Boston is a city with a lot of history ... and a lot of great sweets! First we visit Union Square Donuts. Their fluffy, puffy, glorious yeast donuts come in wicked awesome flavors like peanut butter marshmallow cream and brown butter hazelnut crunch. And don't forget their classic cake donuts! Next we're off to Flour Bakery, a Boston staple offering a bevy of brioche options, like twice baked brioche, sugar bun brioche and cinnamon cream brioche. They knock it out of the park with their pies and tarts, too! Our last stop is Area Four, a Cambridge coffee shop with some of the best-baked goods around. Their whole wheat cookie based J-bar, chocolate espresso B cookie and brown sugar studded craquelin all score high marks with MIT and Harvard students and professors in the area.
When it comes to sweets, chocolate is king. And it inspires chefs to reach new heights with amazingly chocolatey dishes. At Petsi Pies in Somerville, Mass., the indulgences begin with pie crusts made from ground chocolate cookies, and goes on to include Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Pie and an incomparable Mississippi Mud Pie.Bean-to-bar chocolatiers French Broad Chocolates in Ashville, N.C., create the addictive Chocolate Mocha Stout cake, then ups the ante with the thick and creamy Maple and Smoked Sea Salt Liquid Truffle. And Roni-Sue's Chocolate's on New York City's Lower East Side started a movement with its Pig Candy: crispy slices of fried bacon dipped in chocolate.
We venture out of Manhattan to the incredibly diverse borough of Queens and find one-of-a-kind baked treats. Rudy's Bakery and Cafe has been putting their own spin on classics like German Chocolate Cake since 1934. La Nueva bakery brings a taste of Latin America to the neighborhood with its signature Uruguayan sandwich cookies and at Norma's they're coming up with delicious creations like the Frankencrispie: part brownie, part cookie and part cereal bar. Now this is definitely worth a ride on the subway.
Hawaii is more than just pristine beaches: it's also home to some incredible sweet treats. Lee Anne Wong serves sweet brunch specialties at Koko Head Cafe, while Via Gelato blends Hawaiian flavors with Italian techniques to make innovative frozen sweets. And renowned Vietnamese restaurant The Pig and the Lady serves out-of-the-box creations at their dessert bar.
Trigger your fondest food memories with flavors you never remembered in our favorite picks for revisited retro and nostalgic desserts. Indulge in caramel corn in San Francisco, a Meyer Lemon Shaker Pie, the creamiest of cheesecakes to have all to yourself, or a slice of birthday cake unlike any mother ever made.
Craving cookies that are too cool for your childhood cookie jar? Nibble on a crumbly, oat-flecked peanut butter sandwich cookie in New York, a psychedelic sugar cookie from Brooklyn, a serious chocolate chip cookie with cocoa nibs in San Francisco, or a wacky snickerdoodle "cookie pizza" from Chicago.
We found the top spots from Seattle to New York to keep the kid in you hopped up on sweets. Boxed supermarket desserts take on a grown-up twist with flavors like black sesame or passion fruit, as do the freshest of fruit pops, in two boutique shops in New York. For a more innocent indulgence, try sprinkle-scattered hummingbird cupcakes in Seattle or caramel apples dipped in cookie crumbs in Chicago.
Anyway you fry it, America loves donuts, and these three shops are a cut above the rest. There are vegan delights at Donut Friend in Los Angeles, with everything from berries and mint to donut sandwiches; at Underwest Donuts in New York, they prove you can have your Halva Tahini donut and eat it too; In Honolulu, Champion Malasadas serve up Portuguese-style donuts fried to order and covered in sugar.
These frozen treats go far beyond vanilla, chocolate and strawberry scoots. In Honolulu, Shimazu Store pushes the boundaries of shave ice, a uniquely Hawaiian treat. In New York, Ice and Vice uses unconventional ingredients to create edgy desserts for adult palates. In Burbank, Calif., Quenelle is changing the rules of the frozen-treat game, with creations including ice cream sandwiches with fresh, hot, funnel cakes.
It's a tour of the sweetest spots in Los Angeles. At Republique, French pastries are expertly crafted, and totally addictive. The Pistachio Raspberry Kouign Amann is like California summer wrapped in a buttery and flaky dough. And you'll love unwrapping the Cherry Pistachio Braid layer by sugary layer. At Churro Borough, their version of an ice cream sandwich pairs artisanal ice cream with two warm, flaky deep fried pastry disks. Then we check out the unique cloud cakes at Bo Nuage.
Visit three of New York's game changers, putting a new spin on old favorites. At Dominique Ansel Kitchen, time is the secret ingredient: desserts are made to order instead of ahead of time. At Good Batch, a passion for cookies has evolved into groundbreaking ice cream sandwiches, like the deconstructed candy bar called the Macaroon Ice Cream Sandwich. And the frozen desserts at Snow Days make childhood dreams come true: feathery shavings of flavored frozen creams in inventive flavor combinations.
If you are looking for some Low Country Love, look no further than Charleston, S.C. At Callie's Hot Little Biscuit, they are baking up over the top, warm, doughy rounds like the Cinnamon Biscuit and the Blueberry Biscuit. At Brown's Court Bakery, they push the boundaries of baked goods with items like their Peanut Butter and Sriracha Croissant and their Caramelita Bar. And good things come in small packages at Sweet Lulu's Bakery on Wheels, where you can order Coconut Cake in a Jar or even Wonder Chick.
We travel the country finding the sweetest way to start your day! At Holy Donut in Portland, Maine, the dough for their Maine Blueberry Donuts and Sweet Potato Ginger Glazed Donuts includes mashed potatoes. At Kolache in Brooklyn, they take on the Texan kolache pastry with a Berry Sweet Cheese version filled with three kinds of berries, and Orange Rolls. Finally, there's a decadent breakfast of Carrot Cake Pancakes and Fried Chicken and Waffle Sandwiches at the Dixie Supply Bakery and Cafe in Charleston, S.C.
Forget bacon and chocolate: we found the spots for sweet-and-savory desserts that are new to the menu. Between sweetened tofu, donuts that raid the savory spice cabinet, roasted red pepper gelato and a cupcake that's fit for dinner, you'll never look at dessert the same way again.
Need a nibble of something sweet? Take a bite of sticky, stacked baklava and creative candies from Brooklyn and Queens, N.Y., or a tiny taste of decadence with twisted French classics in Chicago or upscale Farmer's Market fare in San Francisco. These treats may be tiny, but are huge on flavor.
If a love for chocolate can be described as a religion, we have found the ultimate places of worship that claim devotion to little else. Atop the shrine to this beloved ingredient sits a collection of playful chocolate confections, a chocolate-doused brownie sundae, a molten chocolate tart unlike any you've ever seen and a chocolate cake that's known as the best in the world.
These sweet treats will help tide you over during a long afternoon! Tandem Coffee and Bakery in Portland, Maine, will brighten your day with their Coconut Almond Cream Pie and their Strawberry-Almond Cornmeal Cake. EVO Craft Bakery in Charleston, S.C., will perk you up with its selection of eye-opening combinations like the PB&C with peanut butter, dark chocolate and chipotle, and the O'Snap with white chocolate with spicy ground ginger snaps. And in New York City, Chalait is breaking new ground by adding green tea to desserts with their Matcha Coconut Custard Croissant and Matcha White Chocolate Bark.
We're heading to picture-perfect Maine for some soul-satisfying treats. Starting at Scratch Baking Co. in South Portland, we dive into the perfect breakfast pastry, the Toaster Jam Scone. For an afternoon snack, try the Concord Grape and Peanut Butter Snack Cake, or their real showstopper -- the Movie Night Cake. At Wicked Whoopies in Freeport, they're taking the official state treat and turning it a massive five-pound whoopie pie. And if you have a hankering for something cool, look no further than Catbird Creamery, where they whip up some out-of-this-world ice cream, like Tamari Caramel with soy sauce!
These are the best unique sweets in the San Francisco Bay area. Head over the Bay Bridge to Oakland, and you'll find out why people are raving about the pies at Pietisserie. You'll fall in love with the the ruby red Beet Pie or the eye-popping Chantilly Chocolate Cream Layered Pie. Then, find out why people line up at the crack of dawn just to get their fix of Cruffins at Mr. Holmes Bakehouse. It's a mash-up of a croissant and a muffin, and it's stuffed with decadent creamy fillings. Finally, Donut Savant, where they're frying up fresh mini doughnuts all day long. Try the Chocolate Frosted with Hole which is a two-for-one favorite: thick chocolate glaze on a vanilla yeast doughnut, complete with a vanilla-glazed doughnut hole placed back in the middle.
Some of the most amazing treats are the ones that take a classic dessert and give it a modern twist. At Shakedown ice cream parlor in San Francisco, all the flavors of a German chocolate cake are enjoyed in a whole new (drinkable) way. And a classic ice cream flavor gets an upgrade in Banana Cookies and Cream, In Portland, Ore., Palace Cakes purees an entire orange with carrots for its unique four-layer carrot cake. And Elsie's Parlor in Brooklyn uses an old family recipe as the springboard for its innovative doughnuts, like the brown-butter-dipped Cannella al Burro and the Black and White Doughnut, which takes its inspiration from the classic New York cookie.
We're traveling to Portland, Ore., to discover some of the city's most scrumptious and satisfying treats. We start at Bushel and Peck Bakeshop, where the sweet and tart Marionberry Mint Muffin is a perfect way to start your day and the Double Chocolate Squash Scone with Espresso Maple Glaze is a great afternoon pick-me-up. Plus, if you're in the mood for a seriously sinful treat, try the Pretzel Almond Caramel Bar. Next, follow us to The Cakery for some of the prettiest -- and tallest -- cakes we've seen. The Pink Cake looks sweet and angelic, but one bite of this cake reveals a deliciously naughty chocolate center. And explore your love of lemon one layer at a time with the Lovely Lemon Cake. And at Palmetto Cafe, the Coconut Bundt Cake takes carrot cake to the tropics for a fantastically flavorful luau, featuring special guests coconut, pineapple and, the star of the show, purple heirloom carrots.
We're in New York City, discovering the places that are serving up the most unique sweet treats from around the world. In Red Hook, Brooklyn, check out La Newyorkina. This Mexican sweet shop specializes in paletas, ice pops made with fresh fruit. Try the milk-based Fresa Fields Forever or slurp the Chamoyada: a surprisingly addictive answer to the snow cone. On the Lower East Side we sample Thai street sweets at Juicy Spot Cafe. Here, they make ice cream to order and finish it with a variety of unique toppings. Try flavors like green tea, and toppings including grass jelly and dragon fruit. At Mocu-Mocu in Hell's Kitchen, they make a Japanese stuffed pancake called Obanyaki.The Apple Compote and Custard Cream Obanyaki tastes like a warm slice of apple pie a la mode.
Whether to swipe the sticky sugar from your hands or to catch a drip on your lip, these ooey gooey desserts require a napkin or two to conquer. Dive into the stickiest of sticky buns, a coconut cake soaked with syrup, a fried apple pie dipped in spiced caramel and a sundae that's dripping with two different sauces. Take our advice and save your fingers: grab a spoon.
Your grandmother might learn a new trick or two from these Southern-inspired sweet spots. Between New York and Miami with a stop in the deep South, we were charmed by a ladylike Lady Baltimore cake, a staunchly Southern restaurant that reinvents regional classic desserts, the cutest pies with surprising fillings and heavenly layer cakes.
Travel to distant lands from the comfort of a pastry box. Old culinary traditions are made new again at a few of our favorite bakeries, where sweets cross cultural lines and are made personal. Traditions from France and Japan collide at a New York City bakery, a family bakery in Miami brings us South American treats and two Boston shops bring us to Turkey, Morocco and beyond, from adventurous American bakers.