Aaron Eckburg's 5 Best Desserts in Metro Phoenix

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The countdown to Best of Phoenix is on. Mark your calendar: This year's issue will be on newsstands September 26. What better way to warm up than by asking some local "experts" to list their own personal bests? This week Aaron Eckburg, co-owner of go lb. salt -- "Arizona's original salt bar" -- takes a walk on the sweet side and shares his favorite desserts in metro Phoenix.

By Aaron Eckburg

My Tas1r2 is so turned on! It's not something you're likely to hear on a first date . . . or any date for that matter. But by the time the dessert course rolls around, you'll know if it's true. No, that's not a typo or a double entendre -- it's the name of the gene responsible for our ability to sense sweetness. It's the very same gene that is switched off in domestic cats, and the primary reason you won't be smelling chocolate cake breath in place of tuna on your beloved feline anytime soon.

So what are our top five favorite sweets/places to go when we want to give our Tas1r2 a good workout?

See also: - S'Mores Smackdown: Frank & Albert's vs. Beckett's Table - Sharon Salomon's 5 Best Spots for Fried Chicken in Metro Phoenix - go lb. salt Launches Salt Education Series in Gilbert This Spring

White Chocolate, Cranberry & Orange Cookie Cake from Aunt Ninny's Cookies Let's start with the humble cookie. There's just nothing quite as tasty as a perfectly soft, moist and slightly chewy chocolate chip cookie. If you have one of those post-kindergarten cookies and milk snack cravings then Aunt Ninny's Cookies is hands down one of the best options in town. Our personal favorite? The White Chocolate, Cranberry & Orange Cookie Cake. Yes, we know chocolate isn't really white, but the oversized cookie cake (think the size of a large cheesecake) that's still so perfectly moist that you won't even think about the white chocolate.

Honey and Blue Cheese Ice Cream from Sweet Republic Cookies and ice cream always go together and if you want the perfect blend of sweet and savory in an ice cream, then get yourself over to Sweet Republic for the Honey & Blue Cheese ice cream. You may never have expected to hear yourself say, "I'm craving blue cheese ice cream," but that's about to change.

Bacon S'Mores from Beckett's Table It might be too hot for a campfire, but that doesn't mean you can't indulge your inner child this summer with a S'more that's sure to leave you wanting more! For us, that means we can't get enough of the Bacon S'mores at Beckett's Table. Better yet, this is one more proof that the idea of bacon in everything hasn't totally jumped the shark. Then again the house made marshmallow and chocolate dipping the bacon probably has a lot to do with that!

Bavarian Cream Pastries from Karl's Quality Bakery Black Forest Cake from The Baker's Daughter Our last stop to get your Tas1r2 groove on is a two-fer. Meet Karl's Bakery & The Baker's Daughter. On one side of the house are some of the most delicious pastries you'll ever sink your teeth into. If you want to drive your sweet tooth to the brink, try one of Karl's home made Bavarian cream pastries. With a chocolate topping and rich house made Bavarian cream filling, they are so rich and sweet, I reach my limit at two (and that's pushing it). On the other side you'll find pure C12H22O11 goodness in the form of a Black Forest Cake that just screams decadent when you carve up a piece studded with those house soaked Kirsch cherries!

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