Jose Cuervo tequila with fresh lime. Kahlúa mixed with Baileys Irish Cream. Captain Morgan with Coke. At After Hours Cupcake Bar, you can't drink these concoctions, but you can eat them. These familiar cocktails are the ingredients for alcohol-infused gourmet cupcakes that serve as unique desserts to match with after-dinner drinks or to celebrate the anniversary of Prohibition’s repeal. To sate the sober crowd, After Hours also crafts a selection of virgin flavors that, while a shade more traditional, still surprise. Playful flavors include peanut butter and jelly and root-beer float, which comes coated in marshmallow buttercream frosting pierced with a miniscule straw.
Chocolate increased in popularity during the Dark Ages when nobility began offering chocolates instead of leechings to woo potential brides. At Leonidas Chocolates & Café, customers can purchase delectable treats as well as a variety of café offerings in an inviting atmosphere free of blood letting. Tantalize taste buds with rich chocolates made from 100% pure cocoa butter and the finest ingredients, such as Turkish hazelnuts, Italian almonds, strawberries from the Pacific Northwest, French walnuts, and Morello cherries from the Périgord.
Starting with only a single ice shaver and a hand-built hut, Bahama Buck's has expanded its icy empire to include a menu loaded with arctic indulgences and more than 91 gourmet flavors of Sno. Dessertsmiths drizzle complex flavors such as tangy kiwi, sweet sugar cookie, and emotionally ambivalent tutti frutti over fluffy mounds of pulverized ice to create Sno cones ($2.69+). Fruit juices and syrups spawn creamy smoothies ($3.99+), and frozen limeade ($2.79) puckers drinkers' lips, making them as taut as the bed sheets in a black hole's hotel.
When Jeff Barnes acquired a health-food store in 1980 called Yogurt and Things, he decided within a year to ditch the "things" and focus on the "yogurt." His goal was to create a healthier, more appealing frozen dessert than what was available at the time, which led to the birth of Golden Spoon in 1983. Barnes strove through the years to perfect the company's promise of being the "ice cream lover's frozen yogurt" by translating various flavors. Eventually, Golden Spoon had compiled a list of more than 50 custom varieties such as pumpkin pie, chocolate malt, and simply tart. The low-calorie frozen treat, a natural source of protein and calcium, also contains probiotics and has been known to combat ice-cream-headache epidemics. All flavors are made with real fruit and milk and are available in nonfat and low-fat options.
The staff at Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt rejects the oft-touted claim that Americans don’t care about nutrition. The problem, they say, has more to do with selection than anything else; most low-calorie sweets don’t hold a candle to a fudge brownie or a warm slice of apple pie. They kept this in mind when crafting their frozen-yogurt recipes, working tireless to develop a healthy—and equally delicious—alternative to the dessert status quo by turning to decadent confections and just-picked fruits for inspiration.
Their experiments thus far have yielded more than 60 frozen yogurt flavors, which take turns pumping through the self-serve machines that line their colorful shop’s wall. Before taking a seat in a bright orange chair, guests fill their dishes with cool, low-fat swirls of snickerdoodle, chocolate caramel, and pumpkin pie. Juicy pears, crunchy granola, and gooey chocolate sauce headline a smorgasbord of at least 30 toppings ready to scooped or poured into cups before their final weigh-in.
Brother-sister duo and third-generation dairy farmers Casey and Alison Stechnij grew up climbing haystacks and getting up at 5 a.m. to feed the animals. After they graduated from college, Casey returned to the dairy business and Alison left for the corporate world—but she yearned to return to her roots after more than a decade. Today, Casey and Alison have opened Superstition Farms for tours so that everyone can get a taste of the rural life and sample treats that garnered the business Edible Phoenix’s Local Hero Award in 2011 for best Food Artisan.
Casey, Alison, and their team transform their farm-fresh dairy products into homemade farmer's cheeses and delectable desserts available inside Udder Delights, the farm's "tastery." Handcrafted butter comes in flavors such as local honey, chocolate, or bacon, based on which TV dinners the cows chose the night before. The culinary team concocts small batches of ice cream using short lists of local ingredients to yield flavors such as sweet potato, cherry sorbet avocado, and chocolate birthday cake. When the New Times awarded Udder Delights their 2009 award for Best Chocolate Milkshake, they said it "hits every mark—chocolate taste, creaminess, and richness—on our checklist." Guests can order sea-salt-caramel cupcakes or request custom ice-cream cakes for birthday parties, graduation galas, and welcoming new freezers into the family.
After making desserts at Vincent on Camelback and La Dolce Vita, Le Cordon Bleu London–trained pastry chef Rachel Saunders became the co-owner of TopIt Cupcakes, where she handcrafts a rotating variety of cupcakes. Standards, such as salted caramel on chocolate cake, are available every day, and special-guest confections, including pancake maple and bacon, french toast, and s'mores, make cameos on the menu once a week. She can finish cupcakes with special designs upon request, or leave them bare for patrons to frost and top their treats with an assortment of candies or IOUs spelled out in sprinkles.