The dessert world is vast, filled with inspired confectionary creation, nostalgic tradition, and reimagined ritual. Starting as children, dessert maintains a just-out-of-reach quality. Those magical dessert memories are so powerful, that young sweets eaters envision an adulthood that embodies the freedom to adopt an “eat dessert first” mentality for the rest of time.
Desserts are diverse in flavor, texture, and even temperature, and put simply — Americans love dessert. The Institute of Food Technologists reports that 57% of American adults eat dessert after a meal at least once a week (via IFT). Recent bakery operations suggest the same, with a boom of niche cupcake parlors, donut hubs, and ice cream shops generating local traction and excitement on city corners across the country. Some are modern, some are steeped in tradition, and others are passed down from generations and coastlines. The best desserts can define a city. So, let’s take a note from our childhood fantasies, chase the country’s most traveled powdered sugar trails, and eat the best desserts in the U.S.
1. Classic Cannoli at Termini Brothers Bakery in Philadelphia
Biting into a cannoli is a transformational eating experience, and Termini Brothers Bakery in South Philadelphia nurtures a deep-rooted local Italian tradition with true cannoli perfection. Traditional Sicilian cannoli feature fresh sheep’s milk ricotta and a delicate fried pipe-shaped shell that houses a creamy, rich, and sweet cheese filling (via Bon Appétit). A multitude of textures sets the cannoli apart from any other dessert.
Termini Brothers captures the true magic of the cannoli … a crisp and delicate pastry shell, subtly sweet ricotta filling, and intentional timing. Every Termini Bros. cannoli is filled on-spot to prevent soggy shells and promote that quintessential crunch before sinking into a creamy texture explosion. James Beard Foundation “Rising Star Chef of the Year” awardee and Philadelphia pastry chef Camille Cogswell has nothing but praise for these South Philly cannoli, revealing, “These are the cannoli that made me like cannoli” (via Food and Wine). Out-of-state cannoli lovers can still enjoy one of the best desserts in the U.S. by ordering online—a small package includes 6 cannoli shells and 2 pastry bags with cannoli filling.