At all 200 Cookie by Design locations across the country, bakers hand-craft cheery cookie centerpieces from scratch with the creative flair of a florist. Founder Gwen Willhite stumbled across the inspiration for these artistic treats back in 1983 when, suddenly unemployed, she found she had time to combine her passion for baking and crafts. Today, each edible bouquet is prepared with the same care she showed when first starting out. She decorates each cookie by hand and personalizes the colorful confectionary arrangements for all occasions, including birthdays and housewarmings. Her cookies come in a variety of shapes, from ducks to hearts, and can be ordered in forms other than bouquets, such as baskets or trays. To get the most out of their medium, the bakers also design and decorate cookie cakes. In many instances, they’ll even hand deliver packages and can offer same-day delivery on select items, and cookie creations are always available onsite.
Taras Slipka brings something unique to the cakes that he crafts and decorates: an art degree. Drawing from training in Europe, Slipka uses his subtle, classically trained touch to transform delectable French-style pastries into stunning masterpieces. Dozens of styles and flavors cater to any occasion requiring a formally decorated pastry, from weddings to anniversaries to birthdays. Leaving the actual baking and cake construction out, Slipka's decoration classes use fake cakes. This allows pupils to focus solely on the frosting application, creating lifelike calla lilies or roses, perfect for training your dog to devour your nemesis’s flower garden.
Fresh, high-quality ingredients are the keys to Yogurtology's appeal, allowing guests to indulge in dessert while doing good for their bodies. In addition to diligently preparing fruit toppings daily, the staff members hand-cut each hunk of candy bar, creating delectably bite-size pieces that can be scattered over yogurt along with gummy candies, flakes of coconut, and more than 60 other garnishes, many of which are gluten-free and are carefully kept from commingling with the other ingredients. The resident "yogurtologists" also apply their attention to detail to the shop's atmosphere, replenishing and cleaning up the toppings bar throughout the day, helping to maintain a crisp, neat vibe.
Of course, toppings are only half the story. The stars at Yogurtology are the frozen yogurts, which range from classics to inventive flavors like pomegranate raspberry, Tart Nouveau, and award-winning Oatmeal Cookie. The self-serve machines offer up two no-sugar-added and two dairy-free options daily in order to accommodate dietary restrictions, and the shop shows respect to man's best friend by carrying cups of organic "doggie" yogurt.
Unlike filling up cars with mashed-up dinosaurs, filling up your body with Sola coffee serves both the customer and the common interest. A local roastery supplies and spills the beans that are ground into each made-to-order coffee ($1.50–$2) or latte ($3–$4). If you're devil-and-angeling between the organic agave latte ($3.50–$4) or the locally sourced masala chai ($2.50–$3.50), a wonderful wizard of coffee will help you settle the debate using a wealth of bean-themed knowledge. Pair barista beverages with locally baked pastries ($2.50) and biscottis ($1.50) that make a handy on-the-go snack for haunted locomotive trips to unknown locations.
When they emerge from the La Dolce Pesca kitchen, the wedding cakes, cupcakes, and cookies are almost too pretty to eat. This makes sense, as the bakery's seasoned pastry chefs handle their culinary creations as though they were works of art, decorating them with elegant fondant flowers, dazzling swirls, and whimsical patterns. Their gorgeous baked goods have made appearances at many a wedding, baby shower, and bar mitzvah, as well as in the glossy pages of Arizona Foothills and Arizona Bride Magazine.
The chefs customize cakes and pastries to order, taking time to meet with the customers beforehand to discuss preferences and administer tastings. They invite clients to choose from a variety of cake flavors, fillings, and frostings, or to choose from a selection of gourmet layer cakes, such as the German chocolate with coconut pecan frosting or the lemon mousse with candied lemon zest. The chefs can also tailor cakes to accommodate clients with wide variety of unique dietary concerns, such a birthday boy with a gluten allergy or a groom who turns into a frog whenever he eats a pecan.