2021 Best of the Valley Desserts

Editorial StaffJuly 7, 2021
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Photo courtesy Onli Cannoli
Photo courtesy Onli Cannoli

Best Dessert Dip
Onli Cannoli

While everyone else was losing their minds over chocolate hummus (thank you, but no thank you), we were bewitched by farmers market staple Onli Cannoli’s cannoli dip. The tasty ricotta and mascarpone filling usually found piped into crisp pastry shells is repackaged in tubs in which you can dip pretzels, fruit, graham crackers, waffle chips or just your fingers. 7539 W. Peoria Ave., Peoria, 941-626-5357, theonlicannoli.com

Best Sneaky-Awesome Dessert Menu
Ocean 44

Icy fresh oysters, whole lobsters dripping with Irish butter and shrimp cocktail as big as your cerebrum are what this seafood palace is best known for. But you might flip like a trained seal when you lay eyes on the unfairly tempting dessert menu, which includes a new thing called the Cookie Butter Bliss – basically cookie dough in mousse form, with bricks of vanilla butter crust. Poseidon weeps. 4748 N. Goldwater Blvd., Scottsdale, 480-867-0044, ocean44.com

Best Adult Gelato
Whiskey Cream from That’s Amore

Regulars at this North Scottsdale gem opt for classic Italian flavors, like bacio and pistachio. These are creamy and intense – each bite is like falling into a well of pleasure. But the whiskey-cream flavor is all subtlety. Bites recall sipping a beautifully complex glass of rye on the rocks, all roughness made smooth by the coldness and cream. 7605 E. Pinnacle Peak Rd., Scottsdale, 480-419-6280, thatsamoregelato.com

Best Cake Pops
Cake Pops by Sal

My Gal Sal Bakery’s Salomae “Sal” Schroeder is an artist, and her medium is cake pops. Schroeder can render any concept into a globular confection – golf balls, sunflowers, mummies, mermaids, logos and ladybugs, to name a few – without sacrificing flavor or texture. She also makes gluten-free, vegan and keto pops. The gal’s got range. 15820 N. 35th Ave., Phoenix, 602-978-2479, mygalsal.com/cake-pops

Best Craft Chocolate
DNA Chocolate

Bean-to-bar chocolate requires a parade of esoteric steps, and Denae Hostetler has mastered them all. Using a home oven, stone grinder and hand-built winnower, Hostetler shapes chocolate from cacao she sources and roasts herself. Flavors unspool in unlikely directions: dry cherry, blueberry, earth. Eating a DNA bar is like tasting chocolate for the first time. dnachocolate.simpl.com

Best Cookies
Urban Cookies Bakeshop

The decadent desserts dreamed up by Brady and Shaun Breese are all made with organic sugar, local ingredients and lots of love, whether it’s a vegan blueberry doughnut, gluten-free churro cake or the classic dark chocolate walnut cookie that started it all. Partnerships with local nonprofits and mentorship programs for culinary students sweeten the deal. Simultaneously satisfying your sweet tooth and supporting a socially responsible small business? Say less. 2325 N. Seventh St, Phoenix, 602-451-4335, urbancookies.com

Antonia Kane. Photo by Debby Wolvos
Antonia Kane. Photo by Debby Wolvos

Best Pastry Artist
Antonia Kane

Every so often, an Arizona native leaves, becomes an incandescent talent and returns. Enter Kane, a former baker at San Francisco’s renowned Tartine bakery. At Valentine, Kane uses Arizona grains from places like Hayden Flour Mill and BKW Farms. The result: stellar chocolate croissants and mulberry kouign-amann with deeply Southwestern character and charm. 4130 N. Seventh Ave., Phoenix, 602-612-2961, valentinephx.com

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