Mind Over Batter
Katie Walter
Smartly located next to Michael Pollack's discount movie theater at Elliot and McClintock, this little bakery is churning out some of the most beautiful cupcakes we have ever seen — and they taste as good as they look. It's run by a husband-and-wife team as sweet as their treats, and the pretty-in-pink décor can be overwhelming, but we will happily ignore it when we're dying for one of their Pink Cadillac cupcakes: moist pink champagne cake with just a touch of sugary buttercream frosting — pure yum. They also make pretty cake pops for those of you who can't handle the entire cupcake experience.
Honey Moon Sweets
Honey Moon Sweets makes custom pies, cakes, and pastries for any occasion. They also have their fingers on the pulse of our sugar-laced arteries, from the cupcake fad to pies galore. Even the latest trend, cake pops, have their tasty place at the dessert table. There's no need to place a special order, either. (Unless you want something along the lines of a custom wedding cake, of course.) Just swing by their storefront to pick up an assortment of sweets. Hit up Honey Moon Sweets before work to snag an assortment of pastries to woo your colleagues, and if those same folks just made your life hell, hit them up after work for a couple of cookies, bars, or pick-me-up pastries. You deserve it.
Cowboy Ciao Wine Bar & Grill
Heather Hoch
We've been known to sup at one end of town, hop in the jalopy, and cruise over to the other end of town just to finish off the night with one or two of Cowboy Ciao's deservedly famous meal-enders. And thanks to pastry chef and dessert diva Country Velador, there isn't a clunker on the menu. The Bread Pudding Overboard gets a lot of buzz (with its brown sugar streusel and American Oak ice cream), but what really knocked us out was the Spumoni Americano — a delicious twist on the classic Italian ice cream topped with strawberry cake batter semifreddo, pistachio marshmallow fluff, and, for good measure, a chocolate pretzel. If that weren't enough, the whole creation sits atop a chocolate shortbread cookie. And that's not all. The White Chocolate Blondie (served with brown butter ice cream), crème fraîche cheesecake (with, gulp, banana butterscotch sauce), house-made doughnuts, ever-changing flavors of birthday cake, and pie! (their exclamation point, not ours) round out what is the best dessert menu in town — if not the galaxy.
Oregano's
Timur Guseynov
If you don't like cookie dough, you can move along. Go on to the next Best of Phoenix entry. Otherwise, come sit next to us. Check it out: a skillet brimming with sizzling hot, half-baked chocolate chip cookie dough, smothered in vanilla ice cream. On second thought, what are you doing sitting so close? Go get your own pizza cookie. Just kidding — this thing will feed a whole tableful of folks, whether you've chosen to indulge first in Oregano's savory offerings or you're just here to drink and snack. In either case, the combination of hot, soft cookie and cold, hard ice cream is not to be missed.

Editor's note: The content of this Best of Phoenix award has changed since its original version.

Shaved-ice treats on a mobile cart — how very Phoenix. The gals of Double D Lite quit their day jobs in the corporate grind to spend more time outside in their cute traveling cart, serving up flavored shaved ice. They also take it up a notch and pour cream on the ice to make it a rich treat that will have you asking, "Did I really eat all of that?" They'll travel anywhere in town to share their icy confections with a crowd. Thinking outside the box? They'll work with you and make you something cold and dreamy.
Cold Stone Creamery
480-295-0182
There's ice cream and then there's Crave ice cream. With an artist's flair for flavors and a purist's position on using only natural and fresh ingredients, Crave owner and founder Shannon Dufresne, who worked under celebrated local sweet-treat queen Tracy Dempsey is all about homemade, stone-cold goodness from start to finish. Starting with a homemade base (something most ice cream joints buy pre-made), Dufresne whips up signature flavors like fresh mint chip, ripe strawberries and cream, roasted banana toffee, and her favorite, salted caramel, then uses a gelato machine for a dense texture that holds the goodness together. Pick up a pint at the Phoenix Public Market or Luci's Healthy Marketplace, or ask for Crave at your favorite restaurant — Dufresne works with several in the Valley.
Cookiez on Mill
This quaint little indie ice cream shop has weathered the corporate abandonment of Mill Ave and has even stayed afloat with a Cold Stone (now Sparky's) Creamery right next door. One bite of the perfectly baked, thin-yet-chewy cookies (made from scratch from the owner's family recipes and baked on-site), and you'll understand how this little shop comes out on top. Pick your favorite cookie, then choose one of the premium ice creams, and squish it all together for an unbeatable treat. We love the cinnamon goodness of the snickerdoodles paired with creamy vanilla ice cream or the chocolate chip cookie dough overload — cookie dough ice cream between two chocolate chip cookies. Cookiez on Mill even has soy-based treats for you crazy vegans. Yum!
Pinnacle Peak Patio
Courtesy of Pinnacle Peak
You're an adult. You drive your own car, you pay for your own place, you go out to bars — but you still use root beer in your floats? Shameful. Grow up and splosh your ice cream in a mug of Inebriator, a thick, rich, chewy stout from Sonoran Brewing Company. With mighty flavors of peanut, molasses, milk chocolate, and hot cocoa, the beer's a perfect pair to vanilla ice cream. Plus, it's, you know, inebriating. Yay, adulthood!
Lee's Cream Liqueur
Jackie Mercandetti
If there are two things on Earth that should elope and never look back, it's ice cream and booze. A true match made in Heaven. Lee's Cream Liqueur has brought Heaven to Earth (Old Town Scottsdale, to be exact) with its boozy concoctions of ice cream and your favorite hard liquors. All your favorites from your, um, drinking days are here: Black Russian with Kahlua, Alabama Slammer with Southern Comfort, Mai-Tai, and even a prickly pear ice cream spiked with tequila. The liquor-laced ice creams are strictly for the 21-and-over crowd but Lee's also offers non-booze-filled flavors, too, like banana Oreo cookie.
Dick's Hideaway
Patricia Escarcega
When Richardson's, one of our favorite Valley restaurants, went up in flames a couple of summers ago, we were heartbroken — not only because we loved Richardson Browne's spicy New Mexican food so much, but because we figured his tiny sister restaurant, Dick's Hideaway, was destroyed, too, as they share the same strip mall on the northwest corner of 16th Street and Bethany Home Road. Thankfully, Dick's was spared, and we found ourselves right back at the copper-plated bar once again, ordering up all our favorites — the wonderful fish tacos, the delicious shrimp quesadillas, the roasted Anaheim chiles filled with twice-baked potato, the bountiful off-the-menu serving of chips, salsa, and guac — that were on Dick's and Richardson's common menu. We love grabbing one of the handful of seats at the bar, sipping on a Tecate with lime, and feeling the heat from the grill (which is just feet in front of you) while talking about the day's events or just zoning out while watching a game on the high-def flat-screen hanging above the grill. When visitors come to town, we take them to Dick's. When we need a dose of Southwestern flavors, we go to Dick's. When we're looking for something tried and true, we go to — you got it — Dick's. See you there.

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