Sweet Stuff: Best of the Valley Desserts in 2022

Editorial StaffJuly 1, 2022
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Best Entrée Side Dish 

Ice Cream at Randy’s Restaurant

This Scottsdale favorite serves American comfort food, but remember to leave room for dessert. Or better yet, make it part of your dinner order. Each of the nine old-school dinner options at Randy’s (think: liver and onions) comes with two choices from a vast arsenal of side dishes, which includes everything from apple sauce to, yes, ice cream. At peak season, owner Randy Tobyn dishes out 100 gallons of the sweet, cold stuff per week, including hard-to-find flavors like Black Cherry Vanilla. 7904 E. Chaparral Rd., Scottsdale, 480-941-8419, randysrestaurantaz.com

Randy's Restaurant. Photo by Mirelle Inglefield
Randy's Restaurant. Photo by Mirelle Inglefield

Best Cheesecake

Banham’s

The staff is friendly, and the service is solid, but for cheesecake this good, a connoisseur might endure surly help to get a plateful. The generous slices of creamy, lightly sweet traditional cheesecake are bestsellers, and regulars know to line up early for the dulce de leche and pumpkin cheesecake varieties. Sublime. 2836 E. Indian School Rd., Phoenix, 602-824-8657, banhamscheesecake.com  

Best Local Chocolate Shop Inexplicably Named for Another City

San Francisco Chocolate Factory

There’s a new reason to travel to the Northwest Valley, and it’s a caramel apple encrusted with M&Ms. Also frozen New York cheesecake dipped in Guittard chocolate, and Rocky Road fudge, and something called Pecan Sponge Crunch that’s just plain out-of-this-galaxy good. Who cares which city this place is named for? Not your sweet tooth, that’s for sure. 702 W. Dunlap Ave., Phoenix, 602-758-5240, sfcfonline.com

Photo courtesy San Francisco Chocolate Factory
Photo courtesy San Francisco Chocolate Factory

Best Edible Tower of Goodness

AZ Chimney Cakes 

Crispy-crunchy on the outside, light and fluffy on the inside, these cylindrical Hungarian treats are made to order and filled with all manner of creamy decadence. Can’t decide between a Salzburg (a coconut cone filled with vanilla gelato and topped with cherry pie filling) and a Barcelona (a cinnamon cone with strawberries)? The friendly, patient staff will help you make your best choice. 1055 N. Dobson Rd., Mesa, 480-687-7515, azchimneycakes.com 

Photo courtesy AZ Chimney Cakes
Photo courtesy AZ Chimney Cakes

Best Place to Pretend You’re at the Automat

The Pie Vending Machine at Pie Snob

There’s some small danger in knowing that Pie Snob’s 16th Street location is home to a 24-hour “Pie ATM,” but not if you’re into eating some of the best pie available in the Valley at, say, three in the morning. Cherry crumb, key lime, caramel apple – it’s all here, all the time. 6522 N. 16th St., Phoenix, 602-266-0511, piesnob.com

Best Unexpected Dessert  

Lucky’s Deep-Fried Biscuits at ATL Wings  

Who has the willpower to save room for dessert when presented with a pile of chicken wings? Trust us, you’ll want to develop some. Lucky’s deep-fried biscuits – served with your choice of honey, maple syrup, cinnamon, powdered sugar or some combination of those – taste like the lovechildren of frybread and beignets. They’re totally worth declining that last flat. Multiple locations, atlwings.com

Best St. Louis-Style Gooey Butter Cake

Frasher’s Smokehouse

Gooey butter cake tastes as deliciously over the top as its name implies. Originally baked at a suburban St. Louis bakery, the Midwest favorite has found a tasty home here in the Valley at Frasher’s, where owner George Frasher offers a “314” menu of St. Louis favorites. 3222 E. Indian School Rd., Phoenix, 602-314-5599, frasherssmokehouse.com

Best Reason to Cheat on Your Diet

The Toffee Merchant Bourbon Pecan English Toffee

If ever there was a reason to stray from your dietary vows, it would be this crunchy, stick-to-your-teeth toffee. Made with sweet cream butter, cane sugar, aged bourbon whiskey and pecans, the tempting toffee is topped with toasted almonds, pecans and semi-sweet chocolate. Worth every calorie. 480-748-6547, thetoffeemerchant.com 

Best Eastern European Dessert

Honey Cake at Café Chenar  

It’s not always in the dessert case at this kosher restaurant, but when you spot honey cake – an Eastern European classic made differently in various regions, but always with thin layers of toasty, honeyed graham-like cake and lightly sweetened dairy (sometimes sour cream, sometimes yogurt) – don’t hesitate to order it. 1601 E. Bell Rd., Phoenix, 602-354-4505, cafechenar.com