Posts Tagged ‘sweets’

The Dessert Issue

It’s OK to want a little nibble, a little lick of sweetness. Another bite. Just one more. Dessert is a time to give in and let cravings take over. Deprivation isn’t good for the soul. Here’s your guide to finding what you really want: Just a little sugar …

By Stefanie Gans with Natalie Manitius • Evan Milberg • Jessica Strelitz • Tammy Tuck



Nutella Pizza
Craving > Nutella
Nutella Pizza

The Junk
Craving > Salt
The Junk

Cookies & Confections
Craving > Childhood Snacks
Cookies & Confections

Butterscotch Pudding
Craving > Pudding
Butterscotch Pudding

Citrus beignets
Craving > Free
Citrus Beignets

Toasted Marshmallow Shake
Craving > Marshmallow
Toasted Marshmallow Shake

blueberry cheesecake poptart
Craving > Breakfast
Blueberry Cheesecake Poptart

Craving > French Toast

Creme Brulee
Craving > Classic
Creme Brulee

Grasshopper Icebox Cake
Craving > Mint
Grasshopper Icebox Cake

Fried cupcakes
Craving > Cupcake
Fried Cupcake

Beer-Battered Apple Rings
Craving > Fruit
Beer-Battered Apple Rings

Mousse au Chocolat aux Preles Croquantes
Craving > Chocolate
Mousse au Chocolat aux Preles Croquantes




Sweet Sips
If you like to pour a drink with your dessert or just want to drink your final course, here’s three releases from local vineyards.

The New Sip for Sweets
From pale ales to stouts, beers make the perfect pairing for desserts.

Vanilla Creme Brulee
Chocolate Custard
Citrus Olive Oil Cake
Rustic Apple Pecan Tart

Googling ‘The Best Irish Coffee in the World’ leads to Vienna.




Absolute Thai

Bayou Bakery
New Orleans
Bayou Bakery

Bombay Café

Cafe Torino & Bakery

Dulce’s Empanada and Bakery

The Happy Tart Bakery

Middle Eastern
Jenin Pastry

Napoleon Bakery

Red Truck Bakery
Red Truck Bakery

French & Lebanese
Silva’s Patisserie

Tango Pastry

Sweet City Desserts

Wandering Zorba Bakery



frozen treats

ice cream

Embrace the Chill
Celebrating the difference between the best of the frozen treats.









The Cr*nut
Northern Virginia Imitates New York City’s Trendiest Pastry.

Dessert on Wheels
On one stretch of road in Arlington,
two food trucks serve the trendiest of desserts: doughnuts.



Caitlin Dysart
Pastry Chef at 2941

Tiffany MacIssac
Pastry Chef for Neighborhood Restaurant Group


(March 2014)



Guide to NoVA’s Dessert Shops

By Maddy Berner


Ruth Black/

No matter the time of day, or diet you’re on, everyone craves the sweet, decadent taste of dessert. Thankfully, the Northern Virginia area is teeming with various sprinkled delights. From fro-yo to giant cupcakes, use your lunch break to explore only the newest and most delicious in dessert fashion. Only the finest sweet shops take residence in NoVA, and we categorized the best by location to help you get to know them.

Something to remember: Larger chains often have multiple locations in the NoVA area. If you see a shop you want to try, look for it in a community closer to you.

*Know of a bakery or cafe that’s absolutely delicious but isn’t featured on here yet? Leave a comment below and we’ll keep updating as we discover new places!


Just Desserts
Take a baking class and learn how to make these decadent treats, or simply shop the menu for an array of cakes, tarts and bars. Each one is made with the utmost care by Deirdre Parker, who has been in the business for years. Just Desserts also offers seasonal sweets, as well as catering services./ Alexandria; 703-801-6325;

Lavender Moon Cupcakery
Blood Orange Dreamsicle, Mexican Chocolate Pudding – it’s obvious this bake shop has a knack for uniquely-flavored cupcakes. Some online reviewers say it’s the best in the NoVA and D.C. area with their intensely moist, sweet cakes and decadent frosting./ 116 South Royal St., Alexandria; 703-683-0588;

Alexandria Cupcake
This shop calls itself a cupcake boutique bakery, complete with European style décor. But the real treat is the cupcakes, which are heavenly in their simplicity and taste. Their daily flavors include dark chocolate and red velvet, but call ahead to see if they’re serving their PB&J or rosewater cupcake./1022 King St., Alexandria.; 703-299-9099;

Alexandria Pastry Shop
Not only does this Alexandria staple offer gluten-free, sugar-free and allergy sensitive specialties, but they use locally-grown produce and European chocolate in their batters. They even offer seasonal treats like gingerbread and pumpkin bread. With wedding cake and catering services available, this place seems like the one-stop shop for all your sugary desires./ Bradley Shopping Center, 3690-H, King St., Alexandria.; 703-578-4144;

Buzz Bakery and Lounge
You’ll feel like you stepped into a sweet treat wonderland at Buzz Bakery. Go early for breakfast, or stop in the afternoon to browse their cupcakes, pies and cookies. Then, come back at night where comfortable couches and intimate table settings make a hot spot for romance./ 901 Slaters Lane, Alexandria.; 703-600-2899;

hollin hall pastry shop

A wedding cake from Hollin Hall. | Photo courtesy of Hollin Hall Pastry Shop.

Hollin Hall Pastry Shop
Hollin Hall has won numerous awards for their take on weddings cakes and other pastries. Not only do they offer your typical treats, but they also sell a variety of decadent mousses in flavors you probably won’t find anywhere else. See what 30-year pastry veteran Mel Meadows is cooking up!/ 7920 Fort Hunt Road, Alexandria.;703-768-9643;

Yes, this café and catering company offers a variety of cupcake combinations – coconut cake with lemon buttercream, anyone? But they also serve savory cupcakes like mini lasagnas and mac n’ cheese. But if you’re going for sweet, try their Kahlua mocha trifle, lemon cloud mousse, or others. The possibilities are endless./ 823 King St., Alexandria.; 703-549-1028;

The Dairy Godmother
Professionally-trained and lover all things sweet and fluffy – Liz Davis has created a unique place for custard lovers. Check online for her Flavor of the Day (sometimes Mexican chocolate or summer pudding), then purchase a homemade dog treat for your furry pal. Both man and man’s best friend will not be able to resist her original family-style desserts./ 2310 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria.; 703-683-7767;

Rita’s Italian Ice

Combine Italian ice and custard and you have Rita’s. This chain is a favorite amongst many in the area, especially on a scorching hot day. Their menu contains every frozen treat you can think of, with toppings to mix into each one. Go classic with an Italian ice, or load up on the mix-ins with a creamy custard Blendini./ Alexandria Plaza 6242-C, Little River Turnpike, Alexandria.; 703-256-RITA;

Occasionally Cake
The real Cake Bosses are right here in town and they have a custom-made cake for any occasion. Choose from a variety of more than 100 flavors including carrot cake, cookies n’ cream, fuzzy navel, red velvet and tiramisu and let these artists work their magic for birthdays, weddings or even dessert (cupcakes). / 8859 Richmond Highway, Alexandria; 703-780-2253;



Red Velvet Cupcakery
This bake shop recently came to the Clarendon area in 2011. Using locally grown ingredients, their cupcakes are moist, fresh and decadent. They even donate their leftovers to shelters and organizations in the area. Suggestion? Try the red velvet. It’s ultra-sweet and, of course, a classic./ 3035 Clarendon Blvd., Arlington.;703-243-5660;

Another popular chain bake shop is Crumbs, also located in Clarendon. They sell brownies, muffins and cakes, but they are known for their giant-sized cupcakes, which can easily feed two or more with their abundance of frosting and taste. Buy one to split in flavors such as Key Lime and Dulce de Leche./ 2839 Clarendon Blvd., Arlington.; 703-5244001;


Fresh frozen yogurt. | Photo courtesy of Pinkberry.

Pinkberry Frozen Yogurt
The Arlington location of this fro-yo giant just opened a few years ago, but has become successful in luring in customers with their unique and healthy toppings. Choose a base flavor then pile on syrups and toppings. These guys promise you’ll feel light and refreshed – just like their yogurt./ 2930 Clarendon Blvd., Arlington.;703-312-9433;

Boccato Gelato
When you walk into this quaint gelato and coffee shop, you’ll think the ice cream looks too good to eat.  Take a bite into rich flavors like cake batter and banana or request your own idea for a creamy concoction on their chalkboard. Fun, different and deliciously authentic./ 2719 Wilson Blvd., Arlington.; 703-869-6522;

Hiedelberg Pastry Shoppe
Hailing from Germany, Heidelberg’s authentic treats have public officials from all over the area coming for more. Since 1975, the Büchlers have been serving desserts that satisfy both sides of the Atlantic. Take a number and enjoy complimentary coffee while waiting for you order./ 2150 N. Culpeper St., Arlington.; 703-527-8394;

Pastries by Randolph
This local favorite takes pride in their dedication to dessert. Cakes of all shapes and flavors are available and can be custom-made. They also offer pastries like petit fours, chocolate dipped strawberries and small tea cookies. These guys keep it real and keep customers coming back./ 4500 Lee Highway, Arlington.; 703-243-0070;

Arax Café
For authentic Armenian desserts, Arax Café reigns supreme. Ice cream and sweet treats like baklava are popular, and often reflect the season. Summery flavors like mango and coconut will relieve you on a hot day, but the friendly customer service will stick with you forever./ 5852 N. Washington Blvd., Arlington.; 703-532-3320.



cupcakes actually

The storefront at Cupcakes Actually. | Photo courtesy of Cupcakes Actually

Cupcakes Actually
We gave them a “Best of NoVA” award for their cupcakes, but the sister/owners’ passion and dedication to flavor speaks for itself. We’re not sure where to start on their menu – with choices such as pistachio, orange and blackberry – but their decadent vanilla and chocolate cupcakes are surefire winners./ 11944 Grand Commons Ave., Fairfax.; 571-522-6315;

Simply Desserts
Prize-winning cheesecakes and sculpted cakes make this dessert shop well-known and divine for those with a serious sweet tooth. Owner Kimberly works tirelessly to decorate cakes for any occasion, making sure even smaller treats like cookies and cake pops are original and baked to perfection./ 13140 Madonna Lane, Fairfax.;703-362-8942;

Breeze Bakery Cafe 
Annandale and Centreville might be Koreatown with their endless options of BBQ’ed bulgogi and H Marts, but sometimes it can be hard to find a good Asian bakery. Breeze satisfies this need with its desserts, including sweet potato cakes, Bing Soo (gelato) and bubble tea. Plus, it’s open until midnight all week just in case your date at Honey Pig runs late. So grab a bite, then relax on the upstairs deck with friends – and forget you’re in Annandale at all! / 4125 Hummer Road, Annandale; 703-462-9093;

The Swiss Bakery and Pastry Shop 
Guten Tag! If you’re looking for a place to score decadent German sweets without dealing with pesky customs, look no further. The Swiss Bakery, with locations in Springfield and Burke, offers European chocolates, fresh-baked pastries and wine and beer from across the pond. Tschüß! / Ravensworth Shopping Center, 5224 Port Royal Road, Springfield; 703-321-3670; Burke Town Plaza, 9536 Old Keene Mill, Burke; 703-569-3670;

Victoria’s Cakery
Pound cake, scones and delicate tea desserts separate this bakery from your normal cake shop. Of course, the classic wedding cake option is also available, with flavors like lemon and almond on hand. Look for the quaint red shutters outside this welcoming dessert establishment./ 10430 Main St., Fairfax; 703-273-0800;

Shilla Bakery
For an Asian spin on American classics, visit Shilla for their successful blend of both. The staff has traveled to countries like Japan and South Korea, looking for that hot new dessert trend. Their website even contains a section for new products. Ever heard of melon bread? Read more online!/ 10940 Fairfax Blvd. Suite E-F, Fairfax.; 703-691-1171;

Unique Bakery
Owner and founder David Behnam has been in the business for 30 years, whipping up custom wedding cakes, pies and cheesecakes. Converse with the friendly staff, sip coffee and browse whatever seasonal flavors this award-winning bakery is offering at the time./ 9557 Braddock Road, Fairfax.; 703-426-7202;

Sweet Berry
Customers online rave about the dozens of gelato options available here. Everything is made fresh, including a warm waffle or French crepe to accompany to your frozen delight. Flavors include strawberry, tiramisu, hazelnut and coconut./ 9432 Main St., Fairfax.; 703-978-2112.

Woody’s Ice Cream
It’s a simple, classic ice cream shop taking residence in the 21st century. Get freshly-made soft-serve ice cream in a cone, dipped in chocolate, or over a brownie. Splurge for a milkshake in flavors like peanut butter and black cherry. Only open for the summer!/ 10435 North St, Fairfax.; 703-277-9553;

Vina Café Bakery
This dessert shop was originally a Chinese bakery, but the family updated it to include a fusion of eastern and western flavors. They now serve Taiwanese-style buns, Vietnamese-style pastries and of course, all-American cakes./ 3900-C Pickett Road, Fairfax.; 703-239-2828;

Dulce’s Bakery and Empanada Shop
Entering this dessert shop will transport you south to the rich culture of Latin America. Grab an authentic empanada – sweet or savory – then try with one of their cupcakes or cookies. These guys are longtime NoVA locals, and are dedicated on bringing their unique flavors to you./ 3900-C Pickett Road, Fairfax.; 703-978-8021;


Falls Church

Lazy Sundae
A quick milkshake fix can be satisfied at this small, intimate shop in Falls Church. They serve sandwiches as well, but the ice cream and milkshakes are too creamy and sweet to pass up. Try the coconut and taste actual slivers of roasted coconut mixed inside./ 110 N. West St., Falls Church.; 703-525-4960. 

The Mirage Café
We have to ask: who hasn’t had a craving for the honeyed, crunchy taste of baklava? Thankfully, Falls Church has The Mirage, a restaurant and bakery that specializes in the Middle Eastern dessert. Order this freshly-made pastry in bulk, along with a variety of other treats packed with nuts from Iran, Turkey and Afghanistan. Try the balooria, basma or maamoul./ 5916 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church.; 703-845-1600;

Frozen Dairy Bar and Boardwalk Pizza
This frozen custard shop has changed a lot since opening in 1950. But through it all, it continues to deliver some of the creamiest and most genuine ice cream in the NoVA area. There’s a lot of history in this place, so grab a cone and enjoy that old-timey atmosphere./ 6641 Arlington Blvd., Falls Church.; 703-534-4200;

Natalia’s Elegant Creations
Voted best bakery, coffee shop and lunch spot in Falls Church – you simply can’t miss out on the sweet and savory items offered at Natalia’s. This quaint little café specializes in fresh, high-quality products that can be vegan and/or gluten-free. Their gourmet cupcakes almost look too pretty to eat and their various tortes will have your mouth quivering for more./ 230 West Broad St., Falls Church; 703-241-8040;



Mom’s Apple Pie Company
Experience the warm, comfortable feeling whenever you dive into an apple pie again and again – and without preservatives. All your favorites are featured on the menu, including stand-outs like almond amaretto, peach and the ever-classic apple. Their blackberry pie was even voted one of the best in the south by Southern Living Magazine. Breads and cookies are also available./ 126 A Commerce St., Occoquan; 703-497-7437; 220 Loudoun St., SE, Leesburg.; 703-771-8590;



A cupcakery “that delivers to you” sounds almost perfect to us, but it’s the variety of cupcake flavors that seal the deal. Come in every day for a different selection: Snicker’s, Coconut, Watermelon, Maple Bacon and Pistachio – just to name a few. And this place loves to support the community, so choose them next time you want to host a party or school event!/ 12801 Galveston Court, Manassas.;703-670-6639;



blueberry buckle
A blueberry buckle from Danielle’s Desserts. | Photo courtesy of Danielle’s Desserts.


Danielle’s Desserts
Danielle and her baking expertise have been featured on multiple news outlets, which proves just how divine and delicious her treats really are. Layer cakes, pies and cookies, among others, sprinkle the menu. She even offers gluten-free desserts, enjoyed in a warm and inviting atmosphere./ 2001 International Drive, McLean.; 703-442-4096;


Reston and Herndon

Edibles Incredible Desserts
To start, the cake designs featured at this shop are one-of-a-kind and impressive – we would know, we’ve featured them in our magazine twice! Past the cakes are cool confections like gourmet truffles, rich fudge and of course, cupcakes topped with loads of frosting./ 11917 Freedom Drive, Reston.;703-709-8200;

The CupCake Ladi
“Superior quality, superior taste,” is what the CupCake Ladi says about her organic cupcakes. They’re made with certified organic ingredients, meaning their great taste will leave an equally great feeling in your stomach. One NoVA Mag reader says you haven’t lived until you try her Moo Moo Moo Cow cupcake, but there are so many options, you’ll be itching to try them all!/11412 West Washington Plaza, Reston.; 703-787-6775;

Milwaukee Frozen Custard
If you thought there were only two flavors of custard, think again. Milwaukee serves more of them than we can count, with the amount of mouth-watering toppings surpassing even that. Creamy custard is mixed with crumbs and glazes to create blends like s’mores, lemon meringue pie and pumpkin pie./ 300 Elden St., Herndon.;703-467-0900;

Pitango Gelato
This chain claims they use only the freshest ingredients, such as grass-fed cow milk and free-range eggs, which they often import themselves. Their shop serves flavors ranging from sweet to tart, all with an authentic Italian twist. Pitango customers deserve the best of the best, and the gelato definitely delivers it./ 11942 Democracy Drive, Reston.;703-606-9906;

Chesapeake Chocolates
Always fresh and always handmade – that’s something promised by Chesapeake Chocolates. This dessert shop specializes in chocolate truffles, bark and shapes, making sure to add a little texture with nuts, dried fruit and toffee. Stop into this family-owned location for your next Valentine’s Day gift. They make it personal./ 11426 Washington Plaza West, Reston.; 703-620-0082;



Nielsen’s Frozen Custard
Nielsen’s ice cream feels like melted butter on the tongue– smooth, creamy and oh, so good. There are loads of fun toppings to choose from, but nothing is wrong with going au natural. Made fresh every few hours, this frozen treat is hard to beat./ 144 Church St. NW, Vienna.; 703-255-5553.

Amphora Bakery
An ever-increasing demand for sweets caused this bakery to relocate not once, but twice! Amphora now employs over 20 experienced bakers, chefs and designers to bring the rich taste of Europe to every bread and pastry on the shelf./ 405 Maple Ave. West, Vienna.; 703-281-5631;

The name of this cupcakery speaks for itself. Simple, elegant and just plain delicious – if that’s what you’re looking for, then Cupcakes! makes it easy. Choose from cupcakes of the classic variety, or change it up with lemon blueberry and pumpkin./ 527 Maple Ave. West, Vienna.;703-938-3034;

sweet city desserts

Decadent treats from Sweet City Desserts. | Photo courtesy of Sweet City Desserts.

Sweet City Desserts
The concept of this shop was to allow customers to watch the pastry chefs as they work. They can order any of the Filipino-style desserts, then relax in the lounge area surrounded by free Wi-fi and soft music. Try a purple yam cupcake first, it’s just one of many unique flavors there./ 131-A Maple Ave. West, Vienna.; 703-938-8188;

The Pie Gourmet
If you thought you knew every type of pie, think again. The Pie Gourmet offers dozens more, as well as specialty cakes, cheesecakes and other desserts. Check out the photos of each pie, then choose the right flavor for any occasion. It’s guaranteed to delight the taste buds./ 507 Maple Ave. West, Vienna.; 703-281-7437;

Cenan’s Baked Goods
Stop into Cenan’s for a sandwich, but stay for their array of homemade pastries, including delights like brioche, meringues and Turkish delights that are authentic and sweet. Cenan himself promises hearty, fresh bread every morning, without the icky preservatives./ 122 Branch Road SE, Vienna.; 703-242-0070;  

Yas Bakery
Since 1986 Yas has been supplying Vienna with delicious Persian cookies and cakes. If you count yourself among the many baklava lovahs, this market is a must-stop shop. One Yelp reviewer says, “If you’re interested in unique foods, Yas is like a playground.” / 137 Church St. NW, Vienna; 703-242-4050;

Silva’s Patisserie
A patisserie (often spelled with a miniature rooftop accent thing over the ‘a’) is a French or Belgian bakery that specializes in pastries and sweets. This family-owned hidden gem boasts a selection of tempting desserts that will have you packing on the pounds if you’re not too careful with their marzipan, creme brulee and macaroons. There’s even key lime pie, which is undeniably hard to find in NoVA. / 167 Glyndon St. SE, Vienna; 703-255-6880;

Five Unique Dessert Shops for Valentine’s Day Sweets

Posted by Carten Cordell / Monday, January 30th, 2012

Everybody loves a box of chocolates on Valentine’s day, but this year, kick it up a notch and treat your special someone to one of these outrageously delicious and unique Valentine’s Day noshes.

If you want to keep with the chocolates theme, head to Artisan Confections where Jason Andelman creates beautiful chocolate masterpieces in one bite. Each piece of chocolate is covered in a stunning design created by a local artist. With flavors such as lemon-rose, port wine-fig and raspberry caramel, you can’t go wrong.

For something different, delve into the world of macarons. These French confections are known for their light, but bold flavors. PastryXPO offers various sizes of macaron gift boxes with flavors that you can mix and match.

Alexandria Pastry Shop is the place to go for a light, moist and perfectly balanced cake. For this lover’s holiday, they will be selling their chocolate raspberry marquis and red velvet cakes in heart shapes – the perfect ending to any Valentine’s Day.

Looking for quantity? Buy cookies. The Swiss Bakery and Pastry Shop is featuring linzer cookies with heart-shape cut outs, allowing you to see the delicious jam sandwiched in between.

As a lighter option, try a fresh fruit tart from Café Rumi. These creations are stunning to look at and are hand-crafted from the freshest, all natural ingredients. You won’t even notice the absence of chocolate.

Photo: Shutterstock/Sabino Parente

[tips for the food desk]

Top Five Sweet Eats of 2011

Posted by The Editorial Desk / Tuesday, December 27th, 2011

Alright, the countdown begins … five more days till we kiss 2011 goodbye and welcome 2012 with open arms as the year of the world’s possible termination. Just kidding. Maybe.

Anyway, I think now would be an appropriate time to put together a list of the top five things I’ve eaten in the year 2011, since that’s really what determines how successful a year was.

Let’s start with sweets.

Top Five Sweet Eats of 2011:

5. Nutella doughnuts at EatBar/Tallula (Arlington)

These little delights were an unexpected treat before my Sunday morning brunch at EatBar (next-door parent Tallula shares the same menu). The tiny ball of classically airy donut glazed with Nutella, possibly my favorite form of chocolate ever, was the perfect backwards dessert.


Read the rest of this entry »

Heidelberg Heaven

Posted by The Editorial Desk / Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

Folks, I have a problem. There’s officially less than five days till Christmas, and for the past week and a half, since my first visit to the German cookie haven earlier this month, I have not been able to stop myself from going back to Heidelberg Bakery … again … and again … and again.

As it’s gotten closer and closer to Christmas, I’ve come up with more excuses to go in there – I needed a little gift for my supervisor; for a co-worker’s birthday, a box of freshly baked cookies would be perfect; I need to wow everyone at the Christmas Eve party I’m going to (and I’m leaving out the fact that I just wanted to munch on something sweet myself). 

I’ve always had the sweetest sweet tooth, so it’s no surprise that I’ve fallen obsessively in love with Heidelberg. But what I don’t understand, particularly at this time of year, is my love for things like pfefferneusse. I have this inexplicable obsession with German spiced baked goods, and I really don’t know where it came from, as I don’t have a lick of German ancestry in my blood. 

Heidelberg's Christmas cookies

Each time I walk into Heidelberg I am blown away by the heavenly surroundings of cookies, baked goods, cakes, and more cookies! Seriously, cookies EVERYWHERE! And baskets of free samples — there’s nothing I love more. The first time, I was overwhelmed by all the cookies. But now, I want to get to know all the cookies — ALL the cookies. It’s my goal. Each time I’ve been back, I’ve tried something new, from the German chocolates to a free sample of marzipan. Up next? The powder sugar covered, marzipan layered bread (the only thing stopping me was the fact that it was $13 and I wouldn’t have anyone to share it with for another three days, and, obviously, I’d just end up eating it all myself). 

There’s a sweet in Heidelberg for everyone — for the chocolate lovers, the German spice cookie lovers, the butter cookie lovers, the marzipan lovers. Heck, there are even simple breads, rolls, croissants and sausages for the savory lovers. But I won’t go there. Not this week.

I know it’s no secret, but if you haven’t been to Heidelberg yet, now’s your time to go. GO!
Embrace the holidays — embrace the cookies.

*Cue angelic sound effects*

Heidelberg is located at 2150 N. Culpeper St. in Arlington (703-527-8394;

-Julia Harbo

Egg Nog Bread Pudding

Posted by The Editorial Desk / Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

Egg nog: the famous holiday drink that you either love or hate. Personally, I love it. The heavy sweet and nutmegy flavor is a must-have for me every year. And because it has such a distinct, powerful taste, it works amazingly as a front-stage ingredient in other recipes.

Today I’m bringing you a special recipe from the kitchen at Wildfire: Egg Nog Bread Pudding. This holiday dessert special is luscious and rich, served with an espresso cup of freshly made egg nog. It’s a spoonful of holiday cheer times two!

Egg Nog Bread Pudding
(Serves 12)

-1 cup brown sugar
-1 cup granulated sugar
-4 eggs
-1 tablespoon vanilla extract
-pinch of nutmeg
-1 quart egg nog
-2 cups whipping cream
-1 loaf (1 pound, 12 ounces) challah bread, cut ¾-inch thick

Mix brown sugar, granulated sugar, eggs, vanilla, nutmeg, egg nog and cream in a mixing bowl to make a custard. Cut bread slices into 16 cubes per slice. Gently fold bread into custard. Let stand 20 minutes. Place the mixture into a 9×13-inch pan. Smooth the top and cover with plastic wrap and foil.

Place bread pudding pan into a bain marie (water bath) and bake at 350 degree oven for 45 minutes. Uncover and continue to bake for 15-20 minutes until done and temperature is 190 degrees.

Let rest for 15 minutes, then cut into 12 squares. Serve at room temperature. 

Thanks, Wildfire, for sharing the recipe!

You can find this egg nog bread pudding on Wildfire’s dessert menu — theirs is served with warm caramel sauce and whipped cream and a small cup of freshly made egg nog, as pictured.

Wildfire is located on the 3rd floor of Tysons Galleria in McLean. Call 703-442-9110 for reservations.

-Julia Harbo

Freeze Jag: Gruto’s

Posted by Warren Rojas / Saturday, August 20th, 2011

August is historically the steamiest, stickiest, sweatiest month of the year–brilliant move, Founding Fathers, building the nation’s capital on a swamp–in these parts. We’ve tracked down 31 frozen treats (one a day for the rest of this month) to provide you with some temporary, and often insanely delicious, relief.

The place: Gruto’s – 141 W. Main St., Purcellville; 540-338-1983

The prescription: Triple Decker Belly Wrecker. Never mind that less is more nonsense. At Gruto’s, more is most definitely more. As in more soft serve. More toppings. And more public acclaim for ingesting heart-stopping amounts of each. All of which added up to my having to try their famous Triple Decker Belly Wrecker, a mountain of cold, creamy soft serve–vanilla, chocolate, twist and a rotating specialty flavor–interspersed with overlapping layers of confectionary bliss. I elected for a fiendishly chocolaty construct cobbling together a crunchtacular mix of crushed oreos (base level), candy coated m&m’s (middle tier) and crumbled peanut butter cups (top of the world, ma!).

Needless to say, I never reached the bottom of the Styrofoam cup. Which means I have LOTS of work to do if I wish to join the ranks of the 2011 Triple Decker Belly Wrecker club (check out the mounted plaques for the current crop of soft serve crushing royalty; confidence is distressingly low I’ll ever attain “Beast Buster” status). And precious little time to do it (staff counts down the days till “the end of soft serve” season on a chalkboard).



Keep tabs on the month long Freeze Jag trek here.

Freeze Jag: Sinmobile

Posted by Warren Rojas / Thursday, August 18th, 2011

August is historically the steamiest, stickiest, sweatiest month of the year–brilliant move, Founding Fathers, building the nation’s capital on a swamp–in these parts. We’ve tracked down 31 frozen treats (one a day for the rest of this month) to provide you with some temporary, and often insanely delicious, relief.

The place: Sinmobile –; @Sinplicity1

The prescription: Mango madness sinwich. Sinplicity founder Leland Atkinson has been a fixture at the Falls Church farmers market for quite some time now. But he’s only recently taken his sweets catalog on the road, dishing out artisan ice creams, sorbets and baked goods on random streets from a self-styled “Sinmobile.” When we happened upon the mobile munchies depot, Atkinson’s paean to luscious fruits–lemon-ginger, blood orange, magical mojito, blackberry & cabernet–appeared to be in full swing. Which made the mango madness sinwich a no-brainer. The house made sandwich is a frosty fruit fiesta featuring a happy marriage of mango sorbet and lemon custard (seriously citrusy, with a dose of tropicality) nestled between lime-infused macaroons. The wondrous cookies were flaky around the edges, cakey towards the center and pleasantly tart throughout.

Non-sorbet sinwiches include: the javariffic mud pie (fudge-cappucino ice cream surrounded by mocha macaroons) and willpower straining cow pie (brownie-studded chocolate ice cream bound by chocolate macaroons). Oh yeah, and they’ve got many of their signature “sins du jour”–dark Belgian chocolate, Madagascar vanilla, salty caramel, Thai peanut, strawberry shortcake, snickerdoodle were all on tap when we swung by–too.



Keep tabs on the month long Freeze Jag trek here.

Freeze Jag: Lazy Sundae

Posted by Warren Rojas / Monday, August 1st, 2011

August is historically the steamiest, stickiest, sweatiest month of the year–brilliant move, Founding Fathers, building the nation’s capital on a swamp–in these parts. We’ve tracked down 31 frozen treats (one a day for the rest of this month) to provide you with some temporary, and often insanely delicious, relief.

The place: Lazy Sundae – 112 N. West St., Falls Church; 703-532-5299;

The prescription: Head in the Clouds ice cream. This surreal looking scoop of dyed vanilla ice cream interwoven with marshmallow fluff is so near and dear to Lazy Sundae co-founder Rebecca Tax’s heart, she got a tattoo of the sky blue sweet (David Tax, her brother and business partner, chose to get inked with a mocha chip cone in honor of their mom). The stuff is crazy sweet, hitting you with an intoxicating rush of gooey-rich fluff, while the underlying vanilla is super creamy and extra buttery. “Our ice cream is made approximately five days after being in a cow,” David assured me, tipping his hat to Shenandoah’s Pride Dairy for the exquisite raw material.

Lazy Sundae boasts all kinds of eclectic flavors–sprinkle of sunshine (littered with rainbow sprinkles), honey baklava (baklava folded into honey vanilla ice cream), strawberry cookies and cream (strawberry ice cream bolstered by crushed oreos), peppermint (their debut flavor back in 1996 and perennial top seller)–but they tend to only stick around for a short time. ” We rotate our entire inventory every two days or so,” David suggested.

Meanwhile, they’ve already prepped their next generation temptations: fried oreo and fried rice krispy treat sundaes. “We will be showcasing this at the Beach Shack this week and adding it at Lazy soon!” David pledged.

You have been warned.



Keep tabs on the month long Freeze Jag trek here.

Red Meat: Warren Brown

Posted by Warren Rojas / Tuesday, July 5th, 2011

It’s been a decade since local cheflebrity Warren Brown dropped the legal briefs and picked up a rolling pin:

(Image: Joshua Cogan)

He’s since opened several bakeries/cafes, helped pioneer the reality cooking show/travelogue concept and has penned a few cookbooks (with at least one more already in the works for next spring).

WR: Butter. Sugar. What other culinary elements could you not live without?

WB: It’s equipment for me. My mixer. My stainless steel skillets (always skip the non-stick). My coffee grinder – to mill spices and whole grains.

WR: What’s the very first dish you ever mastered? How long did it take? Do you still make it today?

WB: Sweet & Sour Chicken. Haven’t made it in years, but first did it in high school. I remember feeling especially proud when I got the recipe right and successfully fried the chicken strips, and when I tasted the sauce and liked it!

WR: What seasonal ingredient(s) get your creative juices flowing?

WB: Stone fruits

WR: My latest cookbook obsession is …

WB: Moro–kinda old, by Sam and Sam Clark, published in England. Love the foods they share.

WR: What’s the most challenging dish you’ve ever attempted? Would you make it again?

WB: Timpano – after the main dish from the movie Big Night. I’ve made it twice, both times was years ago. It was an all day affair and making the sheet of pasta was a real work out!

WR: If I could the spend the day working alongside any local chef, I’d love to collaborate with …

WB: Darren Norris @ Kushi.

WR: What’s the easiest/quickest–but still wholly satisfying–meal you make for yourself?

WB: Tough one. I like scones in the morning with scrambled eggs. Scones with oats and raisins and multi-grain.

Nothing is measured so I don’t really know measurements, but roughly speaking:

1 1/4 cup AP flour
1/4 sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons flax seeds, crushed
2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons cornmeal
1 tablespoon rice flour (white or brown)
1/2 cup nuts (users choice; I prefer almonds)
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup oats

Put everything in the mixer bowl and stir on low speed, 30 seconds.

3 ounces unsalted butter, cold and in pieces

Cut into flour mix with mixer running.

Soy milk, milk or cream (user’s choice)

Add in a little at a time until the dough comes off the side of the bowl and clumps on the beater. Dough should barely be tacky.

Press to 1/2 inch, shape and cut into triangles, I like mine with 2 inch sides.

Crack one egg and splash vanilla or rum (or frangelico) into the mixer bowl. Toss in scones a few at a time and toss with egg to cover liberally.

Place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper/Silpat.

Sprinkle with sugar and sea salt to taste–lightly.

Bake in 375F preheated oven for 15 minutes. Should lift off baking sheet with no effort and be golden across top and lightly golden on bottom.

WR: In the next six months you won’t want to miss my …

WB: New line of cupcakes we’re test running this summer in our Summer Loving freestyle cupcake-a-thon. Strawberry cheesecake, Key Lime pie are just two early eye catchers.

WR: It’s quitting time. I’m pouring myself …

WB: This summer, a Peak Organic pale ale, or a cold glass of white wine.


Key Lime pie cupcakes sound like a little slice of heaven. Can’t wait to try one…

Come back next Tuesday for another helping of Red Meat.


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