Sugar High: 50+ Decadent Desserts
According to Merriam-Webster, dessert is a “sweet course or dish (as of pastry or ice cream) usually served at the end of a meal.” While we don’t disagree with the dictionary, we’re here to tell you that when it comes to sweets, rules are meant to, and should, be broken. Whether that means eating dessert for dinner, adding a savory touch to a recipe, or indulging in a liquid—and liquored up—confection, there’s no right or wrong when it comes to satisfying your sweet tooth. Read on for our region’s most mouthwatering treats, the best local chocolatiers, baking secrets from the pros, and much more.
Pick your poison with one of these ridiculously good sweet treats
Bread Pudding with caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream is what you have to have when you go to The Independent Restaurant and Bar. They serve you a generous helping of this soul-soothing sticky, sweet brioche pudding that’s doused in gooey caramel and topped with vanilla ice cream. It’s dinner and dessert, all in one. 629 Main Street, Placerville, 530-344-7645, independentplacerville.com
(Gludent-Free!) Here’s a (delicious) mouthful—the Chocolate Malt and Brownie at Henry’s Steakhouse at Red Hawk Casino. Built around brownie pieces, malted chocolate ice cream, hazelnut chocolate mousse, cacao nibs, Chantilly cream, and a chocolate bowl, it’s truly the treat of all treats and combines comfort favorites and elegant elements into one satisfying dessert. 1 Red Hawk Parkway, Placerville, 530-677-7000, redhawkcasino.com/dining/henrys-steakhouse
The Almond Lemon Two-Layer Cake at Farmer’s Delicatessen and Bakery is delightful. Containing almond flour and fresh lemon juice frosting, it’s packed with bright flavors that border on exotic and contain a lingering freshness long after the last bite. 3952 Cambridge Road, Cameron Park, 530-672-6800, farmersdeli.net
White Chocolate Coconut Mousse can be savored at Bricks Eats and Drinks. It’s light and airy, subtly sweet, and rich…all at the same time. Whipped cream, coconut pudding, and white chocolate combine to make a dessert that’s as divine as any milk or dark chocolate counterpart. 482 Main Street, Placerville, 530-303-3480, bricksonmainstreet.com
A cross section of the Tiramisu at Papa Gianni’s Ristorante reveals layer upon layer of partially soaked ladyfinger cookies that still retain some firmness, along with a thick mascarpone cream filling that runs through every crack and crevice, making for a perfect bite each time. Topped with whipped cream and dusted with cocoa powder, it’s one tiramisu you can’t miss. 3450 Palmer Drive, Cameron Park, Suite 1, 530-672-2333, papagiannis.net
Some might say that the crème de la crème of desserts is Crème Brûlée. We might have to agree. Smith Flat House makes a crème brulee that’s dense, but surprisingly not too heavy, with a brittle caramelized sugar layer that’s dusted with powdered sugar and served with whipped cream on the side. Crack into this beauty and enjoy. 2021 Smith Flat Road, Placerville, 530-621-1003, smithflathouse.com
36 Handles serves a Persimmon Crumble that’s full of whisky-soaked persimmons and topped with brown sugar, oat-pecan crumble, and vanilla ice cream. Try it alongside a pint of one of their “36 handles” (preferably a stout or porter), and you’ve got yourself a one-way ticket to dessert heaven. 1010 White Rock Road, El Dorado Hills, 916-941-3606, 36handles.com
The Churros at Cascada are everything they’re supposed to be—doughy cinnamon-sugar covered straws with caramel filling, served with a generous helping of vanilla bean ice cream and lush caramel sauce. Sink your teeth into one of these babies and enjoy the fiesta in your mouth. 384 Main Street, Placerville, 530-344-7757, cascadainplacerville.com
(Gluten-Free) How do you like the sound of a Chocolate Pistachio Tort? We think it sounds divine, and rest assured, it is. The Farm Table serves up their slice of flourless cake that’s chock-full of pistachios and blanketed by a luscious chocolate ganache. It’s so good it’ll make you cry. 311 Main Street, Placerville, 530-295-8140, ourfarmtable.com
The Ultimate Chocolate BoxBest Local Chocolatiers
Delloree and Andy Vosper of Dellorees’s Confections have been making chocolate since 1990. Delloree’s father-in-law made this business possible and is the inspiration behind their creations. All their chocolates are made with Guittard—aka, the good stuff—sans gluten, wax or other fillers. They offer a variety of classic (almond butter toffee, pecan turtles, peanut butter cups) and unique goodies (gold nugget honeycomb, so much more-s’mores, caramel-dipped pretzels); some of their bestsellers being lemon crunch (white chocolate with lemon drops), tiger butter (white chocolate and peanut butter with dark chocolate stripes), and salted caramels. Their small but fresh batches, personalized service, quality ingredients, and unique approach to confectionary making has garnered some die-hard fans who’ll do anything to get their hands on some of these delicious treats. 451 Main Street, Suite 4, Placerville, 530-303-3334, delloreesconfections.com
Happiness is found inside Annabelle Fifield’s boxes of chocolates. Her aim is to provide customers with the highest quality of chocolates and excellent service at Annabelle’s Chocolate Lounge. Handmade delicacies like truffles, toffee, clusters, and caramels are made from scratch, with about 30 varieties of chocolate—from creamy milk to 85-percent dark. Custom gift boxes are also available for any occasion, and you can pick and choose whatever assortment of flavors you’d like. Try some sea salt caramels, or English toffee alongside wines from El Dorado and Amador Counties to switch things up. Add dancing to the mix and you’ve got the “Casbah Lounge,” a belly dancing event that happens four times a year to benefit a local family or person in need. If you’re looking to throw a party of your own, look no further—their retail space is big enough for 40 people, meaning the good times will definitely roll with all that chocolate and wine. 6240 Pleasant Valley Road, El Dorado, 530-295-9390, annabelleschocolate.com
At CandyStrike Emporium, the Cappell family is dedicated to making your sweet dreams come true, meaning you’ll find everything from wine-infused truffles to caramel apples. You can even get a taste of your favorites from yesteryear, like mountain bars and Cup O Gold candy. Sample licorices from America and around the world at the “Motherlode of Licorice” wall and stop by the fudge corner for flavors like maple nut, rocky road, and amaretto. These delicacies aside, you can find novelty candy, old-fashioned toys, and other treats at this wondrous emporium that delights young and old alike. 398 Main Street, Placerville, 530-295-1007, candystrike.com
Tip and Tricks from Local Bakers
Owner of Baker and a Black Cat, Placerville, 530-748-5366, bakerandablackcat.com
“Oven temperatures fluctuate more than you might think, so an oven thermometer will help determine whether your oven runs cool or hot. Use the thermometer readout as your temperature gauge, and you’ll know exactly when your oven reaches 350ºF. (Hint: It’s usually not when your oven tells you it’s heated.) You’ll also want to know where the dreaded hot spots are so you can rotate baking sheets/pans to avoid overbaking or burning. Preheat your oven to 350ºF and place a rack in the center of the oven. Lay slices of white bread in a grid pattern directly onto the rack; after 15 minutes, the heating pattern for both elements will be apparent.”
“Read a new recipe all the way through—rewriting and highlighting if necessary. While recipes are written in chronological order (and believe me, that order matters!), it’s easy to overlook or skip steps, especially in a recipe you’re trying for the first time. Nothing is more discouraging to have your oven and dough ready to go, only to realize that you were supposed to chill the dough overnight.”
“Do all the prep work first—all of it. Bring your butter to room temperature, melt your chocolate, sift your dry ingredients, and chop before you start mixing or heating anything. You’ll be amazed at how easily everything comes together when you start baking.”
Q: What’s Your Favorite Sweet Treat to Bake?
A: My dark chocolate cake with raspberry filling. The combination of creamy but not overly sweet chocolaty cake with the tart raspberry filling is so, so good!
Frank Vilt, Jr.
Owner of Frank Vilt’s Cakes, 4100 Cameron Park Drive, Suite 117, 530-409-7046, frankviltscakes.com
“I suggest using more than one source of a specific flavor when baking. For example, I like to use lemon zest, lemon juice, and a touch of lemon extract when baking lemon cupcakes; or almond extract, almond flour, and freshly toasted almonds when baking almond cupcakes. Additionally, I always suggest toasting nuts and coconut; the natural oils that come out drastically improve their flavor. Toasting also adds a nice color and texture to the final product.”
“I use two wooden dowels (.25 inches in diameter) on either side of my rolling pin to get evenly rolled out dough for cookies and pies.”
Q: What’s Your Favorite Sweet Treat to Bake?
A: Our individual cheesecake. They’re a bit softer than a normal cheesecake and incredibly smooth. I top them with many of our fresh fillings like our tangy raspberry or zesty lemon curd, and also with our semi-sweet chocolate ganache and fresh fruit. The best thing about these is that they’re not too sweet; you can really taste all the individual flavors, but at the same time they come together to create a piece of edible art.
Owner of Bell Tower Bakery, 451 Main Street, Suite 5,
Placerville, 530-497-5121, belltowerbakery.com
“For clean lines and a beautiful, professional presentation, chill or freeze baked goods, such as bars or cakes, before cutting.”
“Every home baker should invest in a digital scale, which is quite affordable and readily available. Measuring items in grams or ounces ensures consistency and gives bakers more options (i.e. European recipes will always be in grams).”
“When baking cookies, let the butter come to room temperature before creaming with sugar. Do not melt or microwave butter! Room temperature butter creates an air-trapping emulsion, which in turn, makes for a delicious cookie texture.”
Q: What’s Your Favorite Sweet Treat to Bake?
A: Our cocoa brownie topped with a chocolate glaze accompanied by a tall glass of cold milk. I also love to serve the brownie as a dessert á la mode with our chocolate or caramel topping and a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.
Eye on the Pie
Prized pies to slice into right nowAh…the good ol’ Olallieberry Pie at Sweetie Pie’s in Placerville—tart, yet sweet, the humble olallieberry lends itself beautifully to this comforting pie that’s all fruit and no filler, making sure you taste these precious deep purple jewels. Accompanied by a well-tended-to crust, one slice of this pie will leave you berry happy indeed. 577 Main Street, Placerville, 530-642-0128, sweetiepies.biz
Grandpa’s Cellar makes an extensive list of “pure old-fashioned apple delights” containing fruit from our very own Apple Hill. Their Traditional Apple Pie can be found at Heyday Café and boasts the finest of fruit that’s carefully prepared and packed into a classic handmade pie that’s both yummy and filling. Heyday Café serves it with caramel sauce, taking it over the edge. 325 Main Street, Placerville, 530-626-9700, heydaycafe.com
It’s a well-known fact that Fat’s Asia Bistro’s Banana Cream Pie is legendary. Why? Because nowhere else will you get such a generous helping of fresh bananas layered in a rich egg custard, sitting in a flaky crust, topped with a mountain of freshly whipped cream. This made-from-scratch pie is so light and refreshing, you’ll have scarfed it down in no time. 2585 Iron Point Road, Folsom, 916-983-1133; 1500 Eureka Road, Roseville, 916-787-3287, fatsasiabistro.com
An Honest Pie is a food truck from Grass Valley that spreads pie fairy dust all over Placer and Sacramento Counties, and beyond. Their Brenda Sue’s Peach Pie is made from scratch, with no processed ingredients and only whole ingredients. It tastes like a warm, sunny day and is one pie you won’t soon forget. 530-990-1303, anhonestpie.com
For something slightly unconventional, try the Berry Sour Cream Pie at A Slice of Goodness in Roseville. This beauty takes the humble pie to another level—one of sophistication and indulgence. Each mouthful makes for a multitude of flavors that satisfy and impress. Slightly sour, lots of sweet, you’ll want to take bite after bite…after bite. 924 Douglas Boulevard, Suite A, Roseville, 916-781-3727
Ikeda’s California Country Market in Auburn starts baking every day at 4 a.m. and dishes out pies by the dozens. They make all kinds, but our favorite is the Strawberry Rhubarb Pie that combines tart rhubarb with sweet, ripe strawberries to orchestrate a wonderful symphony of flavors. The fruit is grown on their farm, making sure the freshest produce is delivered straight from the branch to your belly. 13500 Lincoln Way, Auburn, 530-885-4243, ikedas.com
Buttercup Pantry Restaurant in Placerville is the epitome of country comfort food. Their Southern Pecan Pie is a classic recipe that’s been perfected to a tee. Sink your teeth into buttery pecans in thick custard on a classic crust and slip slowly—and willingly—into pie coma. 222 Main Street, Placerville, 530-621-1320, facebook.com/thebuttercupplacerville
Creative Ice Cream Concoctions
Clever icy combinations sprinkled throughout the regionCereal ‘n’ Milk Sweet Cone from Sweet Dozen Cones, 807 Sutter Street, Folsom, 916-358-9832, sweetdozen.com
You’ll never skip breakfast again once you pick up a Cereal ‘n’ Milk Sweet Cone from Sweet Dozen Cones. Inside their famous sweet, crisp cone is vanilla soft serve topped with your choice of cereal—Fruity Pebbles, Corn Flakes, or Cinnamon Toast Crunch. If you make it all the way through the monstrous cone, you’ll be surprised with a donut hole at the bottom.
The Works from The Parlor Ice Cream Puffs, 1490 Eureka Road, Suite 170, Roseville, 916-781-7833, theparloricecream.com
Imagine a milkshake in your flavor of choice topped with a Nutella-filled donut, limitless toppings, and whip, and you have one of the sweetest, most sinful, ice cream treats around: The Works.
Salted Caramel Macaron Ice Cream Sandwich from Fishology Poke Bar, 2784 East Bidwell Street, Suite 400, Folsom, 916-587-1899, fishologypokebar.com
After you’ve polished off a bowl of delicious poke, don’t forget to treat yourself to one of Fishology’s giant ice cream sandwiches, made with Gunther’s ice cream and Bon Mange macarons. They’re served in a multitude of flavors and a rainbow of colors—all guaranteed to satisfy any and all taste buds.
Goliath Funnel Cake from Fancy Funnel Cakes, 4800 Granite Drive, Suite B-11, Rocklin, 916-259-2482, fancyfunnelcakes.com
If you thought funnel cakes were only served at fairs then think again. Fancy Funnel Cakes takes it a step above by adding ice cream, whipped cream, and toppings (we’re fans of keeping it simple with vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup).
Mint Chip Madness Ponchik from The Niche Ice Cream, 25004 Blue Ravine Road, Suite 109, Folsom, 916-398-9800, thenicheicecream.com
When you can’t decide on one sweet treat, head to The Niche for two: donuts and ice cream! Their Mint Chip Madness Ponchik features a warm donut filled with mint chip ice cream mixed with chocolate-chip-cookie-infused brownies (yes, you read that right!). What’s more, they serve macaron ice cream sandwiches, and single scoops for the purists out there.
Gelati from Rita’s Italian Ice, 1177 Riley Street, Folsom, 916-597-2752; 2230 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 340, Rocklin, 916-367-4878; 960 Sunrise Avenue, Suite 105, Roseville, 916-367-4693, ritasice.com
Rita’s offers almost any frozen treat you can imagine: Italian ice, frozen custard, milkshakes, and more. Try your hand at Gelati—Italian ice topped with frozen custard. Flavor options rotate, so the possibilities are truly endless, but we recommend wild black cherry Italian ice and vanilla frozen custard.
Premium Sweet Crepe from T-Crepes, 1870 Prairie City Road, Suite 300, Folsom, 916-597-2787, t-crepes.com
At T-Crepes, originality is encouraged. Their offerings include a variety of ice creams, and an even greater selection of toppings, including fruit, sauces, cereal, candy, and more. Choose your ice cream (chocolate) and toppings (strawberries, blueberries, and whipped cream), and they’ll roll
S’mores Shaved Snow from Vampire Penguin, 4060 Douglas Boulevard, Suite 102, Granite Bay, 916-912-3076, vampirepenguin.com
Vampire Penguin specializes in shaved snow—a frozen block of ice cream that’s shaved into ribbons making for a creamy yet fluffy treat. Their combos are sure to satisfy every sweet tooth and include dulce de leche, Twix, green tea, and s’mores—the latter which features cookies and cream shaved snow, crushed graham crackers, Oreos, marshmallows, and chocolate syrup.
Deep Dish Delight from Chicago Fire Pizza, 614 Sutter Street, Folsom, 916-353-0140; 310 Palladio Parkway, Folsom, 916-984-0140; 500 North Sunrise Avenue, Roseville, 916-771-2020, chicagofire.com
One of the classic desserts in our area is Chicago Fire’s Deep Dish Delight. Three layers of chocolate chip cookies are topped with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, and a cherry. They say it serves two to three people, but we won’t judge if you finish one on your own.
Ice Cream Explained
A guide to what’s what in the land of frozen delights
Ice Cream: Frozen blend of milk, cream, and sugar, with optional flavorings
Frozen Yogurt: Ice cream with added yogurt
Soft Serve: Ice cream with added air for a smooth texture
Frozen Custard: Ice cream with added egg yolk
Gelato: A lower fat ice cream that’s churned more during production
Sherbet: Frozen blend of fruit, sugar, and milk or cream
Sorbet: Frozen blend of fruit, sugar, and water
Boozy, buzzworthy confections guaranteed to please
Double Shot Espresso Martini
(360 organic vodka, Bailey’s Irish cream, Kahlúa Especial, fresh-brewed espresso), $10 at The Independent, 629 Main Street, Placerville, 530-344-7645, independentplacerville.com
Yatsuhashi (cinnamon-infused Old Forester bourbon, Zaya, house horchata), $13 at Aji Japanese Bistro, 4361 Town Center Boulevard, Suite 111, El Dorado Hills, 916-941-9181, ajibistroedh.com
Black Forest Cake Martini (Ciroc Amaretto vodka, Bailey’s Irish cream, Godiva chocolate liqueur, white crème de cacao, chocolate drizzle, garnished with a filthy black cherry), $11 at Scott’s Seafood, 9611 Greenback Lane, Folsom, 916-989-6711, scottsseafood.net
Vanilla Orange Creamsicle (Fruitlab organic orange liqueur, TRU organic vanilla vodka, muddled orange, citrus essence, soda, candied orange peel), $11 at Back Bistro, 25075 Blue Ravine Road, Suite 150, Folsom, 916-986-9100, backbistro.com
Regal Apple Crisp (Crown Royal Regal Apple, Johnnie Walker Black Label, fresh lemon juice, house-made honey syrup, Creme de Grand Marnier, shaved chocolate, graham cracker rim), $8 at Paul Martin’s American Grill, 1455 Eureka Road, Roseville, 916-783-3600, paulmartinsamericangrill.com/locations/roseville-restaurant
*Sammy’s Drunken Island (Zaya rum, Campari, pineapple juice, lime juice, sugar, garnished with a pineapple popsicle), $10 at The Monk’s Cellar, 240 Vernon Street, Roseville, 916-786-6665,
*Note: Limited number available each day
By Tara Mendanha and Emily Peter