Best of NH 2014 Desserts, Ice Cream Stands and Bakeries
We hope you saved room for dessert. There's something for every sweet tooth here - Greek pastries, ice cream, fudge, cake, cookies and much more.
From left: Macarons from Editor's Pick Moochie's Macarons, a selection of pastries from Readers' Poll Winner Popovers, Editor's Pick Popsicle from The Juicery and Editor's Pick coconut cake from the Black Forest Café. Photos by Susan Laughlin.
Baby Babka: It’s not easy to resist the temptation of an entire babka at your disposal. Small Batch Baking Company has solved the problem with personal-size packaging available online. Each bag contains only a few mini babkas in a variety of flavors from traditional chocolate to chocolate cappuccino to blueberry cinnamon that are reminiscent of the Old World variety made by Jewish grandmothers everywhere.
Chocolate Animals: They’re so adorable you don’t want to eat them, but the chocolate is so good you do. The signature mice and penguin chocolates from L.A. Burdick in Walpole have become known far and wide, enough so that Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook fame had the mice (which come with long tails in a choice of colors) as favors at his wedding. Inside the cute creatures is whipped ganache, a variety of fillings, and toasted almonds for the ears (mice) and wings (penguins).
Coconut Cake: If you love coconut, you’ll adore the rich and sumptuous Coconut Cake at Black Forest Café in Amherst. The frosting, the layers, the layers between the layers are all fully embedded with the essence of tropical coconut. Seriously, it’s hard to stop at one slice.
Coffee Éclairs: People have been known to stand in front of the glass case at Finesse Pastries, mouths watering, unable to decide which gorgeous French confection they want. We’ll help you narrow it down by suggesting the coffee éclair (they also come in classic and chocolate). The rich, coffee-flavored custard tucked in a airy pâté à choux dough makes for a light but satisfying treat. We promise that you haven’t had a real éclair until you’ve tried the one whipped up by Chef Chelsey Erickson at her Manchester bakery.
Donuts: It started in 2007 with an eBay purchase of a mini-donut maker and taste tests by the neighborhood kids. Then, what was meant as a summer family venture quickly turned into a full-fledged, year-round business with a brand new, high-capacity donut maker. The reason for the quick growth of the Northfield-based Ian’s Wicked Good Donuts? The donuts are wicked good. (The company was also smart enough to go mobile, taking a donut maker directly to a niche market, campgrounds.)
Fudge: The Mill Fudge Factory in Bristol can make a fudge convert out of anyone. If you’re one of those who thinks fudge is too sweet and cloying, just try something like the Pure New Hampshire Maple (made with NH maple syrup) or the Snowy Moose with coconut and dark chocolate. All of their artisan fudge varieties are sweet, sure, but they’re not too sweet. It’s a perfect balance. They also make “spirited” fudge with whisky or Baileys Irish Cream.
Greek Pastries: jajaBelle’s owner and UNH grad Jessica knows a thing or two about authentic Greek pastries — when growing up in Nashua, where her bakery and café is now located, her great aunts operated a Greek bakery from their home. Now she continues the family tradition, whipping up treats like baklava, finikia, kourambiethes and more. You can also order cooked spanakopita and tiropita or pick them up to bake at home.
Macarons: Often confused with macaroons (a chewy coconut cookie), these delicate French delights are not easy to make. Finding someone who truly understands how to create actual dainty macarons is no easy task, so we were delighted to come across the wonderful Moochie’s Macarons. You can contact Moochie’s owner Nina through her website to place an order or check out the list of stores that sell her confections.
Popsicle: Just because Popsicles are a brand that became a proprietary eponym doesn’t mean you still have to eat them. The frozen things on a stick at The Juicery in Portmouth are more highly evolved with flavors like blueberry-lemon, raspberry-hibiscus and watermelon-mint. You can find them at their Hanover Street shop or, if it’s a hot day, they may be peddling them from a cart on Market Street. Slurp City, here we come.
White Mountain Bakery: Vintage Baking Company in Glen covers all the bases from flawless baguettes to savory pastries to chocolate croissants. Each day brings a different set of specialty breads too — five-grain sourdough, Anadama, fruit and nut sourdough and more. A favorite sweet is the apfel streusel. Heck, if they can spell it right, it must be good. In season they use local apples, while eggs and dairy are sourced locally too. Grab a locally roasted espresso to-go before a hike.