Coffee & Treats in Chelsea

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Christine Boatwright of Shelby Living Magazine wrote a piece detailing the operations of self-taught baker and Wooden Spoon Bakery owner Leslie Arnold and how she specializes in surprising scone flavors?pear and fresh ginger, apricot white chocolate, and salted caramel, to name a few?but also loves one special, more familiar flavor. Her red-velvet cake, a hand-me-down recipe from her husband?s grandmother, is a popular classic: a light chocolate cake colored a vibrant red and sprinkled with icing and walnuts. As she told the magazine, ?I?m proud to say it?s the only recipe I have not tinkered with because it?s perfect the way it is.? Still, Arnold keeps a constantly rotating menu of flavors and offerings at Wooden Spoon Bakery, baking bacon-cheese biscuits, strawberry coffee cake, and blueberry-and-cream muffins one week and specialty brownie cakes the next.

109 Foothills Pkwy
Chelsea,
AL
US

Outside of swimming laps in chocolate syrup, smoothies at Smoothie King are the tastiest way to improve your health. Smoothie King smoothies combine fresh fruit, natural juices, and special nutritional enhancers into more than 90 flavors (you can customize, add, and subtract the extras), all of which focus on achieving one of seven nutritional goals. Try an antioxidant-rich Pomegranate Punch with pomegranate, bananas, blueberries, apple juice, soy protein, and Turbinado sweetener to stay healthy. Weight-conscious en-smuthiasts can trim down and float away with the Celestial Cherry High, packed with bananas, black cherry, papaya, Turbinado, and honey, and unpacked with fat. You can also customize any smoothie by adding enhancers or “make it skinny” by cutting out the honey and Turbinado.

1932 Montgomery Hwy S
Hoover,
AL
US

TCBY (a.k.a. The Country's Best Yogurt) serves 96% fat-free yogurt, which contains benevolent bacterial cultures that assist the body with digestion and nutrient absorption. The Pelham location's menu touts silky soft serve in flavors such as golden vanilla and white-chocolate mousse ($1.99–$4.19). Top your probiotic-packed treat with strawberries, gummy bears, coconuts, or a host of other toppings ($0.69–$0.99). TCBY's Beriyo smoothies—potent potions such as Strawberry Bananza and Berrylicious—contain real-dairy frozen yogurt blended with bushels of fresh fruit ($4.49–$5.49). Celebrate successfully evading a baby raincloud with a hand-scooped traditional sundae ($4.39–$4.59). Prices and selection vary from store to store.

305 Huntley Pkwy
Pelham,
AL
US

Armed with just a single, generations-old cookie recipe, Great American Cookies opened its first store in 1977, and the rest is history. Today, the franchise boasts locations in malls across the country and nabbed a coveted spot on Entrepreneur magazine?s 2012 list of Top 500 Franchises in the baked-goods category. The shop?s reputation grew, and so did its menu as chefs churned out a mouthwatering roster of gourmet-cookie recipes, each created and carefully tested in Atlanta. The tempting options now include snickerdoodle, peanut butter with M&M?s, and chewy pecan supreme, as well as freshly baked fudge and cheesecake brownies and cookie sandwiches stuffed with frosting. The real showstoppers, however, are the giant chocolate-chip cookie cakes, which can be customized with sweet, celebratory messages or shopping lists penned in colorful icing.

1701 McFarland Blvd.
Tuscaloosa,
AL
US

It’s always swimsuit season inside Rio Tan, where six levels of tanning booths reward customers with a bronze, attention-grabbing glow. The salon offers six levels of tanning to accommodate a wide range of skin types, as well as spray tans for optimal convenience. Aiming to keep bodies in shape, Fit body wraps expose them to slimming infrared heat, which is usually found on the dark side of the sun.

1839 Montgomery Highway South
Hoover,
AL
US

Home to a vast lineup of dairy-based frozen treats, Bruster's makes its ice creams, yogurts, and waffle cones fresh every day in-store. The menu boasts everything from traditional sundaes ($3.65–$5.94) to customizable, candy-loaded blasts ($3.65–$4.35). Guests can opt for a regular cone ($2.74–$4.95) or homemade waffle cone ($3.65–$5.40) filled with one of the multitudinous ice-cream flavors, such as Monkey Madness––with banana ice cream, buckeyes, and marshmallows––or Chocolate Lover's Trash––chocolate ice cream filled with chocolate chunks, chocolate-covered peanuts, chocolate butter toffee, chocolate krispies, and receipts from visits to the biannual cocoa consortium. Bruster's also offers no-sugar-added options and fat-free ice creams, as well as low-fat yogurts.

1008 Vestavia Pkwy
Vestavia,
AL
US