Best of NH 2012 Desserts, Ice Cream Stands and Bakeries

We hope you saved room for dessert because we've got some great stuff from regional ice cream stand favorites and pastries to whoopie pie cupcakes and artisan chocolate.

Readers' Poll
Editor's Picks

Bakery Bread: At Bread & Chocolate in Concord the selection of homemade breads is endless. Pick up a sandwich on this bread and you've got the perfect lunch. (603) 228-3330

Bakery Bread (Local Chain): Some call Me & Ollie's "New England's Panera." Freshly baked every day, their bread is the perfect pair to a panini or a breakfast sandwich.

Bakery Bread (National Chain): Panera is known for its freshly baked bread. Try a piece of their baguette with your soup or bring home a whole loaf of your choice of bread.

Bakery Bread (Regional Chain): Made with all natural ingredients, the bread at When Pigs Fly in Portsmouth will remind you of the home cooked bread your grandmother always used to make.

Brownies: All the pastries at Popovers on the Square are mind-blowing, but the brownies take the cake.

Cakes: Specializing in incredible wedding and special occasions cakes, Jacque's Fine European Pastries in Suncook will deliver you a scrumptious and beautiful cake for your special day.

Cakes (Regional Chain): Known for their tortes, Frederick's Pastries always delivers a delicious, personalized cake.

Chocolatier: Looking to feed a chocolate fix? Or just looking for something sweet for your sweetie? Head on down to Van Otis Chocolates in Manchester for something fun like a chocolate champagne bottle or indulge with their classic fudge.

Cookies: Black Forest Café & Bakery in Amherst offers fine pastries for home or at the café. Look for specials like pumpkin cookies in the fall!

Cupcakes: If you want a treat from Manchester's Queen City Cupcakes go early and prepare to wait in line. Once they sell out in the late afternoon they close up shop.

Dessert Café: With dozens of options of delicious sweets, Popovers on the Square in Portsmouth will always leave you feeling satisfied.

Drinking chocolate from Dancing Lion

*Drinking Chocolate: This is not Ovaltine. Rich Tango-Lowy searches the world for the best cacao for the bon bons featured in his new shop, Dancing Lion Chocolate, on Elm Street in Manchester. After you select a perfect jewel of a chocolate, take the time to sit in the café and enjoy a bowl or cup of his drinking chocolate flavor of the day. It is just fine chocolate in melted hot water, but rich in flavors of the world.

*Fruit Pies: If you don't have time to bake and pie is on the menu head over to Tamaja Pies in Windham. This new bakery makes a wonderful hand-rolled crust for a variety of fillings, most seasonal and made with fresh fruit.

*Homebaked Cookies: Robie's Country Store in Hooksett is part museum, part store and part deli. Owned and run by the Robie Family from 1887 to 1997, it reopened under new ownership and continues to offer old-time charm. Try one of their comforting and freshly baked cookies to complete the experience.

At Morano Gelato

*Hot Chocolate: You can never be too rich, too hot or too chocolatey! When the air turns crisp, thoughts turn to hot chocolate. You can't find a thicker, richer or better cup than the Italian-style hot chocolate at Morano Gelato. Chef Morgan Morano's version of the cold-weather classic blends three different European chocolates with milk from McNamara Dairy. Try it with a dab of whipped cream, affogato-style (hot chocolate over the gelato) or with a shot of espresso.

Pastries: When all of the pastries and desserts are homemade, it's hard not to love Popovers on the Square in Portsmouth.

Pastries (Regional Chain): Frederick's Pastries takes the time to make their pastries look just as good as they taste. Now with three locations in Amherst, Bedford and North Andover, Mass., Frederick's Pastries is a great place to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Pies: The Pie Guy in Salem offers a large selection of fillings. The apple cream pie is delicious and can be bought in local Stop & Shops.

*Ridiculously Large Ice Cream: At Lago's Lone Oak in Rochester there's no such thing as "small." Well, there is, but that's not what you're really getting. The "baby" portion is really a medium, the "small" is really a large, the "large" is more like an extra large and the actual "extra large" size on the menu is ridiculously huge. You might even be inspired to call it "ginormous." The thing is, you're going to want to eat it all. There's a reason Lago's is celebrating its 50th season – this creamy, homemade ice cream is made right on the premises with fresh ingredients and just the right amount of interesting mix-ins.

*Shaker Donuts: What's not to love about these yeast-raised donuts based on the original Shaker recipe? The secret is mashed potatoes. Get 'em cooked fresh to order for brunch at Greenwood's at the Canterbury Shaker Village.

*Waffle Cookies: You won't waffle over Doodle's authentic liège-style Belgian waffle cookies with just enough sugar and spice to retain crispness and those neat gridiron pockets. The Belgian pearl sugar is imported to give you the real street vendor version.

*Whoopie Pie Cupcake: What's better than a classic New England whoopie pie? Answer: One that's been turned into a cupcake. Swan Chocolates in Merrimack has married these two desserts into sweet perfection with its Whoopie Pie Cupcake. While this cupcake is certainly big enough to share with a friend, you won't want to. Order one from the counter, curl up in one of the cafe's comfy chairs in the Cake Lounge upstairs and indulge in this moist, just-sweet-enough dessert.

Regional Ice Cream Stands

Concord Area Ice Cream: With over 40 flavors, there's something for everyone at Johnson's Dairy Bar in Northwood.

Dartmouth/Lake Sunapee Region Ice Cream: With flavors like Deer Tracks and maple walnut, The Quack Shack in Sunapee is a classic and delicious New England ice cream parlor. (603) 763-3084

Great North Woods Region Ice Cream: The enormous banana bucket at Pittsburg's Moose Alley Cones will cure even the strongest ice cream cravings.

Lakes Region Ice Cream: A trip to Weirs Beach wouldn't be complete without a stop at Kellerhaus. Bonus points if you can drop by on $1 cone Wednesday.

Manchester Area Ice Cream: It's not a legend for nothing. The huge portions and wide variety of flavors at Manchester's Puritan Backroom will please any ice cream fan.

Monadnock Region Ice Cream: Kimball Farm in Jaffrey boasts a country store, mini golf, bumper boats and more in addition to great ice cream.

Nashua Area Ice Cream: Open since 1940, Hayward's Ice Cream Stand in Nashua promises three new flavors-peanut butter Snickers, Reese's Pieces and watermelon sherbet- for summer 2012.

Salem Area Ice Cream: Derry's Moo's Place Homemade Ice Cream makes all of their super premium ice cream onsite, and bakes many of their own fillings too.

Seacoast Region Ice Cream: At Annabelle's Natural Ice Cream in Portsmouth you can rest assured your treat was made with high-quality natural ingredients. Yum.

White Mountains Region Ice Cream: Trails End in North Conway is the most delicious way to end a great nature hike. (603) 356-0470

Categories: Best of NH Winners