With healthy and nutritious eating on trend these days (kale, anyone?), we’d be lying if we said we didn’t crave a sweet morsel of candy goodness every now and then. And although a store-bought peanut butter cup or chocolate bar may make for a temporary fix, a variety of Greater Phoenix candy shops offer so much more.
Here’s a look at four shops guaranteed to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Located just north of Central Avenue and Camelback Road next door to the uber-cool, oh-so hip Windsor, is Churn, a charming ice cream shop that screams good, old-fashioned fun.
Sure, you can have scoops of homemade ice cream, a frosty milkshake or fizzy float (honestly, who can resist on a hot, summer day?). Or if baked treats are more your thing, Churn bakes pastries and cookies fresh every day. But if it’s candy you’re after, their wide selection will make you feel like, well, a kid in a candy store.
From Necco Wafers and Big League Chew, to candy buttons, gumballs and atomic fireballs, nostalgic favorites are what you’ll find. They even have throwback toys and novelties like plastic Army men, wax lips and yo-yos.
Candy and toys? Churn, you just made our day!
Fluff It Gourmet Marshmallows
First there was artisanal cheese, then came artisanal chocolates, and now we have artisanal…wait for it…marshmallows. Yes, the overly processed, store-bought marshmallow is making way for a new batch, handcrafted from scratch, hand cut and creatively decorated.
Once such shop singing the praises of the gourmet marshmallow is Fluff It Marshmallows in Gilbert. Owners Tricia Medina and Hazel Arce started their business in 2013 after Medina won an office cooking contest for her homemade marshmallow. The pair began selling at farmers’ markets and a year later they opened their shop, which features a selection of gourmet marshmallows ranging in flavors from lemon bar and orange creamsicle, to strawberry banana split.
And what would a marshmallow shop be without s’mores? Fluff It offers ready-to-eat s’mores made with a graham cracker bowl, as well as a build-your-own s’mores bar. Pick your marshmallow flavor and add toppings like berries, brownies, cookies, caramel sauce and more.
Super Chunk Sweets & Treats
No stranger to Phoenix’s pastry scene is executive pastry chef Country Velador, whose decadent creations have graced the menus of Cowboy Ciao, Kazimierz World Wine Bar and Counter Intuitive. In 2013, Country and her husband Sergio, who has been in the restaurant industry for 20 years, opened their sweet shop in Old Town Scottsdale, much to the delight of dessert lovers all over Greater Phoenix.
Naturally, everything that leaves the Super Chunk doors is handmade in-house and from scratch with the best ingredients possible. Signature selections include chocolate bacon caramel corn, house made licorice made with fennel, anise, and green chartreuse, mesquite chocolate chip cookies, and blue cheese and fig caramels.
Earlier this year, the Veladors added a menu of pastries that includes croissants; kouign amann (pronounced queen-ah-mahn), a cake made with bread dough and layers of butter and sugar; and canelé, a French pastry made in a copper mold, featuring a custard center and caramelized crust.
Tracy Dempsey Originals
Since 2009, pastry chef Tracy Dempsey has provided stunning, mouth-watering desserts to Greater Phoenix restaurants such as Citizen Public House, Crudo and Lon’s at the Hermosa Inn. And for the longest time, fans could only enjoy her creations at restaurant clients or by picking up a package of her famous confections at such retailers as Sphinx Date Ranch, Changing Hands Bookstore and the Bodega Market at FnB Restaurant.
This year, however, Dempsey opened a permanent location in Tempe, where loyal fans can now pick up the pastries and fresh-baked goods she’s known for, from canelé and cakes, to shortbreads and her famous Original Bacon Pecan Brittle.
Dempsey originally made her signature creation when she was pastry chef at Cowboy Ciao. Wanting to add texture to the restaurant’s bread pudding, she added the brittle as garnish, with a scoop of bacon ice cream. Before long, she began making the brittle with applewood smoked bacon and pecans, and the rest, they say, is history.
And because brittle is where it all started, Dempsey now offers an apricot pistachio brittle and the Don’t Cry for Me, habanero peanut brittle, made with a dash of Homeboy’s Hot Sauce’s habanero sauce.
This is part of a series of guest posts from our friends at Bite Magazine that explore the food and drink scene of Greater Phoenix.