Pies are anything but humble in the hands of these innovative bakers. Whether it's a Seattle shop that imagines pies on sticks or in jars, a San Francisco baker who likes his pies on the spicy side, or pies both deliciously peculiar and uniquely down-home coming from New York City, the pie has arrived.
Of bakeries and brunches from the Pacific Northwest to New York City, we've found the best reasons to roll out of bed in the morning. Think outside the toaster and try a warm slice of brioche sweetened with almond paste and homemade almond syrup, a hand-forged donut, a towering stack of peanut-butter filled chocolate waffles, or a coffee cake made just for you (with a single-drip artisan coffee brew to match).
We're returning the favor and celebrating cakes in every form, flavor and size. Take a slice of inspired, traditional French cakes from New York City, over-the-top masterpieces from a San Francisco mainstay, Seattle's best delicate and exotic coffee cakes or out-of-the-box cupcakes. Cakes never deserved their pedestal more.
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.
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.
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.
A fruit is made almost sinful again with some of the most decadent, exotic and chic desserts around. Pick an in-season fruit galette or chic tart, a dessert with a tropical fruit you're unlikely to have seen before and fresh fruit popsicles with a cool twist.