With my sweet tooth, I had to do a separate list for the sugary treats we’ve eaten. We’ve tried out a lot of amazing sweets this year and it was really hard to narrow it down to a list of top ten, but here they are:
#10 Vanilla Bean Angel Cake with Matcha Frosting from Michele Coulon Dessertier
I balked when I first saw the $10 price tag for a slice of cake. But then I took a bite and it was like eating a fluffy, light cloud. I haven’t yet tried the popular Gateau Aileen cake, but I plan on doing it in 2014. I anticipate it will be even better than the vanilla bean angel cake.
During my 24 hour visit to Ohio, I had to stop in to try the famed Jeni’s ice cream and it lived up to the hype. If you’ve only tried the packed frozen ones that are available at some supermarkets, those don’t do the ice cream justice. At the shop, the ice cream is soft, incredibly creamy, rich, and bursting with flavor. My favorite was the banana cajeta which actually tasted of fresh bananas rather than just banana flavored.
#8 Mochi Donuts from Mochi Cream
These donut shaped mochi imported from Japan are not only super cute, but quite tasty too and come in seven different flavors.
This store makes a Japanese-style of crepes that puts a smile on my face. The crepes contain mochi flour, adding a chewy texture to the thin, crisp crepe. It can be stuffed with ice cream, fresh fruit, mochi and more.
#6 Black Sesame Snow Ice at Blockheads Shavery
I didn’t think I would ever like a snow shaved ice place more than the Taiwanese Class 302 chain, but Blockheads is a really close second. I’m so excited they just opened a second location in SGV. The ice here is super soft and they have a fantastic black sesame flavor, which you can’t get at Class 302.
I love almost everything at this modern bakery. The desserts are beautiful, creative and use unusual ingredients. The flavors are multidimensional and not too sweet. Two of my favorites are the pear twice baked croissant and hazelnut financier.
#4 Tres Leches Doughnut from Doughnut Plant
I adored all the doughnuts we tried at Doughnut Plant but the tres leches was definitely the standout. I can’t think of my NYC trip without thinking about that melt-in-your-mouth donut.
#3 Cronut from Dominique Ansel
I was so happy that the real Cronut did not disappoint. It was amazingly crisp, flaky, with a multitude of layers. The cream filling brought it all together. I don’t want to wait three hours in line, but I really really want another taste of the Cronut.
#2 Kouign Amann from B Patisserie
The Kouign Amann has been my favorite sweet discovery this year. I’ve never really enjoyed pastries, but this Breton cake is amazing. It tastes similar to a croissant, except that the layers are caramelized. I’ve had a lot of bad versions and then I had the DKA at Dominique Ansel and was blown away. I didn’t think I would find anything remotely close to that experience again but then I visited B Patisserie, which tasted nearly idenitical.
On my first visit, I really couldn’t decide which I preferred more (Dominique’s or B Patisserie’s). On a second recent visit to B. Patisserie, the formula seemed to have altered or perhaps it was just something happening that day but the kouign amann were noticeably sweeter, a little more oily and the inside of the plain ones had a visible extra layer of gooey butter and sugar. Some of my friends really enjoyed this take, but it was a tad too sweet for me and I preferred my first experience with B Patisserie.
I do like that B Patisserie offers a chocolate version too, with a melted chocolate center.
#1 The DKA (Dominique’s Kouign Amann) at Dominique Ansel Bakery
I pretty much liked everything I ate at Dominique Ansel, but his DKA remains my favorite and the best sweet I ate in 2013. It doesn’t look like much, but you bite in and you just can’t believe how crunchy and flaky and light this pastry is. It’s full of butter and sugar, but Dominique’s version doesn’t taste heavy at all. One bite, and I was overwhelmed with everything I was tasting. Caramelized crunchy exterior, tender flaky layers, light and airy, all at once. I feel like I could eat a dozen in one sitting.
Overall, this has a been a great year for sweet discoveries. There’s so many that I still think about, salivate over, and want to hop on a plane just to get another taste. I’ve tried to share as many of my favorites with friends and family and hopefully many of you will get to taste these too.
You can check out my top sweets list from 2012 here.