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We're salted caramel fanatics. There's something magical about how a pinch of sea salt adds new dimensions to our sweet and tacky caramel favorites. Bite Me Brownie realizes the harmony of this pairing and offers up one of the best choco-caramel nibbles we've had in ages. Crispy, crunchy chocolate brownie batter is topped with a luscious caramel spread and a sprinkling of fancy sea salt. Every bite is the ideal combination of sweet, salty chocolate. Plus, each brownie comes in its own cute little tin. Portion control and freshness all wrapped up in a ready-to-go container.
El Coquito
Like many of our favorite finds in the Valley, El Coquito is located in a nondescript strip mall, which masks the soulful Puerto Rican food within. Indulge all you want, but make sure to leave room for a bit of something sweet to end it right. At El Coquito, the vanilla flan is that perfect end, a light and eggy custard surrounded by a dark caramel sauce that's not too sweet and has a slightly burnt, nutty flavor. We suggest you pair the flan with the house café con leche, which will truly help push you into sugar-high territory. If you were smart enough to BYOB, you could even add a nip of something special to your coffee to accentuate an already delightful flan.
LaMar's Donuts
Dunkin and the Kreme are well and good, but when we're looking for more than just a fried lump of dough, we look to LaMar's. At LaMar's, they have perfected doughnut artistry with gigantic 'nuts that are bready, soft, and doughy, with a slight crisp and a liberal coating of glaze. Apple fritters, chocolate iced crullers, raspberry-filled Bismarcks, glazed cake doughnuts, buttermilk bars, or the original glazed — whatever your donut of choice is, they've got it. Our favorite is the maple bar, a perfectly sweetened pillow of dough coated in the best maple glaze outside Vermont. We also recommend the cinnamon bun, a pastry so huge you should split it with someone else. That way you can justify a second doughnut (fairly) guilt-free. Variety is the spice of life, after all!
Beckett's Table
Jackie Mercandetti Photo
We like them fruit-filled; we like them filled with nuts or cream. We just like pie. Chow Bella, New Times' food blog, likes pie so much we sponsored a Pie Social last November on Roosevelt Row. A last-minute entry in the social's celebrity chef contest was Chef Justin Beckett's fig and pecan pie. His combination of fruit and nut filling took the prize for best taste, most creative, and most memorable. We liked Justin Beckett's pie so much we had to mention it again. Turns out, Southern, Cajun, and Texas bakers have led the way, dressing up pecan pie with an addition of figs for some time. Now, Arizona has a place on the pie map — specifically, at Beckett's Table, where Beckett adds a scoop of cream cheese and citrus zest ice cream, enhancing the balanced texture of the smooth and crunchy slice, which already was a winner.
Bertha's Cafe
Forget about their awesome sandwiches — we'll make a special trip to Bertha's just for the homemade cookies. Beth Goldwater and her team are busy baking up rich chocolate chip, peanut butter, and — our personal favorite — the Sinfully Good cookies. The mix of oatmeal, chocolate, and other deliciousness will make you crave them just as much as we do. Okay, so every sandwich does come with a tiny chocolate chip cookie — but that will only make you want to spring for the full-size version or grab a bag of the miniature white chocolate double chocolate cookies to cram in your face on the drive home.
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.

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