Arizona Sweet


We are eating our way through desserts in the Valley of the Sun. Someone has to do it, right? J Check back often for the continuing story.  


The following list illustrates the wide range of innovative desserts available in greater Phoenix/Scottsdale area restaurants, cafes, bakeries, and ice cream shops. It is for inspiration and comparison only, as dessert menus change regularly. In addition, the desserts listed here may span multiple seasons, thus may not all be available in the current season. (Call ahead if you are counting on experiencing a specific dessert, at a specific restaurant, on a specific occasion.)


The trend that seems to me to distinguish desserts in the Valley of the Sun is the novel and creative use of Southwest and Mexican ingredients and techniques. There are many inspiring examples listed below. Arizona ranks second nationally in the production of cantaloupe, honeydew melon, and lemons, so expect to see these used in interesting ways by Arizona pastry chefs whose focus is regional, seasonal desserts. Other potential dessert ingredients that strike me as quintessentially Southwest are all of the chiles, prickly pears, oranges, blood oranges, tangelos, limes, grapefruit, peaches, apples, pumpkins, watermelon, tequila, honey, corn, and chocolate (even though cacao is not grown in the state).


Another trend that is easy to see in the list below is a preponderance of traditional comfort desserts (pot de crème, crème brûlée, chocolate cake, ice cream, cheesecake, bread pudding, brownies, fritters) with interesting twists.


A trend that doesn’t appear to be hitting Arizona in a big way is deconstructed desserts (such as those that appear in Demolition Desserts by Elizabeth Falkner and across much of the Boston dessert landscape) and Verrines (colorful desserts layered in glasses). Are these too cerebral, too froufrou for Southwesterners? (I don’t see much of this in Seattle or Portland either.)


For the chocoholics, chocolate desserts are listed at the top of each listing.


NOTE   If you are a restaurant, bakery, or sweet shop owner or chef in the greater Phoenix/Scottsdale area and want us to showcase your wonderful desserts here, please contact us. We’ll stop by to sample your creative work the next time we are in the area.


NOTE   Orange text indicates desserts we have sampled thus far. We are just beginning this adventure and have a LONG way to go!


Wrights at the Biltmore (Phoenix)


·         Mascarpone Chocolate Cheesecake with Roast Strawberry & Singing Dog Vanilla Pistachio Ice

·         Chocolate Peanut Torte with Bananas Brûlée & Hazelnut Crunch

·         Frozen Strawberries & Cream with Chocolate, Pistachio Tuile & Fresh Strawberries

·         Sweet Mango & Summer Melon with Lemon Grass Citrus Broth, Lavender Meringue & Biltmore Grown Orange Sorbet

·         Honey Cheese Cake Ice Cream, Blueberry Compote & Candied Cracker Jacks

·         High Tea

·         High Tini


Café Carumbra (Scottsdale)


·         Chocolate Brownie With Haagen Dazs Vanilla Ice Cream Rolled In Crushed Candied Pecans, Topped With Caramel Syrup & Gaufrette


Cowboy Ciao (Scottsdale)


·         Cuppa’ Red Hot Chocolate: Cinnamon/Cayenne-Spiked Chocolate Pot De Crème With Chipotle Crema, Ancho Honey, Chocolate/Chipotle Cookie

·         Brownie & Beer: Chocolate Fudge Brownie And Guinness Punch Ice Cream With Cocoa Streusel, Chocolate/Fleur De Sel Caramel Sauce

·         Fossil Creek Creamery Cheesecake: Chocolate Fudge/Peanut Butter Cheesecake On Chocolate Cookie Crust With Salted Peanut/Caramel Sauce

·         Warm Brioche Bread Pudding With Dried Cherries, Craisins & Pine Nuts, with Brown Sugar & Oatmeal Streusel, Five-Spice Ice Cream, Compote Of Dried Cherries & Craisins, & Praline Sauce

·         Blue Cheese Cheesecake with Pecan Crust, Spiced & Pickled Cranberries, Black Pepper Ice Cream, & Black Canyon City Honey

·         Warm Autumn Apple & Almond Spice Cake with Bourbon & Coffee Ice Cream, Chile Pasilla De Oaxaca & Apple Compote & Apple Chip


Digestif (Scottsdale)


·         Brownie & Chocolate Malted Semifreddo: Chocolate-Cocoa Nib Fudge Brownie, Toasted Fresh Marshmallow, Malted Chocolate Milk Semifreddo,  & Fleur De Sel Caramel

·         Mint Chocolate Ice Cream Sandwiches with Chocolate Macaroons, White Chocolate & Peppermint Ganache, Mint Stracciatella Gelato, Chocolate Sauce, & Chocolate Mint Praline

·         Lemon Mascarpone Cheesecake with Lemon-Rosemary Shortbread Crust, Cranberry-Cherry Compote, Limoncello Gelato, & Lemon Tuile

·         Butternut Squash & Ricotta Fritters with Orange Marmellata, Maple Syrup, & Cider Crème Fraîche

·         Warm, Caramelized Apples with Rum, Caramel Semifreddo, Almond-Fleur De Sel Streusel, & Almond-Spice Pizzelle

·         Cinnamon, Fleur De Sel Caramel, Mint-Stracciatella or Limoncello Gelato, served With Biscotto, Pinoli Macaroon, & Side of Espresso


Elements (Paradise Valley) 


·         Chocolate Peanut Butter Decadence with Salted Caramel Panna Cotta, Bourbon Cream & Sesame Tuile

·         Warm Apple Tart with Cinnamon Vanilla Ice Cream & Crispy Apple Chip

·         Fossil Creek Goat Cheese Cake with Tangerine, Sesame & Black Pepper Liquid Center

·         Chocolate Torte with Peppermint Milk Shake

·         Chocolate Fondue with Selection of Seasonal Accompaniments


The Mission (Scottsdale)


·         Pumpkin-Bread Pudding  

·         Churros & Milkshake 

·         Fried Bananas with Peanut-Butter Mousse & Dulce De Leche 


Noca (Phoenix) 


·         Warm Chocolate Pudding, Salted Pretzel Crumble, with Cherry Lambic Sorbet

·         Malted Vanilla Milkshake with Chocolate Chip Cookies

·         Malted Vanilla Milkshake 

·         Warm Doughnut Holes, Dulce De Leche Jam, Strawberry Jelly & Dark Chocolate Syrup

·         Deconstructed Cheesecake with Passion Fruit Curd, Lime & Vanilla Gelée, & “Cookie Crust”


Quiescence (Phoenix)


·         Confection Plate for Two: Truffles, Caramels, Florentines, Lemon Bars

& Chocolate “Salami” 

·         Sweet Mascarpone & Rainbow Valley Farmers Cheese Cannoli with Chocolate & Almond Sauce

·         Arizona Citrus & Vanilla Custard tart with Pistachio Brittle

·         Lemon Cream Ice Cream with Biscotti


Roaring Fork (Scottsdale)


·         Hot Chocolate Lava Brownie Served with Vanilla Ice Cream & Chocolate Sauce

·         Hot Huckleberry Bread Pudding

·         Huckleberry and Crème Anglaise Served with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream


Sierra Bonita Grill (Phoenix)


·         Mexican Chocolate Torte With Strawberry Puree And Berto’s Vanilla Bean Gelato

·         Buttermilk Pie With Warm House Made Caramel Sauce

·         Bread Pudding With Jack Daniels Whiskey Lime Sauce

·         Apple & Sun Dried Cherry Cobbler With Berto’s Vanilla Bean Gelato


Sweet O Chocolate Lounge (Glendale)


·         Warm Chocolate Lava Cake with Chocolate Ganache

·         Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake  

·         Dark Chocolate Mousse Dome Cake with A Marinated Cherry & Creme Brûlée Center With Crisp Hazelnut Crust

·         Chocolate Pecan Brownie Layered with Honey Ganache & Dulce De Leche Mousse

·         Warm Caramelized Pecan & Chocolate Cake, Almond-Dark Cocoa Cookie Crust & Vanilla Ice Cream

·         Tiramisu Served with Belgium Chocolate Shavings.

·         Dark, Milk Or White Pure Chocolate Fondue Served  with Chef’s Accompaniments

·         Profiterole Filled With Vanilla Ice Cream, Drizzled with Warm Chocolate Sauce

·         Cheesecake with Raspberry Puree Center & Graham Dacquoise

·         House Made Milk Cake Served with Fresh Strawberries & Wine Cream Sauce

·         Flambéed Bananas, Chocolate, & Crème Fraiche

·         Sliced Apples, Caramel, Crème Fraiche & Cinnamon Sugar 


T. Cook (Phoenix) 


·         Warm Valrhona Chocolate Soufflé Torte with Tangerine Infused Mascarpone Cream & Tangerine Jelly

·         Chocolate Sponge Cake Drenched with Kirsch Liquor & Layered with Cherry Jelly & Chestnut Mousse, Topped with Chocolate Praline Streusel 

·         White Chocolate Roasted Almond Mousse, Layered With Figs & Oats, served with Coffee Caramel Sauce, Gianduja Citrus Crumbles, & Coffee-Caramel Gelato

·         Caramel Cheesecake & Vanilla Creme Brûlée Served with Fresh Berries & Guava Sauce

·         Calvados Custard Baked in a Crisp Pastry Shell with Fresh Apples, Spiced with Cinnamon & Cardamom, Topped with Apple Sorbet & Walnut Reduction

·         Cinnamon Cake Layered with Blood Orange Mousse & Served with Cappuccino Gelato & Port Reduction


Tarbells (Phoenix)


·         Warm Chocolate Cake with Pistachio Ice Cream

·         The “Beloved” Chocolate Mousse Featuring Guittard Chocolate

·         Profiteroles with Vanilla Bean Gelato and Chocolate Sauce

·         Southern Bread Pudding with Kentucky Bourbon Sauce

·         Classic Crème Brûlée

·         Mascarpone Cheesecake with Rosemary Caramel Sauce


Vogue Bistro (Sun City/Surprise)


·         Chocolat Pot De Crème with Valrhona Chocolate

·         Chocolate Cake with Madagascar Vanilla Sauce

·         Vogue Crème Brûlée

·         Pineapple Tatin


Zinc Bistro (Scottsdale)


·         Zinc Valrona Chocolate Soufflé with Chocolate, Mint, or Grand Marnier Sauce

·         Pistachio “Cheesecake” Peanut Butter Cup with Candied Pistachios & House Made Peanut Butter

·         Tahitian Vanilla Bean Creme Brûlée with Chambord Macaroons

·         Chocolate Pot De Creme Infused With Earl Grey with Allspice Foam & Honey Glazed “Tea Bisquits”




Cuisine of Phoenix: The Culinary Encyclopedia of the Valley

Feasting in Phoenix

Phoenix Restaurant blog

I Eat Restaurant News (Phoenix)

Phoenix New Times Restaurant Reviews

Arizona Republic Restaurant Reviews

Arizona Farm Bureau

Arizona Pick-Your-Own Harvest Schedule

Arizona Agriculture

Downtown Phoenix Public Market

Local First Arizona

Examiner Article: Phoenix Public Market

Arizona Community Farmers Markets

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