We’ve all been there… lying in bed, scrolling past endless photos of over-the-top sweets, trying to find where the latest Charlotte dessert trends can be found.
As someone with an untameable sweet tooth, these endless dessert trends make me wish I lived in New York, since the Big Apple seems to be the source churning out all these innovative dishes.
Inspired, I decided to look for trendy sweet treats in the city I’m already in, and I found Charlotte is quick to catch on to culinary trends. From alcoholic cupcakes and rolled ice cream, to croissants with a surprise and a one pound donut, here’s a list of the trendiest, most Instagram-worthy desserts right here in the Queen City.
ROLLED ICE CREAM
Rolled ice cream is a Thai dessert that’s taken over social media by a storm. Sold by street vendors throughout SouthEast Asia, it eventually starting popping up all over the US in recent years. Thin layers of ice cream are pushed into rolls and topped with anything and everything from oreos, marshmallows, and gummies, to fruit, chocolate, caramel, and more. Jolly Rolls, located in Matthews, specializes in this special type of ice cream and offers an extensive menu of delectable flavors including s’mores, apple pie, cookies and cream, cinnabon, pina colada, and key lime pie, just to name a few.
I’ve seen countless photos of vibrantly colored croissants held up against the New York City skyline, oozing creamy custard out of it’s center. I had never seen anything like it before. The only stuffed croissant I knew of was Pain au Chocolat, but times have changed apparently. Here in Charlotte at Renaissance Patisserie, you can find similar delectable pastries like their almond croissants with cookie, pumpkin, or nutella filling. If you’re a fan of pumpkin spice lattes from Starbucks, you’ll love these! If croissants aren’t your thing, don’t worry. They’ve got plenty to offer in the French pastry realm — tarts, danishes, macarons, turnovers, eclairs, you name it.
Alcohol and dessert? Sure, why not. Alcohol in dessert? Well that you just can’t pass up. Fumanchu Cupcakes has an extensive array of alcoholic cupcakes. No matter what your favorite liquor is — vodka, whiskey, Kahlua, Tequila, or even moonshine, Fumanchu’s got you covered. If you’re in the mood for something fruity, opt for the Lemon Drop Shot, a citrus vodka soaked lemon cupcake topped with lemon frosting and lemon sawdust. If you prefer something a little more substantial, the Irish Car Bomb is a great fit — a Guinness-Chocolate cupcake with a Jameson whiskey ganache core topped with Bailey’s Irish Cream frosting. If alcohol isn’t your thing, they’ve got a variety of non-alcoholic cupcakes and other sweet treats like chocolate chip cookies and pound cake as well.
Dominique Ansel has single-handedly changed the dessert game with her creation of the iconic cookie shot and the Cronut — a pastry hybrid between a croissant and a donut seemingly sent from the gods and that’s had customers lining up during the early hours of the morning just for a taste. Luckily, the owners of Cafe Ganache have caught onto the cronut trend and blessed us with the only “kronut” food truck in the US, and it’s right here in Charlotte. Flavors like banana pudding, cinnamon sugar, chocolate, orange, and maple bacon grace the menu.
CHOCOLATE CHIP SKILLET COOKIE
I don’t know about you, but my favorite chocolate chip cookies are always soft and warm on the inside with a slight crunch on the outside. The way to perfect the gooey interior while maintaining the well-done exterior? A skillet. It also helps that it makes the cookie at least five times the average size. At Bricktops, they serve their chocolate chip cookie in a massive skillet topped with vanilla ice cream and drizzled with caramel. Photos alone are enough to make your stomach rumble and your mouth suddenly water. If you’re ambitious, dedicated, and have enough willpower, you can fill your week’s dessert quota in just one sitting, or at least until your next chocolate craving kicks in.
I don’t think I’ve ever met a person who doesn’t like donuts…They’re just one of those universally loved desserts that seems to be getting a lot of newfound attention, and for good reason, because they’re delicious. But maybe you’re getting tired of the typical glazed or powdered sugar donut. We get it, you can only have so many. Bring in Stoke Charlotte. They’re changing the game with their gargantuan one pound donut. The mammoth is topped with a heaping portion of pastry cream, Heath bar crumbles, and powdered sugar. It’s so big that it’s served on a cutting board. Feel free to share the love with friends and family, or save it for yourself. There’s absolutely no shame in that at all.
MACARON ICE CREAM SANDWICHES
Ninety’s Ice Cream fuses together two delicious desserts in one — ice cream sandwiches and macarons. Not only are the macaron ice cream sandwiches colorful, they’re also massive. These macarons aren’t like the tiny, two-bite traditional ones, we’re talking the size of large cookies. Although they do have mini ice cream sandwiches as well, with a dessert like this, you have to go big or go home. Fun flavors include birthday cake, s’mores, strawberry, red velvet, and cinnamon chai.
Well, there you have it — a comprehensive list to satisfy even the strongest sugar cravings. Now go forth, get your sweet tooth fix, and make all of your social media followers drool over your local food adventures!