It was a fateful night in January 1999 when the bellies of college sophomores Leon and Tiffany started to rumble. The two UT Austin students convened at Leon's apartment, where they whipped up a batch of chocolate-chip cookies in his oven. As they chewed on the warm, gooey fruits of their labor, the pair was struck by the idea to sell these freshly baked cookies to their fellow students. They began delivering treats to their peers during evening study breaks before expanding their customer base to include parents and Austin residents, all the while renting the back kitchen of a local restaurant to accommodate the growing demand. Fifteen years later, the indulgent lure of Tiff's Treats has helped Leon and Tiffany open 13 locations throughout Austin, Dallas, and Houston. Within these bakeries, kitchen crews sculpt fresh dough into 10 types of cookies, supplementing the gooey morsels with decadent brownies and signature Tiffwiches?vanilla Blue Bell ice cream sandwiched between two warm cookies. Bakers hand-deliver batches every day, pulling them fresh from the oven instead of the overheated engine block of the delivery car.
Some quick Texas facts: the state bird is the mockingbird; the state motto is "friendship;" and the state cupcake is berry pecan. Lisa Britten didn't think that her baked goods had governing potential until 2010, when her signature flavor was sworn in as the official cupcake of Texas after winning a statewide contest. The famed cupcake didn't receive any bodyguards, however. On the contrary—anyone can eat it if they time their trip to Sugar Queen Cupcakes just right.
Berry pecan is one of several rotating favorites on the shop's menu. Others include snickerdoodle, coconut cream, and even pancakes and bacon. Thankfully, though, mainstays such as cream cheese lime and chocolate chocolate chip are available every day. Lisa can also stack her cupcakes in tiers for special events. Her creative themes might delight the eye with cheery sunflowers or add a rustic charm to pumpkin-spice cupcakes by arranging them atop a slice of tree trunk.
For more than a quarter of a century, Roza and Sam Volfson—owners of both A&J Bakery and In the Mix Bakery—have labored at the ovens, honing their craft in professional kitchens, culinary schools, and catering services until they perfected the techniques used to craft each of their mouthwatering personalized desserts. After emigrating from Russia in the early '80s, the couple brought with them years of training in European pastry craft, along with Roza's own original recipes for conjuring lavishly decorated, multitier wedding cakes and then patiently chiseling them down into lovely petits fours. Beyond crafting custom confections for the likes of the Dallas Mavericks and Bank of America, the duo has also won numerous accolades for their sugary treats, including a 2010 nomination for Best Bakery for Sweets by D Magazine and an award for Best Cinnamon Rolls in Dallas from the Dallas Observer in 2003.
Andrea might have never started Cake Ballers were it not for a curious request from her brother. On a visit home from college, he asked Andrea, a consummate baker, to try her hand at whipping up a batch of treats he had stumbled across at school. Though the first few rounds came out misshapen, after repeated attempts, she finally mastered the formula. Today, Cake Ballers' customizable confections, served with or sans stick, emerge piping hot and perfectly spherical from Andrea's home oven. In flavors that range from chocolate fudge and cookies 'n’ cream to blueberry muffin and strawberry, the delectable delights sport frosted frocks in the client's chosen color scheme. Snackers can match their pops’ hue to their school colors, their team colors, or the color of their favorite red dwarf star.
For decades, the aroma of freshly baked cookies has lured kids to the kitchen. There's something irresistible about that combination of melted chocolate and sugary dough, and it's not something you simply grow out of. Thanks to Nestle Tollhouse Cafe by Chip, you don't have to. The sweetest shop in Plano welcomes kids of all ages to browse cases lined with giant cookie cakes, gooey brownies, and old-fashioned chocolate chip cookies. On warm summer days, the shop also serves frozen yogurt and, upon special request, douses customers with the cookie dough hose.
After being widowed in 1982, Ruby Lorraine Feagan, better known as Tootie, began supporting her family one pie at a time, building her reputation as she won a succession of baking contests throughout Texas hill country. Investor Don Merrill came into the fold after reading a flattering article in Southern Living magazine and subsequently tasting one of Tootie's crusty, buttery, 6-pound apple pies. Today, Tootie and her daughter continue to ensure the quality of Tootie Pie Co. Gourmet Caf?'s 13 signature pie flavors ? which also include lemon velvet, coconut supreme, and the Rachael Ray?praised pumpkin pie ? as they're carefully crafted and delivered to customers' homes nationwide. The bakery's burgeoning fame has extended to the Food Network's Kid in a Candy Store, which featured Tootie's pie-on-a-stick, slices of signature desserts skewered and dipped in chocolate.
Inside Tootie's caf?, the menu of gourmet sandwiches includes sweet chicken salad with red grapes and pecans and italian grilled chicken panini with roasted red pepper and pesto or chipotle mayo. Sips of house coffee and espresso-based Milan mochas clear palates between bites better than vigorously shaking them Etch A Sketch?style.