Dessert First

9 Best Desserts in Metro Phoenix

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See also: - "Dessert First" Archives - Cronut™ Battle: Herb Box vs. Karl's Quality Bakery

Flourless Chocolate Cake by Francesca Bianco

Erase all previous memories of boring, flavorless flourless chocolate cakes and sink your teeth into this version by Mama Bianco. It's extremely fudgy without being too dense, and it's soft and moist, almost mousse-like but heavier. The rich and sophisticated flavor is thanks to 80 percent dark Valrhona chocolate, which pairs perfectly with the slightly tangy, mostly sweet Meyer lemon marmalade. This cake is regularly available at Pizzeria Bianco, Pane Bianco, and Trattoria Bianco.

Ice Cream at Windsor/Churn

You could think of Churn as a separate establishment run by super-restaurateurs Upward Projects (Postino, Federal Pizza). Or, you could say that the desserts at Windsor are so addictively delicious that they warrant their own storefront. Either way, if you manage to drive past this unstoppable duo without stopping for a cocktail and a bowl of ice cream, you have a monk's sense of willpower. There's not a bad flavor in this ice cream case, but the most popular is rightfully butter pecan -- so rich it's like licking melted butter off your fingers, with the added bonus of candied pecans. To really wow your palate, mix it with Vietnamese coffee ice cream and top with toffee pieces.

Push-Pops at Bink's Midtown

Childhood-inspired desserts will always be a hit, with recent trends including Pop-Tart-like pastries and Hostess-style cakes. Kevin Binkley and the culinary team at Bink's Midtown has their own throwback on the menu: Push-Pops. The flavors are changed up pretty frequently, but the concept remains the same: ice cream layered with sweet sauces and packaged in a plastic tube, with something like granola for your dipping pleasure. Don't expect flavors like bubblegum and cherry. Instead, you'll find butternut squash with chocolate and tamarind, or chai tea with pineapple chutney and carrot cake crumble. This is one playful sweet treat that grownups will enjoy just as much as the little munchkins.

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Dominique Chatterjee