What is it about the onset of cooler weather that makes one crave sweets? Perhaps it’s because this was the season your mother decided to bake like a madwoman, treating the family to cinnamon rolls every Sunday morning and still-warm cookies with ice-cold milk after school. Perhaps it’s because homemade sweets and baked goods always make the best start-of-the-year gifts, whether it be for your teacher and classmates or to bring a little joy into the gray-lit drudgery at the office. Or perhaps it’s the simple desire to add an uplifting, dreamlike moment to an otherwise dreary day.
The leaves are changing colors and falling from the trees, which provides an excellent excuse to delve into the rich, chocolate joy that is the “Brookie” at District Hand Pie & Coffee. Biting into this chewy, caramel-laced, flaky-crusted concoction is just what you’ve been dreaming about, and just what’s needed to pick you up after a grueling morning spent raking up said leaves that the neighbor’s gardener lazily blew into your yard. A frothy, hot cappuccino made from 1000 Faces Coffee likely wouldn’t go amiss either.
Got a flat from all of the streetcar-line construction on St. Claude? That should be enough impetus to stop at St. Roch Market to engage in a moment of bliss at The Sweet Spot. Let your eyes linger over the Strawberry Mousse, the giant “Who Dat” cookies made with chocolate and peanut butter and the thick slices of red velvet cake, but stop at the Key Lime Pie. It’s dense, tart and sweet, with a texture like cheesecake and a buttery graham cracker crust that’ll have you licking the plate.
After feeding your laundry quarters into a parking meter on Girod Street on a rainy afternoon with no umbrella, you return to your car mere seconds after the meter expired only to find a bright orange ticket gracing the windshield. Just turn around and walk straight into Willa Jean for a plate of sweet dreams in the form of chocolate chip cookies. These aren’t ordinary cookies by any stretch of the imagination; made with Valrhona chocolate, these crispy discs of bliss are served warm with a tin cup of Tahitian vanilla milk and, as lagniappe, a beater of cookie dough. You’ll be in such a state of ecstasy, it’s likely you’d even smile at the parking officer who penalized you.
Finally, you’ve spent a long day whittling away precious hours in the jury lounge at the imposing Criminal District Court, endlessly awaiting your duty while squashed between an older gentleman who desperately needs a shower and a young lady listening to Justin Bieber who has jacked the volume so high you can clearly hear his ear-searing “melodies” despite her use of earbuds. After you escape this city-induced torture, cross Tulane Avenue and Broad Street as quickly as possible for a luscious retreat into a “Brie-Licious” beignet at The Big Cheezy. One bite of caramelized apples with pecans and brie atop a grilled beignet should help you forget that you must return to the courthouse again the day after tomorrow…at least momentarily. And sometimes, a moment is just long enough.