As 2016 comes to an end, I am taking time to reflect on an amazing year filled with even more amazing sweets. It’s safe to say this was my sweetest year yet! I’ve made my way through kitchens all over Miami and gained wonderful new friends along the way. Here are my top five favorite desserts of 2016 - in no particular order because having to pick only five was hard enough!
Banana Fosters Ice Cream Pie - The Dutch
This is easily the most complex dessert on this list - Banana Fosters Ice Cream, Milk Crumb, Blackberry Sorbet, Caramelia Chocolate Glaze, Crunchy Meringue, Mango-Fresno Sauce, Cilantro Syrup, Fresh Blackberries, Fresh Bananas, Fresh Cilantro. This pie is out of control AND I don’t even like banana very much, but after this pie entered my life earlier this year - I haven’t been able to get it out of my head. The flavors complement each other so well and melt in your mouth in the most perfect fashion. Josh Gripper knows his way around the pastry kitchen and I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next year!
All of the Cakes - Icebox Cafe
In 2007 Oprah named their Chocolate Delight cake as the “Best Cake in America” and in 2016, I am willing to back that. I know it doesn’t seem fair, but all of the cakes I tried this year from Icebox Cafe are making it to my list, it’s just not fair to pick one. Fresh baked and so many options - chocolate, coconut, pistachio, classic red velvet. There is absolutely no wrong choice. If you haven’t been yet, I suggest you make a beeline directly there, asap.
The Salty Donut x Knaus Berry Farm Collab Donut - The Salty Donut
It would be completely IMPOSSIBLE to talk ‘best of desserts’ without including The Salty Donut. It’s safe to say I’ve had 90% of the flavors Chef Max Santiago and his team have come up with in the past year and I’ve loved them all. But there’s something about the Knaus Berry Farm cinnamon roll donut (maybe the 2 hour line and the one per person limit) that makes me miss it so much. Luckily, a little birdy told me we can expect to see it again in 2017 and I’m so ready.
Gianduja Petit Gateau - Bachour Bakery + Bistro
A fancy and utterly fabulous name for a Chocolate Hazelnut and Passion Fruit Mousse Mini Cake. Brickell was #blessed this year when Antonio Bachour opened his bakery in the heart of our financial district. I hovered and stalked my way in before they were officially opened and after trying this dessert I would do it again and again - although I’m glad I no longer have to stalk around until they let me in. I’m in good company too, Bachour himself says it’s one of his favorites on the menu as well.
Nutella Brownie - Pubbelly Sushi (Dough Bar 305 available during Sunday Brunch)
The peeps at Pubbelly have had a huge year, from making their way to the mainland at The Langford downtown and soon (very soon) to Brickell City Centre and then even to out sea on the Norwegian Escape, but it’s great to see that their original spots in Sunset Harbour are still kicking butt. Especially when it comes to pastry chef Maria’s brunch desserts. The Nutella Brownie lit up my life in 2016 and might even be my favorite use of Nutella all year, which says a lot considering the quantities of Nutella I find myself eating regularly. I’m so thankful to know it will never find its way off the menu, because people would be expected to riot - not me, don’t worry ;) but I know they are out there.
I hope your year and holiday season are at least half as sweet as these amazing desserts I’ve been enjoying all year long! Looking forward to finding new gems of deliciousness in 2017 and am wishing everyone a wonderful holiday season! Hey, send me a message thru firstname.lastname@example.org if you think I may have missed a sweet spot this year. AND See you in 2017.