To freeze or not to freeze/how long to freeze? That is the question.

Dear Dessert Oasis,

This seems like a decent exploration for COVID times…which fresh favorites store well so you don’t have to go back out into the world? aka: Can I put Fannie May assorted chocolates in the freezer? Will they hold up ok?


Dearest Freezer Friend,

First let me ask you this: have you used your face mask as a secret snack pouch yet? Maybe a bit messy for chocolate and better for gummy bears, but still something to consider….

Now getting to your question, although the scientific answer is probably closer to 18 months, let’s keep it classy around here. Erring on the side of more delicious and less frosty, I’ll say you’re def safe for 6 months – if your chocolates even last that long! Also, be sure to seal your box tightly in a plastic freezer bag, not just plop them straight into ice cube bin. If you take them out and the chocolate is blooming and the cherry cordial has separated into syrupy strata, I don’t think you’d be poisoned or anything, just ask yourself how desperate are the times? If the year is still 2020, I say go for it.

Follow up question: chocolate hearts, chocolate bunnies, peanut butter chocolate pumpkins…. a frugal save in the freezer to be commended, or an obvious past-the-prime squirreling away that should only be eaten by yourself in shame at 3am with the freezer door ajar? (frozen thin mints excluded from judgement). Please discuss.

Have a dessert question?  Email me at – from funnel cakes to fondue fountains, if it has sugar, I’ve probably eaten it.

Smack Dab: National Donut Day 2020

I allllllmost let National Donut Day pass uncelebrated.

Given the past days, weeks, months, it seemed kinda trivial to focus on treats instead of EVERYTHING else. But I believe that a jolt of “normalcy” is good for the spirit and so I ventured out to Smack Dab – who is so focused on giving back to the community (while making delicious food) that their website is basically 1/2 mission statement 1/2 menu, and the last image of an actual donut on their IG feed was posted over a month ago to make way for resource links and donation matches.

To add my support, I bought the maximum amount of donuts reasonable for a single person – a baker’s dozen – picked curbside. Cinnamon sugar, raspberry sprinkle, cold brew glazed. A little box of love and strength and sugar.


Pi(e) Day: 2020

RISE & SHINE!!!!!!!!!

That’s the name of the pie. 50% Coffee Cream and 50% Apple Danish from Bang Bang. If ever there was a Pie Day breakfast of champions, THIS IS IT.

Ordered ahead of time, picked up on the most Friday the 13th of Friday the 13ths, and eaten in quarantine. (actually also saved from complete cobbler-destined destruction when my ever-growing “assistant” pulled the pie box down from the fairly high counter, placed it on the floor, stood on it, and “was poopin.” WTF)

Though I’m doubtful that pie lines today will be as long as they’ve been in Pie Days past, I’d say call ahead so you can get in and out quick while still supporting pie providers. Or maybe order a gift card for future pies and put your home baking skills to the test by making your own pie……lord knows all that flour from the empty grocery store shelves needs to get put to good use!


Hell yeah, Hellas!


I first became aware of Hellas Pastry Shop when I ate more than my fair share off the cookie table at a 1/2 Greek wedding this summer. I knew it was located in Lincoln Square, but as I traveled up and down Lincoln Ave. in my mind, I couldn’t place it. The reason, dear reader/eater, is because it’s on Lawrence NOT Lincoln.

Understatedly unassuming, Hellas is a Greek pastry shop on the corner of Lawrence and Talman. Everything is super fresh (like “wait just one minute I have to finish this dough and then I’ll be right out” fresh) and here’s what to get:

ANYTHING “macaron.” Oval and encrusted in almonds and sandwiching apricot jam, or round with an old lady red cherry in the middle, these are light and chewy and addicting.


And then there are the honey cookies. A substantial cookie with finely ground nuts soaked in honey, they are surprisingly melt-in-your-mouth but still best with a side of tea or coffee.


Then there are cookies that look like huge crescent shaped piles of snow. I was actually asked if I was planning on ordering any of these when I started my box so they could be placed on the bottom and not snow on everything else. Joke’s on planning though since I ordered so much that my couple-of-these-5-of-those all needed to be transported to a larger box. (snow banks were still properly maintained)


They also make baklava enrobed in chocolate. Also spinach pie and also eclairs, and they’ve been around since 1969 and I’m certain I’ve driven past approx 10000 times and probably blindly parked right out in front at least 5 times. And now if I get a parking spot within even a 1/2 mile radius, I’ll be stopping in Hellas.



Polka Dot Perfection

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Polka Dot Pie.

Like a cheesecake made into a pie. But with a hint of espresso. And a swirl of marzipan. And dots of dark chocolate. So basically a creamy, nutty, just-rich-enough slice that pairs perfectly with a huge cup of coffee. Like even if you don’t really want any pie (me, never), you take one liiiiitle bite of this pie and then, whoops, it’s gone because yes, you want this pie.

Reliably always on the menu at First Slice Pie Cafe. Praise be.



National Chocolate Day 2019


Sad day: when you are the one to inform the chocolate shop that it’s National Chocolate Day

Happy day: when you discover a new chocolate shop

Proud day: when your 19-month-old is almost more excited than you and shouts “CHOCOLATE!” “CANDY!” “GUMBALL!” “MORE CHOCOLATE!” “BIG ONE!!!” #mychild

Cora Lee Candies has been churning out toffee and chocolates and “Grumpies” and “Barque” in Glenview since 1963 – probably long before the first National Chocolate Day. The assorted creams and caramels are covered in thick smooth chocolate and they have a decent “retro” section with wax bottles, candy dots, flying saucers, Big League Chew, etc. Basically something for everyone. Including sponge candy covered in dark chocolate. That’s the something for me.



happening now: Firecakes



Crème brûlée donut: stop. With mascarpone: Stop. Chocolate mascarpone: STOP. Fig chocolate mascarpone: STAAAAHHPP.


And a lil PB&J back to school special featuring peanut butter mousse and raspberry blood orange jelly. A far cry from soggy lunchbox sandwiches of yore. A new cry of deliciousness.

Happening now at Firecakes. GO!!!

Stop at Whistle Stop!


As autumn falls upon us, you, dear reader, will most likely be heading to Michigan to pick some apples. It’s just what you do. And what pairs oh so nicely with freshly picked apples? How about some freshly baked peanut butter treats? (please see the ginormous peanut butter choc chunk cookie and BRILLIANT peanut butter/butterscotch/chocolate/rice krispies ROLL above. Also: why hasn’t anyone thought of rolling rice krispies treats before??!? It seems the only way to do it.)

Whistle Stop Grocery in Union Pier is right there on Red Arrow Highway, ready for your bakery (and general coffee, breakfast, lunch) needs. So close to so many orchards (including my fave Twin Maple), it’s the perfect stop off before and/or after apple picking. Plus they have a cutie little outdoor picnic table area so you can keep catching some autumn breezy sun while you eat.



WLW: ready for layers


It’s hot again. I was ready/still am ready for layers. LAYERS OF CAKE.

Specifically, the Russian Honey Cake from 20th Century Cafe in San Francisco. But then also these tortes:


Just your usual walnut & apricot, coconut & orange, AND (/or) hazelnut cream layers.

Oh, but then also this:


Dobos Torte with a little brûléed top.

Forget extended summer weather, forget early PSLs. Today, in my dreams, I’m headed to cloudy San Fran and wrapping myself in these layers. That is all.

*pics by: @ohhappydaily, @monbraee, @chowhall_


found: Lost (Larson)


Found: new favorite bakery cafe: Lost Larson.

Found: largest assortment of laminated pastries to ever grace a countertop. twisted/rolled/folded/braided/sugared/all screaming “EAT ME! EAT ME!” – this place is a crispy layered wonderland. (see above: delicious kouign amann and churros croissant)

Found: a pastry photoshoot in progress (but they didn’t need a hand/mouth model)

Found: coffee that lives up to the pastry

Found: big open windows and a tucked away back garden

Lost (otherwise known as “returning for”):  cardamom buns, chocolate passionfruit hazelnut caramel tart whatwhatwhat, princess cake, rye raisin cookie, etc, etc, etc, etc.

Found: new favorite tasting companion (see below)