The Valley's sugar game is strong. We are graced with stellar options in everything from ice cream to chocolate to late-night donuts. Here are seven of the Valley's best sweets — and places to find them — as featured in 2017's Best of Phoenix.
Best Eye Candy: Le Dinersaur
Like all things indie and cool, we first discovered Olivia Girard's Le Dinersaur through Instagram. The self-taught baker's geometric pastries carry as much appeal in front of the camera as they do on the palate. Among some of the more photographed and favorite are her hybrid churover (a churro popover) and her diamond-shaped, herb-infused shortbread.
Best Candy Shop: Sweeties
It's a good thing Sweeties wasn't around when we were kids, because this place would have blown our minds — not to mention our pocket money and our teeth. Think of a candy you love now, or loved in your youth. Go ahead. Now go to Sweeties and see if they carry it. They will. Taffy in pretty much every imaginable flavor, color-coded candy. Candy shaped like rocks and LEGOs. What are you waiting for?
Best Mexican Candy Shop: Dulceria Importaciones Valentinas
It's hard to be in a sour mood when you're at Dulceria Importaciones Valentinas. This family-run shop is more than just a candy shop — it's a full-fledged party emporium. The store is festooned with brightly colored piñatas and balloons at every turn, and the inventory runs the gamut from the classics — tamarind-flavored lollipops and mazapan — to the latest candy and snack fads imported from Mexico.
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Best Ice Cream: Zak's Guatemalan
If you don't like chocolate, skip ahead to the next category. (Also, what's wrong with you?) If you do like chocolate, you are in luck. The folks from Zak's and the folks from Super Chunk — two sweet shops (literally) in Scottsdale — have teamed up to make the richest, creamiest, most decadent dark chocolate ice cream we've ever tasted. You can get it at either shop, and we recommend you venture out to both.
Best Novelty Ice Cream: Creamistry
We'll admit that the whole liquid nitrogen ice cream thing is probably a gimmick. If so, count us in on all the gimmicks, because Creamistry ice cream tastes fresh, sweet, and rich. There are many flavor options and mix-ins, and you can even get it dairy-free. This is something we can get used to.
Best Doughnut: Sweet Cream Donuts
Sweet and fresh, light and delicious: That's what we look for in a doughnut. Something simple, something to pair perfectly with a cup of coffee to start the day off right. That's why we like Sweet Cream Donuts, located in southwest Phoenix. There are plenty of varieties available, from long johns, old-fashioneds, glazed, frosted with and without sprinkles, cinnamon rolls, cream- and jelly-filled, and more.
Best Late-Night Doughnut: Arizona Donut Co.
The glowing sign of Arizona Donut Co. is like a beacon in the night, and the lobby — staying well-lit at all hours of the night — seems like it's too good to be true. The 24-hour Tempe doughnut shop has a colorful array behind the glass, allowing you to look and choose your own toasted coconut, apple crumb, blueberry powder, raspberry cream, or double chocolate — among others — to take home or eat on the spot.