Garner Beggs, co-owner of Duchess Bake Shop, says that the bakery doesn’t have a secret when it comes to its baked goods. “We just use really quality ingredients,” says Beggs. Ingredients from around the world are used to hand-craft pies, cakes, croissants, tarts, eclairs, meringues, scones and, of course, the forever popular macarons. Every day, about 1,000 macarons are eaten nearly as quickly as they’re hand-piped by the 16 full-time staff members. “We always sell out. We can’t just open a box, so we just make as many as we can, and watch them go,” says Beggs. But it’s not just the macarons that cause long lines. “I think we’d have a small riot if we took the key lime pie off the menu,” he says. Duchess recently added the tarte Montreal, which uses chocolate ganache, bourbon white chocolate and apricot jelly. “We use Jivara Valrhona chocolate; it’s the creme de la creme,” says Beggs. While the chocolate comes from France, it’s also available next door at the bakery’s sister store, Provisions by Duchess. So, anyone can get his or her hands on Beggs’s not-so-secret ingredient. -Caroline Barlott 10718 124 St., 780-488-4999, duchessbakeshop.com
Runner-Up: Tavern 1903
It might not count as dessert, but at this office we refer to Tavern 1903’s Old Fashioned as “whiskey candy” because of how smoothly and sweetly it goes down. But, for those with a sweet tooth, the dessert menu at the Jasper Avenue eatery will be a highlight. The Glenlivet infused butterscotch with the salty-sweet candied pretzels is a dream in a jar. The Jack Daniel’s chocolate cake is moist and decadent, and the cheesecake parfait is cool and refreshing. The maple-bacon cider doughnuts are like perfect bites of autumn on a plate; they are warm and fresh. -Steven Sandor
9802 Jasper Ave., 780-424-0152,
Honourable Mention: Bon Ton Bakery
The counter at Bon Ton Bakery extends across the store with the glass case underneath housing desserts that go far beyond apple pie. It’s true, you will still find this bakery staple, but here, the pie marries apples with plums and an intricately woven crust. Next to the pies are walnut rolls, expertly crafted cakes and artisanal cookies. Reminiscent of gingerbread, the Mexican chocolate cookie pairs well with the white and dark chocolate drizzled on the outside. The tarte citron has a sharp bite of lemon, while the pear amandine has a softer crust that encloses a subtle and delicious pear filling. -C.B. 8720 149 St., 780-489-7717, bonton.ca
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