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Adventures in New Orleans Dining: The Great Dessert Tour

Did you ever have the childhood fantasy that for just one day you could eat dessert for breakfast, lunch, and dinner? Well, I certainly did, and here there are more than enough New Orleans restaurants serving up incredible sweet snacks should you ever decide to bring that fantasy to life. Classic desserts make an appearance on many local menus but a few non-traditional treats are just as tempting. So grab a friend (or a good cup of coffee) and relive those childhood dreams with these heavenly New Orleans desserts.

new orleans dining

Photos 1-9 by Emily Smith. Photo 10 by Susan Whelan. Illustration by Lydia Mulero.

1. Peche – Chef Donald Link’s new seafood-centric restaurant in the Central Business District has a lively bar, perfect for grabbing an after-dinner drink and one of their insanely delicious desserts, like Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Pie. Imagine if a banana creme pie and chocolate peanut butter cup had a baby — a really delicious baby — drizzled with caramel and topped with homemade “Butterfinger” crumbles. This pie is so rich and satisfying, you’ll be begging for the recipe.

2. Muriel’s – As a born and bred New Orleanian, I have become quite the bread pudding connoisseur. There are many different versions – some with raisins, others with white chocolate or candied apple – but my absolute favorite has to be Muriel’s Pain Perdu Bread Pudding. With hints of cinnamon, sugar-dusted pecans and a crusty French-toast-like exterior, there’s nothing shameful about eating the whole piece. (Candle comes with birthdays only.)

3. Kingfish - Just blocks from Jackson Square, this new French Quarter hot spot features a Bourbon Pecan Pie made my Chefs Lisa and Chris Barbato of Rivista, a new (and fabulous) bakery on Magazine Street. Just like mama used to make, this melt-in-your-mouth pie has lots of chopped and toasted pecans, a gooey, sugary center, and a hint of Bourbon throughout. Holy yum.

4. Creole Creamery - Uptown’s most popular ice cream shop has enough unique flavors (Sweet Corn, anyone?) and kid-friendly classics to keep all kinds of ice cream lovers coming back time and again. Next time you’re feeling daring, try tackling the “Skyscraper” sundae–the creamery’s tallest creation–with cookies and cream, chocolate and vanilla ice cream layered with caramel, hot fudge, crushed Oreo cookies, then topped with whipped cream and a cherry. Make sure you have a safety net!

5. Sucre – Need one more reason to love this adorable confectionary and gelato shop? Order the “Gimmie S’mores” sundae, and prepare to indulge in an over-the-top combo of vanilla gelato, caramel and chocolate sauces, whipped cream, graham crackers, and toasted marshmallows. This sundae is so big you won’t know where to start, but I think you’ll be able to figure it out.

6. High Hat - Sometimes the best things in life are the most simple and, when it comes to dessert, the owners of High Hat know this well. Glazed donuts from Freret Street Poboy and Donut shop are heated on the griddle with some butter until the sugar caramelizes, then they’re plated warm and topped with a scoop of local vanilla bean ice cream. Just two ingredients and I swear it’s one of the best things you’ll ever taste.

7. Baie Rouge - For a twist on a French classic, try this new Magazine Street eatery’s Ginger Creme Brûlée. The subtle warmth from the Eastern spice pairs surprisingly well with the caramelized sugar crust and brightens up the custard. The first bite will have you saying, “Hmm…” and the fifth bite will have you saying “MMM!”

8. Wayfare – Blame it on the cupcake craze but there’s just something about the pint-size Lemon Ice Box Pies from Wayfare that are so addictive. Each miniature pie comes in buttery graham cracker crust, is filled with a tart lemon custard, and topped with a candied lemon slice. Need more than a single serving? Wayfare sells whole pies that serve up to 16 people.

9. Borgne – Pastry Chef Kelly Fields is as talented at making her desserts look beautiful as she is at making them taste incredible. At Borgne, her Blackout Cake is the epitome of chocolate indulgence. Local chicory coffee is added to the batter to enhance this cake’s rich chocolate flavor and then garnished with a chocolate ganache. If it’s chocolate you want, this is the cake for you.

10. Root – Tired of pies, cakes, and ice cream? Looking for something really unique? Then get yourself over to Root on Julia Street for Chef Philip Lopez’s “Yorkie” which features a bowl filled with a chocolate covered peppermint pattie, mint chocolate chip ice cream, coco puffs, and minted milk. Eating this dessert will definitely make you feel like a kid again.