Stephanie, founder of Stephanie’s Sweet Imaginations, combines her love for the arts with her love for baking when she crafts custom cakes. Though she specializes in coating layers of cake with smooth fondant and hand-painted designs, Stephanie also bakes cupcakes crowned with buttercream and candies.
After Vernon Rudolph acquired a closely guarded yeast-raised Krispy Kreme Doughnuts recipe from a New Orleans pastry chef, he shared his appreciation for delectable disks by opening shop in 1937 and selling the first Krispy Kremes to grocery stores. The wafting aroma of glazed Krispy Kreme Doughnuts increased demand for the sweet treats and caused Rudolph to redesign his building's layout to include a walkup window, Rudolph was able to sell them directly to any passing customer who demanded a snack. Later, he joined forces with equipment engineers, creating baking equipment that guaranteed uniform shape and dough consistency.
Rudolph's departure to a pastry-filled afterlife in 1973 did not stop Krispy Kreme from expanding into a global sensation and continuing to innovate. In recent years, the company enhanced the treat-retrieving experience by introducing a Hot Light that, when illuminated, indicates when Krispy Kreme Doughnuts are fresh off the conveyor belt.
Every 36 hours, the dairy mavens at Rita’s Italian ice scrap their inventory of frozen custard and Italian ice and begin churning batches of frozen treats anew. Because freshness is paramount at Rita’s, customers may find only a few of the menu’s full cast of 40 flavors each day. But servers can merge those flavors into countless combinations: the misto, for instance, blends Italian ice and custard in equal proportions, and the gelati layers strata of Italian ice and frozen custard. Additionally, servers scoop up fat-free Slenderita and sugar-free Italian ice for desserts that prove as wholesome and frozen as an ice sculpture of Mr. Rogers.
Backed by a premium-ice-cream-peddling history that stretches to the 1920s, Häagen-Dazs scoops out frozen-treat signature flavors from its slew of nationally scattered shops. Guests can fill kiddie ($3.25), regular ($4.25), large ($5.25), and abandoned-ice-cream-truck sizes of cups and cones with sweet swirls of classic chocolate or sink cuspids into a layered Dazzler dessert ($6.75). Waffle cones cradle chilled dollops in plain (add $0.75) or dipped (add $1) shells, and toppings such as sauces and syrups (add $0.50) dapple confectionary landscapes. Steep taste buds in rich sips of a belgian-chocolate shake ($5.75) or imbibe a Sorbet Sipper ($4.75–$5.25), a tasty hybrid of naturally fat-free fruit flavors created more efficiently than shelving bananas alongside apples and hoping that they procreate. Alternatively, hand-packed pints of ice cream (a $5.95 value each) deliver a hearty helping of Häagen-Dazs's cavalcade of sweet-tooth satisfiers, including limited-edition seasonal flavors, such as coconut macaroon and spiced caramel biscuit.
Naked Chocolate Café serves a myriad of house-made chocolate goodies, cupcakes, and refreshing drinks. Step to the counter and ogle artfully composed cupcakes such as the savory red velvet and spiced carrot cake ($2.50–$2.75). Those who ache to acquire decadent chocolate can simply order the café's rich hot chocolate ($3.75–$6) or its refreshing frozen counterpart, which is topped with whipped cream and garnished with sprinkles ($4–$6). Or, fulfill a dream of having a computer in one's noggin with the café's computer-shaped chocolate molds ($4). A variety of other creatively shaped cocoa concoctions are also available on a daily changing basis.
The originally Israeli chocolatier's aggressive chocolate ethos permeates its whimsically decorated retail shop, from the pleasant tidal wave of cocoa-based smells, visuals, and tastes that engulfs and immerses shoppers upon entering to the propeller blades mixing chocolate in white vats to the network of interlinking pipes along the ceiling labeled "100% chocolate." If you believe that romance and chocolate intermingle even more naturally than romance and haggis, then delve into a bonbons love box ($12.90), which has hearts and other amorous designs patterned onto each square. Max Brenner also offers a variety of truffles ($23.90/18 pieces), milk-chocolate powder ($10.90) for decadent drinks, and Cocos ($11.50), milk-chocolate pralines rolled in roasted coconut. Max Brenner's chocolate even comes in less-easily digested book form: Chocolate: A Love Story ($25.99) is a chocolate cookbook that makes a lovely gift for anniversaries, birthdays, or weddings and can also be used to swear in Oompa-Loompas in most court trials.