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.
Domes of vivid fuchsia, blue, and chartreuse arc up out of their white cups, their icy texture a treat for the eyes as well as for the taste buds. Shivering Sam's Snowballs are available in more than 50 flavors, ranging from the traditional (banana, cantaloupe, and coconut) to the completely unexpected (nectar, tiger blood, and dill pickle). But regardless of which you choose, every icy dollop can be customized to hide a generous scoop of ice cream at its core. Other optional add-ons include condensed milk and chocolate syrup, but buried ice cream, according to Sam's staffers, is the hallmark of a truly New Orleans-style snow cone.
They're just as proud of the local elements informing their second menu item: tamales. The newest addition to the Sam's portfolio, these cheesy crowd-pleasers offer a warm, savory alternative to the sweet chill of shaved ice. And they, too, are made New Orleans-style, in part because you can blow into them and play perfect zydeco music.
As the world's largest chain of ice cream specialty stores, Baskin Robbins uses a network of over 7000 stores to supply customers with a bevy of customized cakes and specialty ice cream such as Brownie Sundaes. A host of a toppings cover cupped or sugar-coned scoops of classic flavors, while beverages such as the Cappuccino Blast Mocha combine energizing cappuccino with dessert indulgence.
Southern Sweet Potato Pie Company specializes in creating authentic, freshly baked New Orleans desserts made with all-natural ingredients and steeped in old family recipes and Deep South flavors. Surprise your taste buds and their sweet teeth frenemies with the Ooey Gooey cake, an 8"x11.5" two-layered palate-approving confection. The bottom layer is a bastion of buttery yellow cake, smoothed with a top layer of decadent cream cheese and powdered sugar, and filled with a middle layer of flirtatious yet chaste demeanor. The cake is frozen to maintain its quality and can be easily thawed before serving.
With specialty cakes, pastries, and other decadent desserts, Kat's Cakes adds a sweet touch to any occasion. The bakery's themed event cakes all sparkle with personality, whether they're elegant four-tiered structures coated with sugar flowers or a realistic, edible sound board. For everyday treats, the bakery prepares petit fours, specialty cookies, and cake balls in a variety of flavors, including red velvet, pi?a colada, and Oreo.
The decor of the Kupcakes Etc., with its alternating lines of dark and light lime green, brings to mind the crinkled ridges and grooves of a cupcake wrapper, perhaps putting visitors in the mood to select from the menu's 20 cake and frosting flavors. Strawberry-shortcake, lemon-meringue, and red velvet cupcakes can be consumed in one of four sizes, ranging from bite-size minis to gigantic cakes that feed up to 10 people. Cakes can be decorated with chocolate candies and multicolored sprinkles, which sends out a festive vibe—much like hitting a piñata with a folded Ouija board does.