Prickly Pear Soft Serve at Topo301 North Gilbert Road, Gilbert
The soft serve ($2.50) is almost irresistible at Topo, even if you’re not a dessert person. Choices are vanilla, prickly pear, or twist. Um, prickly pear, please. What results is a tall spiral of mauve in a cute little cone. It’s so pretty it pains you to take a bite, but that bite is heavenly. The fruity soft serve is incredible to the last crunchy bite of the cone’s base. Dips are a fun accompaniment at 50 cents a pop. Choose from chocolate, lime, or prickly pear again. However, the soft serve is good — and on a hot day, probably messy — enough to walk away sans dip.
The Red Velvet at Lucky Donuts2510 West Thunderbird Road
Though Lucky Donuts packs a punch for doughnut fiends, that red velvet flavor will truly steal your heart. It's a cakey cut above, all moist and crumbly with just the right amount of glaze — plain delicious and totally dunkable. It’s considered one of the best doughnuts in town.
Ube Bubble Waffles at Mango Rabbit1250 East Apache Boulevard, #112, Tempe
This little tea shop, with the huge teddy bear welcoming you upon entry, is ready to introduce you to your next favorite dessert trend — fluffy bubble waffles. Try the Ube Bubble Waffles, with ube (a popular kind of purple yam) sourced directly from the Philippines, or their Rose Bubble Waffles cooked with rose petals that have soaked for 15 hours.
John & Yoko at New Wave Market7120 East Sixth Avenue, #20, Scottsdale
At New Wave Market, time lags as your fork cuts through the layers, past the craggy honeycomb candy topper, down the dense yet fluffy honey cake smartly soaked in cinnamon tres leches — as evidenced by the glistening sides. Then it travels through the mascarpone whipped cream that will make all other whipped creams bland in comparison, and down the final stratum of syrup-soaked cake. The milk and honey flavors swirl and explode, a whirlwind of creamy and crunchy and spongy. No way could The Beatles bemoan this one. Yes, this is one of the best desserts in the Valley.
Chocolate Walnut at Coyote Oaties Cookie Shop7005 North 58th Avenue, Glendale
Set among the antique shops, and part little shop itself, Coyote Oaties Cookie Shop has all your sugar-fix fixtures in Old Towne Glendale. There’s coffee, soda, a small selection of ice cream, sundaes, Italian soda, and its specialty, oatmeal cookies. But don’t let the oatmeal part bore you: These are monster cookie chunks packed with candy and fruit. The chocolate walnut has fair amounts of sweetness (from the chocolate), crunchiness (from the walnut), and chew (from the oatmeal). If you had to choose a flavor here, this one comes recommended.