Woman eating pie with ice cream

10 Spots to Savor Minnesota's Sweetest Treats

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Get a taste of Minnesota's homemade pies / Progressman - adobe.stock.com

10 Spots to Savor Minnesota's Sweetest Treats

By James Norton

Whether your sweet tooth aches for cupcakes, ice cream, doughnuts or candy made by accomplished bakers and confectioners, you won't be disappointed in Minnesota. The sweet stuff can be found everywhere from the heart of downtown Minneapolis to the state's rural corners, where pie and old-school doughnuts really come into their own.

  1. Aroma Pie Shoppe, Whalan
    Women carrying trays of pies in Whalan

    A parade of pies from the Aroma Pie Shoppe in Whalan

    Aroma Pie Shoppe, Whalan

    The Lanesboro area is one of the most charming parts of the state, and the pie from the award-winning Aroma Pie Shoppe is one of the most charming things to eat near Lanesboro—homemade-quality pies made with love and creative attention to detail. New owners took over in 2015, and by all accounts they are both skilled and benevolent, bringing some exciting new varieties including the so-great-everyone-should-make-it Bluebarb, a mix of blueberry and rhubarb.

  2. Milkjam Creamery, Minneapolis
    An ice cream sandwich made with doughnuts

    Milkjam partnered with nearby Glam Doll Donuts for this delectable concoction / Milkjam Creamery

    Milkjam Creamery, Minneapolis

    One of the hottest ice cream spots in the country is Milkjam Creamery on Lyndale Avenue in Minneapolis. There, the culinary team behind the immediately adjacent World Street Kitchen dish up impeccably made flavors like Pillow Talk (strawberry sorbet with cardamon meringue), Cereal Killers (orange coriander milk with candied pebbles) and Poppin' Bottles (an alcohol-rich champagne sorbet; have your ID at the ready), which bring a ton of deliciousness and are not merely too cool for school.

    If you can't make up your mind, you can always order the $56 All of Them sundae—a scoop of every ice cream available in the house.

  3. World's Best Donuts, Grand Marais
    Pastry spread from World's Best Donuts in Grand Marais

    Stock up on sweets at World's Best Donuts in Grand Marais / @foodformyfamily

    World's Best Donuts, Grand Marais

    Are the doughnuts of World's Best Donuts legitimately the world's best? Many people think they're in the running. They're made fresh, and they're classic as they come — no bacon-bedecked long johns or doughnuts laced with caviar or wasabi. Ordering a few of these beauties plus a cup of coffee before taking a walk along the shore of Lake Superior should be a must-do on the list of any traveler coming through this beautiful part of the world.

  4. Red Wing Confectionery, Red Wing
    Red Wing Confectionery, Red Wing

    One of the state's great classic little candy shops, Red Wing Confectionery boasts locally made chocolates, salt water taffy, root beer floats, Cedar Crest ice cream, a full-service coffee bar and some of the best chocolate-covered graham crackers known to humanity.

Yellow sign that says Minnesota's Largest Candy Store

Minnesota's Largest Candy Store is a yellow beacon off the highway in Jordan

  1. Minnesota's Largest Candy Store, Jordan
    Minnesota's Largest Candy Store, Jordan

    Table after table of candy of all sorts — including retro faves and some European imports near and dear to the hearts of world travelers and Euro-natives alike — make the candy store at Jim's Apple Farm in Jordan one of the must-stop sites for Minnesota visitors with a sweet tooth. Living up to its name, this is a truly epic place.

  2. Spoon and Stable, Minneapolis
    A window of pastries at Bellecour restaurant in Wayzata

    Executive pastry chef Diane Moua makes mouths water at Spoon and Stable and Bellecour / @adamstevenhummel

    Spoon and Stable, Minneapolis

    Spoon and Stable has quickly become one of the state's most celebrated outposts for fine dining, a reputation it has built with every taste served from the first cocktail of the evening to the complimentary selection of baked treats in the petit four tins that hit your table at the end of the meal. James Beard Award semifinalist and executive pastry chef Diane Moua turns out subtle, lovely, eye-catching desserts that turn the close of a Spoon and Stable meal into a moment to cherish.

    Or for something more casual but every bit as decadent, you can also taste her creations at Bellecour, a French bistro and bakery located inside the Cooks of Crocus Hill retail store just across the street.

  3. Mojo Monkey Donuts, St. Paul
    Mojo Monkey Donuts shop in St. Paul

    Mojo Monkey is St. Paul's gourmet doughnut shop

    Mojo Monkey Donuts, St. Paul

    Mojo Monkey creates scratch doughnuts that are lovely to look at and greatly enhanced with liberal doses of pizzaz—everything from S'mores-filled Bismarcks to root beer-iced raised doughnuts to banana pecan fritters with caramel glaze. While Mojo's flavors and toppings are playful and push the envelope, they're not totally crazy; fans of classic dunkers will find many a doughnut to love here.

    Make a special trip on the weekend for 100 percent authentic New Orleans beignets.

  4. Daube's Bakery, Rochester
    Daube's Bakery, Rochester

    Founded more than 30 years ago, Daube's Bakery has become locally famous for its decadent cream cheese-frosted carrot cake and its take on the kolacky, a fruit-stuffed Czech pastry made with sour cream dough. This family-owned place makes its baked goods from scratch with real cream and butter, and its festive cakes have been the centerpieces for innumerable celebrations since the shop's opening.

  5. Lange's Cafe, Pipestone
    Art deco cafe sign with clock at Lange's Cafe in Pipestone

    Lange's Cafe is open 24/7/365 for pie lovers in Pipestone / Lisa Meyers McClintick

    Lange's Cafe, Pipestone

    Since 1956, Lange's Cafe has been doing business 365 days a year, slinging big portions of breakfast and dessert for townsfolk and tourists alike. The restaurant's sour cream raisin pie is a local legend, declared "the best sour cream raisin pie ever made" by road food writers Jane and Michael Stern.

  6. The Chocolate Ox, Nisswa
    Outside an ice cream shop at a Minnesota resort

    The Chocolate Ox is a must-stop for Brainerd Lakes area vacationers

    The Chocolate Ox, Nisswa

    "Every aisle is the candy aisle" is the slogan at The Chocolate Ox, a Brainerd Lakes vacationland staple that serves up a menu heavily focused on candy and ice cream. Massive jawbreakers, innumerable jelly bean varieties, chocolate truffles and more present a veritable minefield to dieters or anyone looking to skimp on dessert.

James Norton

James Norton is the author of Lake Superior Flavors (University of Minnesota Press), a guide to eating and drinking on the Lake Superior Circle Tour. He is currently the editor and publisher of Heavy Table.