Boutique Sweets

Food / September 15, 2016

Chocolate. Caramel. Whipped cream. Frosting.

The mere mention of these decadent delights can excite taste buds and create images of fantastic and irresistible desserts.

From homemade fudge to European crepes, Hot Springs has the sweet tooth department covered. In addition to bakeries and cupcake shops, there are lesser-known destinations with an array of sugary flavors to satisfy every craving.

Zoë’s in the District

• Zoë’s in the District, 510 Ouachita Ave., is run by Ben Dodson. This second location opened in January, and is under the umbrella of his

Bread pudding with warm vanilla bourbon sauce at Zoe's in the District

Bread pudding with warm vanilla bourbon sauce at Zoe’s in the District

mother’s store, Zoë’s Eatery on Malvern Avenue.

Customers can enjoy items from the lunch menu, then sit back and treat themselves to the popular Chocolate Cake with Cream Cheese Filling, or sample the award-winning Lemon Buttermilk Pie.

The District Molten Brownie is Dodson’s creation, and exclusive to

the Ouachita Avenue shop. Its deep fudgy flavor is enhanced by a whisper of raspberry liqueur, serving to turn up the chocolate’s volume.

His personal favorite is the Bread Pudding with Warm Vanilla Bourbon Sauce, and other temptations include a Coconut Raspberry Cake, Hummingbird Cake, French Lemon Coconut
Pie, Blackberry/Raspberry Pie, and a Pecan Shortbread Cookie. The menu’s sweet endings are rotated, so not each is available every day. And slices of cakes and pies can be ordered in three different sizes.

Dodson accepts orders for a whole cake or pie, but needs at least 24 hours’ notice. Call 609-9333. Hours are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday.

Alexa’s Creperie

• Alexa’s Creperie, 173 Marion Anderson Road, has owners Sergiy and Yana Polyakov at the helm. The two have been serving both savory and sweet offerings since opening in August 2015. Their crepes,

Alexa's Favorite from Alexa's Creperie

Alexa’s Favorite from Alexa’s Creperie

which are a tender, thin pancakes, are made with only fresh ingredients and always prepared to order.

The signature Alexa’s Favorite is their top seller. It combines strawberries, blackberries and blueberries with thick whipped cream, then gets a dusting of powdered sugar and drizzle of house-made strawberry sauce.

Customers can choose from menu combinations, like the fresh lemon and sugar crepe, or build their own creation from fillings like Nutella, banana, apple, caramel, ice cream, coconut or almonds.

Alexa’s can make gluten-free crepes by request, but time should be allowed for the batter to be mixed.

Hours are 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. To place large to-go orders, call 760-4799.

Kollective Coffee+Tea

• Kollective Coffee+Tea, 110 Central Ave., is owned and run by Agnes Galecka-Rogers, Kevin Rogers and their son, Konrad.

Since April 2015, they’ve been part of the downtown heartbeat, pairing a variety of unique coffees and teas with organic pastries, along with locally-sourced sandwiches and salads.

Regularly available artisanal treats include chocolate-dipped macaroons, muffins and biscotti, with indulgent cupcake flavors of Double Chocolate with Chocolate Frosting and Carrot with Cream Cheese and Molasses Frosting. Their gluten-free Banana and Pineapple Cupcake with Cream Cheese Frosting is also a big hit.

Additionally, Kollective bakes mini cheesecakes, cannoli, seasonal cookies and “The Best Lemon Bars.”

They accept large orders ahead of time, and each cupcake flavor can be specially made into a cake. Call 701-4000.

Hours are 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.


• Kilwins, 264 Central Ave., is run by David and Peggy Carroll.

He added candy-making into his life in May 2015, and now supplies the shop with caramel corn, nut brittles, caramel apples and nine varieties of fudge, all made on-premises.

Caramel corn, caramel chews and peanut brittle at Kilwins

Caramel corn, caramel chews and peanut brittle at Kilwins

They also sell Kilwins-exclusive ice creams, chocolates and sugar-free items, all shipped fresh from the franchise’s home in Michigan. Their biggest seller is Turtle Fudge, made with pecans and buttery caramel.

Seasonal treats include lemon or key lime fudge in summertime, peppermint fudge at Christmas, and chocolate-dipped strawberries around Valentine’s Day.

Call 701-4464 for large orders or gift bags and tins.

Hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 1-4:30 p.m. Sunday.

Story and photography by Lorien E. Dahl

Lorien Dahl

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September 15, 2016