Every morning, the dough masters at Aracely's Bakery rise before dawn to craft house-made cupcakes, pastries, and sandwiches to bejewel their display cases. Confectionary artists transform dreams into fondant-covered reality by crafting custom cakes for birthdays, baby showers, and Eat a Portrait of Your Boss day. Meanwhile, traditional Mexican recipes lend sweetness to cakes and spice to 11 kinds of sandwiches, whose ingredients include avocado, chihuahua cheese, and secret sauce, and pack flavor into handheld meals.
In 1988, Auntie Anne's founders Anne and Jonas Beiler purchased a Pennsylvania farmers'-market stand, where they experimented with dough until they created a pretzel that seemed to strike the perfect chord with their customers. Today, at their more than 1,350 locations worldwide, the pretzel makers still hand roll the original recipe but have added to the menu with inventive options such as the eight signature dipping sauces. The team constantly explores new uses for the pretzel dough, such as wrapping it around hot dogs and slicing it into bite-size nuggets. To transform the snack into a meal, they accompany it with specialty drinks, including frozen-lemonade desserts.
When not twisting dough, Auntie Anne's team partners with the national charitable organization Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, which raises funds to fight childhood cancer. Auntie Anne's also reaches out to the community through fundraising opportunities.
What do a pirate ship, a U-Haul truck, and a football field all have in common? They're all edible. At least they are at Cakes by Carlos. The skilled bakers at this suburban confectionary can turn nearly any thing into a towering 3D cake, from purses designer purses with near-perfect embellishment to giant fondant ribbons that cascade down wedding cakes like luxurious silk. Example designs are subdivided by category, and include ladybug cakes for kids birthdays, bottle-shaped cakes for baby showers, and toothbrush-shaped cakes to confuse cavities.
Since 1981, TCBY has been synonymous with frozen yogurt. The company spearheaded the guiltless consumption of low-fat, chilled dairy treats with iconic flavors such as white chocolate mousse topped with fresh fruit and candy. Today, TCBY yogurt shops across the country continue the tradition with classic and specialty flavors such as caramel supreme, greek honey vanilla, and sugar- and fat-free mountain blackberry.
Bakers at Cookies Fresco draw on Old-World recipes to craft creative, Italian-inspired confections from fresh eggs, nuts, sugar, and butter. Carefully selected packaging preserves the crisp crunch of cookies by the pound, including buttery biscotti and authentic peach, apricot, and nutella kolachky. Confectioners can also customize cakes for birthdays, anniversaries, and black-tie refrigerator warmings and concoct sugar-free items upon request.
When Kathryn Pekarik was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins t-cell lymphoma, her sister Laura baked up 250 cupcakes for a benefit held in Kathryn’s honor. Their friends and family members clamored for more, prompting the Pekarik sisters to start Cupcakes for Courage. The food truck sells fresh-baked cupcakes in such decadent flavors as chocolate bacon beer, with proceeds benefitting cancer charities. Since first hitting the road in their four-wheeled cupcakery, they've been featured on NBC Channel 5 as well as the Food Network's Cupcake Wars.