Gwen Willhite founded Cookies by Design in 1983, when an unsatisfying brainstorming session about gift ideas led her to ponder one question: why should flowers and sweets remain separate? Her solution was to design the cookie bouquet, where custom, hand-decorated cookies are displayed on sticks and arranged like flowers in gift baskets. Her invention quickly became a popular gift among locals, particularly those allergic to real blooms or too bashful to look at naked cookies.
Twenty-five years later, there are more than 200 Cookies by Design locations across the country. Each shop's team of bakers creates cookie baskets with a degree of care that matches Willhite's original vision, decorating and arranging sweet shapes for birthdays, holidays, and any other special occasion.
At Sweet! By Good Golly Miss Holly, cupcakivores can feast on deliciously moist and mouth-pleasing cupcakes that are designed with premium ingredients and created fresh every day. Snack on a key-lime cupcake’s tasty yellowness, which is partnered with key-lime frosting, lime filling, and graham-cracker crust. Or, comfort late-night dessert desires by choosing a dozen cupcakes from artisan flavorations such as marble—whose cake parts are paired with chocolate frosting and white-chocolate vermicelli—and black-and-white, a lesson in false cupcake dichotomies that features chocolate cake and white chips topped off with a swirled frosting of uncertainty. Cupcakes come in various sizes, including the mini ($2 each; $6 for four; $18 per dozen), the classic ($2.50 each; $27.50 per dozen), the original ($3/$33), and, for ambitious treat seekers, the giant, which can feed up to 20 people ($55+). Frozen yogurt is also available, with 12 different flavors and 38 toppings from which to choose.
GlacieCakes harnesses the secrets of cupcakery to provide Orlando with luxurious treats, freshly made in house. With a dizzying selection of flavors available, clients will find themselves adrift in a ocean of icing-covered choice as they seek out the ideal six cupcakes ($2.50 each). Flavors with alliterative allure include Malt Milkshake, Carrot Cake, and Rocky Road, whereas starry-eyed sweet tooths may wish to take a tongue-trip to the evocative eats offered by flavors such as On the Beach and Raspberry Dream. Coo at the boozy baked goods of the Irish Cream, the Margarita, and the Piña Colada cupcakes, or bring some sort of closure to your recurring dream in which David Spade is a cheeseburger with the Joe Dirt cupcake.
Steeping each of its locations in colonial Boston-style interior design, Boston Coffeehouse serves a modern slew of specialty drinks, deli-fresh fare, and all-day breakfast items. For starters, munch on mango salsa salad, a leafy medley of mango salsa, dried cranberries, almonds, onions, and cucumbers slathered with mandarin ginger dressing ($5.89). Tender rotisserie chicken—served with baby arugula greens, red onions, and sun-dried tomato mayo on a pretzel bun—mollycoddles midday masticators ($6.50), and a french toast breakfast panini eases groggy taste buds awake after a long night or an afternoon nap with fresh egg, cheese, and ham sandwiched between slices of french toast ($3.50). Pair your choice of various Danish pastries, muffins, or croissants ($1.75) with a 12-ounce espresso ($1) or a specialty drink such as the Yankeedoodle, a mocha-based coffee concoction that features caramel, hazelnut, and macaroni feathers ($2.75/12-ounce), or the Nutty Irish Lady, which starts with espresso and expands into a whipped cream-topped comfort drink with flavors of cherry, Irish crème, and hazelnut ($2.75/12-ounce).
From behind a frozen granite slab, the staff of Cold Stone Creamery uses twin spatulas to blend custom servings of ice cream and creative mix-ins to fit customers’ exact specifications. Founded by Donald and Susan Sutherland in 1988, Cold Stone began under the hot Arizona sun, eventually spreading its frosty fingers to encompass more than 1,400 locations worldwide. Despite the size of the company, each location’s staff keeps up the handcrafted quality, making ice cream onsite every day and using those signature spatulas to create delicious pointillist art against the freezer wall.
Celebrating this location's one-year anniversary, FreshBerry's effervescent environs offer up a cool, mouthwatering menu of all-natural treats. Chill-seekers can sink spoons, fingers, or the spork of an accommodating stranger into a selection of yogurts in flavors such as strawberry, pomegranate, dark chocolate, and mango, before crafting their own confectionary creation by dressing the semisolid sustenance with up to three tantalizing toppings, such as blackberries, blueberries, oreo, pineapple, or m&m’s ($4.49–$5.49). Twenty-ounce smoothies blend a bounty of yogurt and fresh fruit for a more slurp-able sojourn ($4.49), and daily made fresh-pops impart less than 100 calories each as they replenish bodies with essential nutrients found only in popsicle sticks ($1.99). Gluten-free and certified kosher, FreshBerry's chilly concoctions invite sweet teeth of all stripes to its vivid dining room and umbrella-ensconced outdoor patio––an environment that welcomes prolonged lingering while live active cultures dance upon the tongue in an amateur revival of South Pacific.