By: Stephanie Lee
dessert [dəˈzərt] NOUN : a sweet concoction that makes your heart smile and your taste buds dance
Okay, maybe that’s not Merriam-Webster’s official definition. It is, however, the way I experience this beautiful thing known as dessert.
Over the past year, I’ve scooped, sipped, and slurped my way through Nashville’s dessert scene. And let’s just say my taste buds were dancin’ as I uncovered the city’s most splurge-worthy, lip-smacking, melt-in-your-mouth morsels of yum
So if you’re ready for the ultimate sugar rush, Music City style, read on.
Sweet Potato Cupcake - The Cupcake Collection
Bonuts - Biscuit Love
Fun to say and even more fun to eat, the bonut is an original creation from Biscuit Love in The Gulch. This masterpiece of southern fried perfection could be called a cross between a donut and a biscuit, but trust me - it’s so much more than that. The bonut starts off with Biscuit Love’s signature flakey buttery biscuit, fried to an oh-so-satisfying golden brown. Each piping hot bonut is rolled in sugar and served with blueberry compote and dreamy lemon curd mascarpone. The bright, tart punch of fruit paired with the decadence of a fried biscuit base is dessert perfection. In fact, my only qualm with bonuts is that they’re listed under the “To Share” category of Biscuit Love’s menu. I have never shared, nor do I intend to share, my order of bonuts. So if you’re dining with me, make sure you get your own :)
Photo: Biscuit Love
For me, sweet potatoes bring to mind the warm flavors of fall and sweet moments spent sharing Thanksgiving meals with the people I love. Somehow, The Cupcake Collection has managed to mix all of that nostalgic goodness into a cupcake.
Their sweet homage to a southern staple is dense and satisfying, yet every bite has the delicate crumb that epitomizes a good cupcake. That alone is enough to draw me to this cupcake heaven, which is inside an adorable purple brick house in Germantown. Yet the true siren call of The Cupcake Collection’s sweet potato cupcake is its flavor. There’s a hint of fall spice and just enough sweetness to allow the cupcake’s namesake to shine through. For me, the crowning glory of this dessert is a generous helping of cream cheese frosting (which I could eat by the bucketful!). So the next time you’re in Germantown don’t walk, run, to The Cupcake Collection for your own piece of southern pride.
Photo: The Cupcake Collection
Craft Cookie Dough - Sam T. Spoonlicker’s World Famous Cookie Dough & Other Curious Confections
It’s a good thing that Sam T. Spoonlicker’s wasn’t around when the cookie was invented- there wouldn’t have been an ounce of dough left for the baking sheet. After you’ve had your first bite of their delectable cookie dough creations, you’ll understand what I mean.
Each of Sam T. Spoonlicker’s craft cookie dough flavors is loaded with irresistible, buttery goodness that makes licking the bowl an absolute necessity. While their most popular flavor “Grandma T’s Original Spoonlickin’ Chocolate Chip” definitely lives up to its name, my particular order for a double scoop of yum includes S’more Than A Feeling and Like a Vegan in their signature pink waffle cone. S’more than a Feeling makes my dessert-heart melt with campfire-toasted marshmallow, crushed graham crackers, and chunky chocolate chips stirred into a cookie dough base that’s dense, decadent, and delightful in every way. Like a Vegan is a chocolatey rush that’s completely different, yet equally amazing. The chocolate brownie batter cookie dough melts in your mouth as swirls of rich bourbon caramel beckon you to another soul-satisfying spoonful.
Sam T. Spoonlicker’s is right on point when they describe their cookie dough as a “heaping’ helping’ of sweet, buttery goodness;” but I’d also call it a heapin’ helpin’ of pure happiness.
S’mores - The Bang Candy Co.
Photo: Sam T. Spoonlicker
The Bang Candy Co. is a sublime candy shop that has turned coloring outside the lines into a tantalizing, tasty art form. From setting up shop in the old Marathon Motor Works building to creating marshmallows in flavors like Rose Cardamom and Maple Bacon Bourbon, nothing about this artisanal candy shop is ordinary. This is especially true of their toasted-to-order s’mores. Each ooey-gooey marshmallow sandwich starts with dark Belgian chocolate and homemade shortbread cookies. Then they layer in crave-worthy, extraordinarily fluffy marshmallows. And if that wasn’t enough, The Bang Candy Co. team carefully toasts the marshmallow until it reaches a state of caramelized euphoria. While Chocolate Chili and Vanilla are superb mallow choices, I usually go with Toasted Almond Coconut. The combination of toasted coconut, chocolate, and shortbread never fails to make my inner child a happy camper.
The Hopscotch Milkshake - The Grilled Cheeserie
Photo: The Bang Candy Co.
There are milkshakes and then there are milkshakes. And these are the latter. Every milkshake at The Grilled Cheeserie is a creamy, dreamy concoction that’s nostalgic, comforting, and full of homespun pride. With locally sourced milk and decadent ice cream from Nashville’s Pied Piper Creamery, this kind of milkshake magic can literally only be made in Nashville. And I love that.
With so many amazing flavors to choose from, it’s almost enough to give you brain freeze. While I love The Peanut Butter Cup and Frozen Mexican Hot Chocolate, my go-to shake is The Hopscotch. Fresh bananas, housemate butterscotch, and brown sugar caramelized bananas join forces with vanilla ice cream to create a milkshake that makes saving room for dessert non-negotiable.
Apple Pie - Sweet Creations Bakery
Photo: The Grilled Cheeserie
Pies can make me feel like the main character in Goldilocks and The Three Bears. Some pies are too sweet, some not sweet enough. The crusts too buttery or too dry. My quest throughout Nashville for the “just right” pie reached a satisfying conclusion with the open-faced apple pie at Sweet Creations Bakery. The apples are perfectly crisp with a crust that is buttery, flakey and light. There’s a hint of cinnamon spice and enough sweetness to complement the tartness of the apples, without overwhelming them. And while I love a good crumb topping, in this case a top crust or crumble is completely unnecessary. The filling is just that good.
Photo: Sweet Creations Bakery
So if you’re not in the mood to scavenge through The Three Bears’ belongings, swing by Sweet Creations Bakery to find a pie that’s “just right” in every way.
Stephanie Lee is the Chief Sweet Officer and owner of Sweeten the Day. When she’s not designing new gift sets or scoping out Nashville’s best desserts, you can usually find her hiking through Percy Warner, sipping a really strong cup of coffee, or getting lost in a foreign country. Get a taste of sweet inspiration on Instagram @Sweeten_the_Day or check out SweetenTheDay.com.
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