Season's Sweet Eats at Dunkin' Donuts

Photo by Joanna O'Leary
Pumpkin Spice Donut Holes and Seasonal Iced Donut

This October, bring donuts to that office/neighborhood/coven Halloween party. And, yes, you could go local and bring a Shipley's dozen, but for festive purposes, think Dunkin' Donuts.

The international chain may not serve up the best donuts in the world, or, for that matter, in Houston, but they do a more than decent job of dressing up their offerings for the holidays. And while at one point, such seasonal editions only came out at Christmas, now DD pulls out all the stops for calendar celebrations. (Twenty bucks says there will be Administrative Professionals' Day donuts next year.)

There's the requisite vanilla or chocolate iced doughnut with Halloween-appropriate sprinkles, which this year include ones shaped (but not flavored) like pumpkins. That variety is perfect for those who want to celebrate the holiday without actually trying anything different, so, basically picky five-year-olds.

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Baker Spotlight: Annie Rupani, Chocolatier and Owner of Cacao & Cardamom

Categories: Sweets

Photo by Molly Dunn
Annie Rupani combines spices and exotic flavors into her chocolate creations at Cacao & Cardamom.
Annie Rupani makes some of the most beautiful chocolates you have ever seen; each creation is like a work of art. After graduating from Boston University with a degree in Anthropology and Religion, she set her sights on becoming a lawyer. And like every person studying for the LSATs, she found ways to de-stress during breaks. But unlike everyone else, her stress-reliever was making chocolate.

That passion and love for the sweet confection helped her discover what she really wanted to do in life, and law school wasn't in the picture anymore.

"I was just obsessed with food; I was obsessed with cooking. Chocolate was just one of those things that I had a certain affinity to just because of the process," Rupani says. "Chocolate somehow captures people's hearts. There are so many things that surround chocolate that are just so intriguing and people have a strong memory to it, and I was one of those people. I was really intrigued by the process. I wanted to be a chocolate maker."

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The 5 Best Cinnamon Rolls in Houston

Categories: Sweets, Top Five

Photo by Whitney via Flickr
Cinnamon rolls aren't complete until they are drenched in cream cheese frosting.
Ahh. Cinnamon rolls. You can recognize that smell anywhere. Most of us probably have nostalgic memories of the smell of baking cinnamon rolls in the morning. And when the melted cream cheese frosting is poured over the top, it takes every muscle in your body to resist diving in before all of the rolls are completely covered.

Unraveling the dough to discover the hidden cinnamon-sugar gems stuffed between each layer is fun, but without a doubt, the best part is eating the warm, soft, gooey center. And no matter what anyone says, a cinnamon roll is not to be shared, regardless of the size; that center cannot (and should not) be split in half.

To help you satisfy your morning sweet tooth, we have listed five of the best cinnamon rolls in the city. And yes, the centerpiece for each of these is amazing.

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Eat This: The Salted Caramel Peanut Tart at Tout Suite

Photo by Molly Dunn
The Salted Caramel Peanut Tart at Tout Suite is a work of art.
Before Tout Suite opened in East Downtown, I knew the cafe would be serving incredible desserts and pastries, like those delicate macarons and beautiful cupcakes sold at the sister bakery, Sweet in CityCentre, along with a savory menu served throughout the day. But, the tarts and treats were a surprise.

As I stared at the gorgeous display of bright yellow mango passion tart cakes, matcha green tea chiffon cakes and lemon yuzu tarts, one of the employees approached me asking if I had any questions about the offerings at Tout Suite. I told him I was interested in purchasing the "Paris Houston," a chocolate almond cake with a fruit filling and a generous topping of swirled frosting, but he advised me to choose a different pastry, the Salted Caramel Peanut Tart.

He said it is one of the best offerings in the display case, and that he was one of the chefs who makes the pastries at Tout Suite.

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Dish of the Week: Beer-Battered Apple Fritters

Photo by JustyCinMD
Finish the fritters with a dusting of powdered sugar or a drizzle of caramel.
From classic comfort foods to regional standouts and desserts, we'll be sharing a new recipe with you each week. See the complete list of recipes at the end of this post.

This week, we're sharing a recipe perfect for fall: apple fritters.

The word fritter is derived from the Latin word frictura, meaning "to fry." So it should come as no surprise that fritters are basically batter (chou paste or yeast dough) that gets fried until light and crisp. Often, the batter either coats or is mixed with fruit, vegetables, meat, or seafood before being fried.

Fritters can be found in all types of cuisines, from Japanese tempura and Indonesian gorengan to French beignets and Italian fritto misto. Of course, there's also the all-American fried dessert, the apple fritter.

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365 Days (or So) of Cupcakes at Black Hole Coffee House

Categories: Sweets

Photo by Molly Dunn
The lemonade cupcake is light and refreshing just like a cool glass of lemonade.
Black Hole Coffee House isn't just a relaxing cafe to sit for a while over a book and smooth creamy latte. It's also a place to get cupcakes. Yeah, cupcakes. You wouldn't know it unless you followed the coffee shop on Facebook, or visited every single day.

At the start of the year, kitchen manager Tiffany Ma made a resolution to make a cupcake every day and post a picture of it on Facebook. While the coffee shop has missed a few days here and there, and repeated a few top-sellers, the kitchen staff has made and posted pictures of more than 200 cupcakes since January 1, 2014. That's a lot of cupcakes.

What started as a joke has become a goal for Ma to achieve, and her competitive drive will probably make her do it again next year so she can exceed the number of cupcakes made in 2014. She says the previous kitchen manager had already been baking cupcakes daily, so when she took over as kitchen manager, she kept it going.

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10 Places for Boozy Milkshakes in Houston

Photo by Molly Dunn
Bowlero Bowling Alley in The Woodlands has awesome boozy shakes, like this Salt & Caramel, Push It Real Good shake with Stoli Karamel vodka.
Milkshakes are good, but boozy shakes are so much better. The traditional blend of milk, ice cream and syrups makes for an enjoyably sweet refreshment, but the extra splash of tequila, rum or beer just takes it to a new level.

When you're in the mood for an alcoholic drink, but are simultaneously craving something sweet, we suggest you hit up one of these ten Houston restaurants for an adult milkshake. Of course, if you've got youngsters in your family, most of these places can whip together a non-alcoholic version. So you both can get what you want.

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The 10 Best Places for Desserts in Houston

Dolce Delights 011.jpg
Photo by Katharine Shilcutt
You better believe these cakes from Dolce Delights made our list.
Sometimes you just want something sweet and when you get that sugar craving, you have to satisfy it right then and there. Baking cookies or brownies takes too long and that small piece of chocolate you have in your pantry just won't do it for you. But, there are multiple places around town serving up killer desserts. You just have to walk inside, choose your poison, sit down and enjoy it. How easy is that?

We are aware that a multitude of restaurants offer quality desserts, like the chocolate coconut shell, el coco, at Caracol, the banana's foster at
Brennan's of Houston and the tres leches at the Cordua restaurants. However, we want to share with you the ten best places that specialize in just desserts. These are the places you want to visit and know you're going to indulge in something sweet. These are the places where sugar is the common denominator. And these are the places you can count on to always satisfy your sweet tooth.

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Four Gourmet Dog Treats for National Dog Day

Photo by Molly Dunn
My dog, Abby, really wanted this doggy biscuit from Three Brothers Bakery.
National Dog Day is Tuesday, August 26, and that means you need to do something special for your pup. While you could just take them for a walk, give them a belly rub or play with them more than you normally do, you could also give them a special bakery treat.

Yes, they're going to go bonkers over anything you give them -- especially if it is made with peanut butter or bacon -- but they will also jump through hoops to have these four doggie treats found at regular bakeries in Houston. You can get yourself a little something sweet to eat, too.

Here are four stellar bakeries in Houston serving up excellent treats for dogs and for the owners.

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Chocolate Wasted Ice Cream & Treats Truck Hits the Houston Streets Friday

Photo courtesy Olivia Luisa Garcia
Chocolate Wasted Ice Cream & Treats will open for business Friday, August 22.
Remember when you were a kid and would hear the jingle of the ice cream truck coming down the street?

Nowadays, we tend to get our ice cream and popsicles from either the grocery store or one of the various ice cream shops around town. Yes, these are great, but what happened to the right to your neighborhood experience that traditional ice cream trucks provided? And again, that jingle?

A new updated version is about to hit the streets of Houston. Susan Sahwani-Garcia, owner of Chocolate Wasted Ice Cream & Treats, originally wanted to open a homemade ice cream mobile eatery, but as she began developing her project and realized how expensive that would be, she decided to start her business as a traditional ice cream truck selling all the classic treats and local products.

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