From deep-fried donuts to ice cream sundaes the size of your head, America’s sweet tooth is well documented from sea to shining sea. And while no one would ever turn down a perfectly chewy brownie or a slice of banana cream pie, occasionally you’re just craving something a little more extraordinary. Here are 7 of the most creative desserts in the US—because innovation in culinary creations is as American as apple pie.
Aurora Chocolate Bonbons at Sweet Chalet (Anchorage, AK) [Pictured Above]
It’s a bit of a trek to Anchorage from most parts of the US, but the Aurora Chocolate Bonbons at Sweet Chalet are definitely worth it. These absolutely gorgeous chocolates look like small, colorful planets. Some are swirled with vibrant greens and golds, while others are speckled with tiny dots of color. No two are alike, but that’s only part of what makes this treat so special. They come in a variety of unique flavors, from Caramelized Pear with Saffron to Floral Earl Grey Tea. Aurora Chocolate Bonbons are exquisitely made and as gift-worthy as they are drool-worthy.
Half Pound Cookies at City Cakes (New York, NY)
There are plenty of bakeries in New York City that sell cookies, but few sell cookies like City Cakes does. Their claim to fame is a cookie that weighs in at a half pound—and while bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better, these cookies definitely are. Unsurprisingly, their most popular one is the Rich Chocolate Chip Half Pound Cookie. It’s made with bittersweet chocolate chips, so it’s decadent without being overly sweet. Another fan favorite is the Killer Stuffed Red Velvet Half Pound Cookie, which is filled with cream cheese frosting. You probably won’t be able to finish one on your own, but hey, it’s worth a try!
Coconut Strut Crème Brûlée at Torched Goodness (Lawrence, KS)
No longer does crème brûlée belong firmly in the territory of stuffy five-star restaurants. At Torched Goodness, a food truck based out of Lawrence, KS, crème brûlée is for everyone and comes in a few different flavors. Even if you’re partial to the classic, their Coconut Strut Crème Brûlée is worth a taste. The sea salt caramel base is topped off with toasted coconut and caramel sauce for a twist on the original that you won’t want to miss. They also have s’more and cookies ‘n cream versions, if you prefer. Each one is torched to order right before your eyes, adding to the fun of enjoying this fancy dessert al fresco. Bringing an upscale dessert to a whimsical level, Torched Goodness hits the mark.
S’More at Gotta Have S’More (Los Angeles, CA)
If you’re a fan of traditional s’mores, then you owe it to yourself to try a S’More from Gotta Have S’more. Their take on this summertime indulgence is simple yet delicious: made with a graham cracker base and topped off with a roasted marshmallow, each S’more also contains a unique filling. They rotate the fillings each week, so while you never quite know what you’ll get, past favorites have included salted caramel, peanut butter, and cherry pie. Every S’more is dipped in chocolate, and then it’s ready to be devoured. Oh, and they’re about the size of a mini muffin, so when you finally try them, you have full permission to order three or four.
Coffee & Doughnuts at Koko Head Café (Honolulu, HI)
While most desserts come after dinner, at Koko Head Café, dessert after (or with!) brunch is totally a thing. And the thing to order here is the Coffee & Doughnuts. Pillowy cinnamon and sesame donut holes are served alongside an aromatic Kona coffee crème anglaise dipping sauce, and while both components are delicious on their own, they are nothing short of spectacular when served together. And while you can share, the portion of this decadent dessert is petite enough that you won’t feel overstuffed after indulging. The Coffee & Doughnuts at Koko Head Café puts a new spin on an old favorite, creating an unbeatable dessert.
Macaron Ice Cream Sandwich at Milk (Los Angeles, CA)
You’ve had an ice cream sandwich, and if you’re lucky, you’ve tried a macaron…but have you ever tried a Macaron Ice Cream Sandwich? That’s the specialty at Milk, located in Los Angeles, and they are unlike any dessert you’ve ever had before. Rich, creamy ice cream is sandwiched between lighter-than-air, crispy meringue cookies, creating a textural explosion upon the first bite. One of their most popular flavors is Grasshopper, a mint chocolate chip ice cream sandwich that’s dipped in dark chocolate. If super sweet treats are your thing, try the Fruity Pebbles sandwich (yes, it’s rolled in actual Fruity Pebbles cereal). Whether you opt for a seasonal sandwich or stick to the classics, the Macaron Ice Cream Sandwiches at Milk are simply the best.
Frozen S’More at Dominique Ansel Bakery (New York, NY)
When you think Dominique Ansel Bakery, you probably think of the cronut—that flaky croissant/donut hybrid that had people lining up out the door in 2013. But this bakery has since moved on to bigger and better things, namely their Frozen S’More. This innovative creation starts with rich vanilla ice cream and chocolate crispies—a dessert worth indulging in itself. It’s then wrapped in a gourmet marshmallow and “torched to order.” Adding an icy twist to a nostalgic campfire treat, the Frozen S’More is more than worth the trip to SoHo.