Dessert makes a welcome finish to a meal any time of year, but during the colder months, cravings for sugary carbs are unstoppable. And what would the holidays be without a little extra food indulgence? Candies, cakes, ice cream, cookies, pies and other sweets can only tempt you—and a sweet cocktail makes a good winter warmer upper, too! Plymouth has an abundance of delightful decadence. Save room for dessert!
COOKIE STENCILS AND FROSTING
As owner of Plymouth-based Gateaux Inc., Robin Martin is no stranger to the lavish world of desserts. Her wedding cakes are meticulously decorated, some with stencils. Martin decided to share her knowledge and now sells her stencils online. Cookies are prime contenders for stenciling. Just mix the kit’s frosting according to directions, and dip your cookie. Once dry, apply a stencil sheet and smear on a contrasting frosting color. Peel the stencil off, and voilà—a designer cookie is born. “The [stenciled cookies] are so much more impressive than the effort that goes into them,” says Robin Martin, who calls herself the head “evil cake genius.” Full picture tutorials and step-by-step instructions guide your way to success. Martin’s stencils cover a full calendar of events, from birthdays to holidays and everything in between. $24.95 and up.
JINGLE BERRY MARTINI
Creekside Lounge, Crowne Plaza Minneapolis West
Sometimes a little liquid holiday cheer is in order. The jingle berry martini pours seasonal festivity into a glass. You can’t go wrong with schnapps, cream de cocoa, vodka and cranberry juice, in a chocolate swirled martini glass. This raspberry cocktail is the brainchild of John Wirkes, bar manager. The seasonal drink has “a very berry flavor, with a hint of chocolate in the background,” Wirkes says. $9.
MAGICAL CHRISTMAS TREE BOUQUET
Fruit makes a healthy dessert, and Edible Arrangement’s artful presentation is enticing. The magical Christmas tree bouquet is new this holiday season: A Christmas tree decorated with fancy skewered fruit cut outs and chocolate truffles grows out of a Frosty the Snowman top hat. Evergreen branches are made of honeydew melon. Grape kabobs, cantaloupe balls, pineapple stars and strawberries complete the look. “The arrangements are stunningly joyous, so you will wow your guests,” manager Hillary Knueppel says. The snowman container is a nice keepsake after the fruit and candy is gone. Small, $89; regular, $119; large, $149.
CINNAMON ICE CREAM
Honey & Mackies
For an ice cream loaded with cinnamon spice and everything nice, head to Honey & Mackie’s. The cinnamon ice cream is a stand out among a rotating selection of 24 flavors and ranks as a “sleeper favorite.” Taste the difference careful small-batch preparation makes: Pure Madagascar bourbon vanilla and flecks of cinnamon lightly permeate the hard ice cream. “Everyone who tries it loves it, but they don’t necessarily try it first,” owner Amy Albert says. Consumption tip: The cold creamy texture “enhances the flavor of pie,” Albert says. Kids, $3; single scoop, $4; double scoop, $4.75; pint, $6; quart, $9.
Peg’s Countryside Café
Pies have a homey, comforting quality that almost makes it all right to have a second slice or, gasp, even a third. If it is a sinfully sweet and delicious pecan pie from Peg’s Countryside Café, you might be compelled to overindulge. “Really the secret is in the crust,” kitchen manager Julie Halverson says. A thick caramel richness tastes sweet, but not too sweet. Pecan halves—not pieces—bake in the filling for a “really pretty top,” she says. For an appropriately substantial grand finale, add a dollop of lightly sweetened homemade whipped cream. Hurry, pecan pies are a seasonal treat that can sell out fast. $13–$17.
Fancy swirls of cake, cream and frosting dazzle the eye: The yule logs, like their traditional Bûche de Noël cousins, look pretty enough to serve as centerpiece. Go for a white “birch”—made with white chocolate—or the more popular chocolate. With either, you have a choice of delicious fillings: dark chocolate fudge or grasshopper-mint custard, paired with the richness of Bavarian cream. Made fresh, the delicious yule logs have a bit of whimsy in their rustic bark-covered appearance. $38.95–$76.
Pour on the Kringle! Wisconsin’s famed frosted kringle pastry goes liquid and 30 proof—nutty and nice, but only slightly naughty. Hailing from Middleton, Wis., Kringle Cream stays true to its origins with a creamy, buttery taste. The sweet rum concoction pairs well with cookies, cakes and other sugary holiday foods. Enjoy straight up, on the rocks or in clever cocktails like the coffee-laced Wisconsin Breakfast. “It’s great after a meal and great after a bottle of wine on the table—it won’t push you over the top,” manager Patrick Chapman says. $21.99.
Lunds & Byerlys
At holiday time, fudge is almost mandatory, and those tidy little cubes are all too easy to grab and nibble. “Uphold those holiday traditions without all the work,” says Amy Fouks, bakery category manager at Lunds & Byerlys. This crowd-pleasing selection is as good as Grandma’s scratch-made fudge. Find your favorite among the traditional chocolate, chocolate walnut, praline, red velvet, cookies and cream, salted turtle, and mint. Here comes the fudge in seven irresistible flavors, and that is a lucky number for your taste buds. One pound, $11.99.