that makes it somewhat modern and fresh and interesting.”

We sampled just about everything in the case in the breakfast pastry category and went first for an invention called monkey bread: a super sweet, reconstituted croissant that is caramelized on the bottom and pulls apart in chunks. (They also serve sandwiches and some of their cakes, but not the full menu that they have in the West Village. See the Brookfield menu here.)

The dark chocolate explosion cookies are beautiful to look at, chewy and rich, sprinkled with powdered sugar so the crackling has its full effect. And the mocha croissant was laced with an almond mocha cake that was more like a paste — it had a lot going on, including some crunch.

But the brioche donut, if you go for that sort of thing, is worth the trip. You get the hole with it, along with a luscious cream filling that is just a schmear — not oozing out all over the place.

Ahmad was an investment banker who turned to baking as a second act. She’s Pakistani (though grew up in northern Michigan) and in Urdu, the word mahzedahr describes the essence of food — its flavor and magic that make it delicious.

Fun fact: During her tenure as an investment banker, Ahmad was one of the four subjects of “Risk/Reward,” a documentary about women on Wall Street that premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2003.

Mah-Ze-Dahr – Brookfield Place
225 Liberty, upstairs at Hudson Eats
Monday to Friday, 7a to 8p
Saturday, 8a to 8p
Sunday, 8a to 6p