Regional Dining Guide

Sweet Treats to Excite Your Senses

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Satisfy your sweet tooth this season with a trip to the local confectioner. We explore six must-see stops and some of their signature treats.

Your taste buds are calling. They’ve had enough of the same old sweets and are ready for the real deal: fresh, succulent, melt-in-your-mouth goodness that comes fresh from the kitchen. Just as you enjoy craft beers and local wines, you’ll find these sweet treats stand far beyond their run-of-the-mill competition.

Peanut Butter Graham

Not an item on the menu bears gluten or dairy, not even in these delicious chocolate-covered peanut butter graham cracker sandwiches. Two gluten-free graham crackers encapsulate a gooey organic peanut butter; the entire package is dipped in a succulent dark chocolate made in-house from fresh cocoa beans. Ethereal Confections, 113 S. Benton St., Woodstock.

Peanut Butter Graham, Ethereal Chocolates, Woodstock

Peanut Butter Graham, Ethereal Chocolates, Woodstock

A Scoop of Fruit

Kids scream for the fruitiest flavors of ice cream, especially the Superman: a flavorful combination of strawberry, lemon and blue raspberry. They also beg for Trash Can (with sprinkles, fudge, caramelized nuts and cookie dough) and Play-Doh (vanilla with cookie dough). Be sure to ask about the shakes, splits and birthday cakes, or the sorbet for a dairy-free option. Kaleidoscoops, 53 N. Williams St., Crystal Lake.

Superman ice cream, from Kaleidoscoops, in Crystal Lake

Superman ice cream, from Kaleidoscoops, in Crystal Lake

Breaking the Mold

The molded chocolates at Morkes come in a variety of shapes: golf clubs, polka-dot high-heels, an anatomically correct heart for your Valentine, a mini Oscar for your family dramaturg. This tasty cocktail glass is stacked with freshly made truffles produced in the Palatine kitchen. Morkes Chocolates, 11801 Main St., Huntley; 1890 N. Rand Road, Palatine.

Chocolate molds with truffles, from Morkes Chocolates, in Huntley and Palatine

Chocolate molds with truffles, from Morkes Chocolates, in Huntley and Palatine

Colorful Macaroons

Two cases here are full of delectable treats, from fruit tarts (a summer favorite) and Irish Coffee Cream Cups to the always-reliable cheesecake and 24 kinds of cookies. By far, the most colorful dessert you’ll find is the macaroon, which comes in a rainbow of flavors including lemon, orange, cherry almond (pictured here), blueberry mojito and raspberry pistachio. Sugar Hills Bakery, 644 S. Main St., Algonquin; 3235 W. Addison St., Chicago.

Macaroons from Sugar Hill Bakery, in Algonquin & Chicago

Macaroons from Sugar Hill Bakery, in Algonquin & Chicago

Sweet ‘N Salty Turtle

This dessert on a stick combines the tastiest elements of a turtle with the mild saltiness of a pretzel stick center. The pretzel is dipped in homemade caramel before it’s spun in a bath of salted, roasted pecans. The combination is finally dunked into a melty milk chocolate. If you crave still more salty/sweet combos, try the chocolate-covered applewood smoked bacon. Mellie’s Chocolate & Co., 2 N. Williams St., Crystal Lake.

Pretzel stick turtle, from Mellie's Chocolate & Co., in Crystal Lake.

Pretzel stick turtle, from Mellie’s Chocolate & Co., in Crystal Lake.

Homemade Gelato

Everything is made from scratch, even the bittersweet chocolate chips inside this homemade gelato. The smooth, dense texture and bursts of flavor will leave you wanting more. Do return, because new flavors are made fresh daily. Ask about popular exotic choices like RumChata, peperoncino, and Sriracha & mango. Pictured here: cinnamon rose, ciccolato bitter chip and raspberry chocolate chip. Graham’s 318 Coffeehouse and Graham’s Fine Chocolates, South Third Street, Geneva.

Homemade gelato, from Graham's 318 Coffeehouse and Graham's Fine Chocolates, in Geneva. Pictured: Cinnamon rose, ciccolato bitter chip, raspberry chocolate.

Homemade gelato, from Graham’s 318 Coffeehouse and Graham’s Fine Chocolates, in Geneva. Pictured: Cinnamon rose, ciccolato bitter chip, raspberry chocolate.

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