From behind a frozen granite slab, the staff of Cold Stone Creamery uses twin spatulas to blend custom servings of ice cream and creative mix-ins to fit customers? exact specifications. Founded by Donald and Susan Sutherland in 1988, Cold Stone began under the hot Arizona sun, eventually spreading its frosty fingers to encompass more than 1,400 locations worldwide. Despite the size of the company, each location?s staff keeps up the handcrafted quality, making ice cream onsite every day and using those signature spatulas to create delicious pointillist art against the freezer wall.
A glass display case of colorful cakes, cookies, and pastries greets guests as they enter Clayton Bakery and Cafe, along with the enticing aroma of freshly baking bread. The family-owned establishment staffs a team of local artisanal bakers and decorators, who use local and natural ingredients when whipping up baked goods and a lunch menu of hearty sandwiches, paninis, and daily soups. Chefs roast all of their beef and pork fresh each day, and distribute their signature rolls to local venues such as Ray's pizza and Clayton Steakhouse. Upon request, the bakery can inscribe customized cakes with birthday greetings, personal messages, or a favorite chapter from James Joyce?s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.
The self-taught baker behind Baby B’s Cupcakes isn’t beholden to anyone’s ideas about the limitations of the diminutive dessert. Inspired by the vast array of sweets and tarts available in the candy and fruit aisles, she creates recipes for over a dozen eclectic flavors, from traditional chocolate and red velvet to maple bacon, raspberry-white-chocolate, and peanut-butter-and-jelly. Frostings and fillings provide additional flavors—cream cheese, banana crème, and lemon—into the moist, decadent mini cakes. Upon request, she can etch customized designs onto cakes, such as birthday-worthy Spider-man figures or brussels sprouts to encourage kids to eat their veggies.
In life, there are people who follow the rules, and then there are those who decide to blaze their own path. Tyler Adkins, owner and baker-in-chief at Cups Cookies, is one of the latter, having quit his career in law to pursue something more fulfilling: baking. But he knew he didn’t want to offer humdrum cookies you could get anywhere. Instead, he broke away from the traditional flat-cookie shape and molded his dough into cupcake pans, creating a new line of hybrid treats with delicious fillings.
Not only does Adkins do the baking, he can often be found delivering cookies to happy customers around New York City. Each dozen contains six flavors, ensuring sweet teeth are satisfied enough to take an early retirement.
The bakers at Anna's Gourmet Banana Nut Bread, Inc. blend fresh, preservative-free ingredients into sticky, small batches of dough that emerge from ovens as moist, gourmet sweet breads and bundt cakes. The modest bakery serves up its signature sweet breads—which range in flavors from banana nut to sweet potato with pumpkin—amid the shops' small collection of chef figurines, which stand outside the open kitchen to inspire the staff and fend off sneak attacks from peckish G.I. Joes.
In the 1950s, Judy Lasater began baking cakes and other sweets according to the elder founder's recipes created over 100 years ago. Three decades later, Lasater partnered with her own daughter, Beth Pendergrass, to open Edible Art Bakery. Though another 30 years have passed since the bakery’s opening, not much has changed. They still adhere to the age-old Southern tradition of scratch baking, which eschews frozen layers and mixes in favor of natural and easily pronounceable ingredients.
The team of bakers and artists that now stands behind the store’s counters upholds the family’s legacy with traditional cakes and cupcakes in flavors such as southern lemon ice box and chocolate truffle. Swirls of buttercream or fondant icing adorn each creation, which the artists can embellish with themed designs to celebrate graduations and children's birthday parties or welcome a new gallon of milk into the home.