Sugar Rush

3 Over-the-Top Desserts to Sweeten Your Weekend

A banana cream pie version of the Show Stopper.
A banana cream pie version of the Show Stopper. Courtesy of Hotel Valley Ho
Desserts are usually an area of food where you don't want to mess with a classic. There's nothing wrong with a doughnut, milkshake, or ice cream sandwich, right?

Why fix flavors that aren't broken?

These three spots didn't "fix" the flavors; they souped them all the way up. And yes, we're glad they did. Each of these spots takes a familiar dessert to a new level, and biting into any would make your weekend.

A Lesley Knope waffle sandwich (left) with strawberry and bourbon caramel toffee crunch ice cream, and The Dough Melt (right), a glazed doughnut stuffed with the shop's bright blue Cookie Monster ice cream.
Patricia Escarcega
Waffle Sandwich at Novel Ice Cream

Brandon Douglas, one of the owners of Novel Ice Cream in Phoenix, speaks about ice cream in the language of art and connoisseurship. He describes it as "a medium where you can explore and play with flavors." You can feel the passion as soon as you step into his shop. Novel specializes in small-batch, artisanal ice cream, made locally in collaboration with a professional ice cream maker. Some of the shop's more unconventional flavors include Honey Lavender, Bourbon Caramel Toffee Crunch (a crowd favorite), and Fat Elvis, featuring peanut butter, banana, and bacon. Don't miss the waffle sandwich or dough melt, which elevate the humble ice cream sandwich to a new level of sweet deliciousness.

Peaches and Cream Show Stopper
Courtesy of Hotel Valley Ho
Show Stopper Shake at Café ZuZu

The majestic concoction known as the Show Stopper arrives on its own tray at Hotel Valley Ho’s Café ZuZu. An edible straw is plunged into this cream dream, which completely changes on a near-weekly basis. New versions cycle through themes based on seasonal fruit, decadent desserts, or timely specialties like a chocolate shake showcased when the Mars Candy folks visited the hotel. The Show Stopper is both lovely and overwhelming to look at; your teeth almost feel an ache upon its head-turning arrival.

click to enlarge
A pink Pop Rocks doughnut is a highlight of this year's fair eats.
Jim Louvau
Pop Rocks Doughnut at the Arizona State Fair

We were going to opt for a bacon doughnut, but the nuclear pink glow of the Pop Rocks doughnut hooked us. A sticky circle of icing tops the doughnut, crowned with a generous dusting of Pop Rocks. The doughnut offers no real resistance, just pure give with a trace of sponginess. Those soft textures jive with the in-mouth fireworks of the Pop Rocks, which build a layer of texture and crackle on and on and on, looping into your next bite. Bonus: The doughnut was ready within 10 seconds of ordering. Magic stuff.
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Chow Bella