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Jun 26, 2007 01:42 AM

Hazelnut desserts in Phoenix?

Anyone here crazy for hazelnut as I am? I love Gelato Spot's Roche (as in Ferrero Rocher chocolates) and Chocolate Royales (The Willo Bakery sells a mean Hazelnut Royale... forget the wonderful dark chocolate mousse... I'll just have the hazelnut dacquoise underneath!; Au Petit Four also sells good chocolate royales).

Can anyone recommend a great bakery using all-natural ingredients (whole-grain, olive oil or butter, fresh eggs, or even vegan) either in DT or central Phoenix, Scottsdale (not too far north... closer to Old Town/Scottsdale Fashion Square), Chandler/Tempe/Mesa? I do like Tempe's Great Harvest and the above bakeries mentioned. Speaking of vegan, Blue Nile offers only one dessert, but what a dessert! Sponge cake layers dipped in Ethiopian decaf coffee, soy cream, and caramelized sugar and almonds sprinkled on top, garnished with a large strawberry. Another great vegan dessert to try is Persian Garden Cafe's carrot cake. Delicious!! Oh how I miss Paradise Cafe's 14 K Karat Cake... so good, it doesn't need the cream cheese icing! Last, but not least, try Mandala Tearoom's vegan ginger cake with pear compote... Mmmm...

Tangent: anyone else here loving TGIF's Brownie Obsession? So, so good!! Watch out, though, as a serving packs 1500 calories! I always share with relatives and friends when I have this. Anyone else missing the Chocolate Crunch cake TGIF used to offer? This cake reminded me of the cakes we used to order from The Cookie Monster in the Philippines!

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  1. A lot going on in this post. A few thoughts:

    Hazelnut -- I love it, especially in gelato.

    Bakeries -- in Central Phoenix, I like Simply Bread (24th St. b/w McDowell & Thomas) and Whole Grains (SE corner of 32nd St. and Camelback). Simply Bread is more European in style with a wide variety of crusty breads, most of them based on a sourdough starter. Whole Grains emphasizes softer, yeastier, more American-style breads. As the name suggests, there is a lot of emphasis on whole wheat. They are quite different, but I like them both.

    As for Blue Nile, I had a different reaction to the dessert. I thought, frankly, that it tasted like a can of frosting -- excessively sweet and fake tasting. With the exception of fresh fruit (my favorite dessert of all), I try to steer clear of vegan desserts because in my experience they often compensate for the lack of mouth-feel provided by butter, eggs, etc. with excessive sweetness. Maybe it's different at some of the other places you mention. I'll have to give them a try sometime.

    6 Replies
    1. re: silverbear

      I do agree that vegan desserts are pretty sweet, but I've got an aggresive sweet tooth... my downfall :( Since I do not eat canned frosting, I cannot agree with the comparison. I suppose that the "healthier" benefits to eating vegan desserts (less sat. fat and cholesterol, but still overloaded with sugars) allows me to be more lenient on the sweetness and, as you say, lack of mouth-feel. You better just stick to non-vegan desserts, then.

      Have you tried the non-vegan peanut butter pizzookie at Oregano's? My aunts and I devoured that baby (which we unfortunately ordered half peanut butter and half white chocolate macadamia nut) in only a few minutes!

      1. re: starlightjulian

        No pizzookie yet. I'm usually too full after eating anything at Oregano's. Maybe someday I'll have room.

        1. re: starlightjulian

          I have enjoyed all of the vegan desserts at Mandala, not too sweet. Last week they had a peach pie that was really good.

          1. re: hollyeve

            I've enjoyed the few entrees I've tried there so far, except for one... the Curry Vermicelli. Not spicy enough, and pretty bland. I'd say one of the best entrees on their menu, so far, is the tea crumpets! Their version of nachos is pretty amazing, too, but it contains corn, and my system doesn't tolerate the veggie well (one test says I'm allergy-positive, another says negative).

            1. re: hollyeve

              I tried the carrot cake there recently. Moist, but not much texture, so I'll pass next time. Anyone tried the truffles?

            2. re: starlightjulian

              The pizzookie should be controlled substance, it's so good. I'd love to sit, relax, and savor it, but I know if I do that I'll only have the one bite while everyone else is devouring the thing like a pack of hungry wolves.

          2. Although not exactly a hazelnut dessert, the hazelnut creme brulee at Citrus Cafe in Chandler is one of the great creme brulees in town.


            4 Replies
            1. re: IamJacksBrain

              I think I may have tried Citrus Cafe's creme brulee... does it come in other flavors? I also suggest the vicheron served there... Mmmm...

              1. re: starlightjulian

                The creme brulee only comes in one flavor. The vacherin is excellent, but I have to be in the mood for it.

                1. re: IamJacksBrain

                  Thanks for the correction on the spelling :) I feel so foolish when I don't proofread my posts...

                  1. re: starlightjulian

                    The Nutella crepes @ Vincents are wonderful......

            2. Really, IS anyone missing the chocolate crunch cake TGIF used to offer? I found out the bakery they used to get it from CLOSED. I'm working on a re-creation from what I remember it was a moist cake with caramel & crunched heath bar in between layers,then a fudge frosting & fudge ganache. I've not come across ANY word of that cake til I found you. If you remember it differently, please let me know.

              1 Reply
              1. re: truly0ne

                Your description is exactly how I remember it. I do miss it so, but with the way things are going nowadays, I'm sure I've developed allergies to some of the ingredients that go into the preparation of that cake.

              2. Au Petit Four had a little hazelnut dessert that was delicious. It was simple and very attractive. Cake, hazelnut mousse, a ganache-like hazelnut glaze, a bit of chocolate and topped with a nut.

                1 Reply