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 Top 500 Franchises in the baked-goods category. As the shop?s reputation grew, 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&Ms, and chewy pecan supreme, as well as freshly baked fudge and cheesecake brownies, and cookie sandwiches stuffed with frosting. The real show-stoppers, however, are the giant chocolate-chip cookie cakes, which can be customized with sweet, celebratory messages or shopping lists penned in colorful icing.
Touting more than 100 flavors of low-calorie, flavor-packed frozen yogurt, Tutti Frutti earned a feature on CNBC and has continued to expand since opening its first shop in 2007. Inside each store, self-service yogurt machines unleash velvety-soft yogurt into accommodating cups or empty purses. The constantly rotating menu may include flavors such as royal red velvet, refreshing melon, chocolate peanut butter, and multiple hot chocolate offerings. Most flavors fall within the range of 30?40 calories per ounce, are low-fat or fat-free, with dairy-free, soy, kosher, and no-sugar-added concoctions also available.
A toppings bar allows eaters to further customize yogurt creations with a spoonful of fresh fruits or a sprinkling of nuts. The flavors contain ample amounts of protein, calcium, and probiotics, known for potential health benefits that may include strengthening immune systems and lowering cholesterol and blood pressure. Tutti Frutti also offers fresh smoothies, Belgian waffles with an array of toppings, hot tea, coffee, and lattes.
It’s the classic conundrum: an intense craving for cookies, but not enough time, motivation, or bribe money for the Keebler Elf syndicate to satisfy the yearning. Dough to Door has discovered a way to satiate this craving without forcing busy civilians to slave over an oven for hours or spend precious gas driving to the store; they whip up batches of custom cookies themselves and deliver them right to customers' doorsteps. Patrons choose from bases of five types of dough—including oatmeal, peanut butter, and chocolate—before opting to add mix-ins of dried fruit, crumbled candy bars, eight types of chips, and nuts. Ready-made cookies are also available to take away the pressures of decision-making.
At Black Bear Bakery, every batch of Lickhalter sourdough-rye bread, sweet pastries, and crunchy granola is made with the care of a shop owner. That’s because each staff member serves as a partial owner of the communal shop. This makes each staff member feel a personal responsibility for creating a shop they’d like their family to come to, encouraging them to use eco-friendly processes and locally sourced, organic ingredients. Along with whole-grain recipes filled with specialty ingredients such as kalamata olives and rosemary, bakers use century-old recipes passed down from the owners of Lickhalter Bakery. These recipes create hearty sourdough-rye loaves sprinkled with caraway seeds or twisted together with pumpernickel dough.
While breads are their specialty, bakers fill their ovens with more than just bread loaves. They craft handmade, boiled bagels that come sans holes, as well as cookies, baked granola, pizza crusts, and a variety of buns. On the weekends, they welcome the community for a vegetarian and vegan brunch, which features staples such as pancakes, quiche, potatoes, and bread pudding made from their loaves. These dishes can be washed down with pours of fair trade coffee, juice, tea, or pastry filling.
After graduating from cake-decorating school in Basel, Switzerland, Karl Knodel immigrated to America and opened his own cakery in 1901. In the 109 years since then, his family members have inherited recipes for his signature baked delights and used them to continue delighting discerning St. Louis sweet teeth and winning acclaim from picky incisors far and wide. Knodel's cakes, which vary in price depending on design decadence, are available in flavors such as caramel fudge, strawberry shortcake, red velvet, and eternity. For handheld treats, there's a 1 lb. cookie box ($9.95) or individual decorated cookies ($0.65+). Cupcakes strut down tongue catwalks in a variety of edible outfits (individual cupcakes start at $0.80). Call no less than five days in advance for custom cakes.