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16 sweet spots to get your sugar fix

Bigfoot's Little Donuts in Huntsville and Madison serve minis in flavors like Spicy Churro and Lemon Bar. Photo by Mary Fehr

Just when you thought that life in Alabama couldn’t get any sweeter, confectioners across the state invent desserts, perfect recipes, open shops, and win awards. Their fortes range from luxe fine chocolate to gooey, over-the-top exercises in excess. But they all have a secret ingredient in common: creativity.

From diminutive doughnuts in Huntsville to marvelous macarons in Mobile, we narrowed down Alabama’s plentiful dessert options to a sweet 16 spots for your next sugar fix. 

1.  Chocolatá Artisanal Chocolatier

A variety of wrapped and unwrapped bars from Chocolatá Artisanal Chocolatier

Find Chocolatá Artisanal Chocolatier's wow-worthy bars at proprietress Kathy D'Agostino's chic new digs in Avondale. Photo by Graham Yelton

Devotees swear by the fair-trade bars and bonbons at Chocolatá Artisanal Chocolatier’s chic new digs in Birmingham’s Avondale area.

But owner Kathy D’Agostino’s vibrant chocolate barks can be the most eye-catching among the ever-changing displays. Watch for the pretty pink combination of rose and strawberry in her signature Goddess Bark or the rainbow-colored fruit jellies ensconced in her Unicorn Bark. With boutique flower shop Gaia Florals right next store, this is a 1-stop spot for date night shopping.

A cross section of chocolate bark showing fruit jellies inside

Birmingham boutique chocolatier Chocolatá creates fair-trade bars and inventive barks like the colorful, fruit jelly–studded Unicorn Bark. Photo by Graham Yelton

You may also like: How to have a magical visit to Birmingham

2.  Bigfoot’s Little Donuts

Three aluminum trays holding mini donuts with a variety of toppings

Mini donuts topped with fruit, sauces, glazes, and more are served fresh and hot at Bigfoot’s Little Donuts’ locations in Huntsville and Madison. Photo by Mary Fehr

Proving big flavors come in small packages, the shop—named for everyone’s favorite cryptid—whips up fresh-to-order mini doughnuts topped imaginatively with fruit, sauces, glazes, and creams.

A recent expansion means fans of Bigfoot’s Little Donuts can pick up warm boxes at 2 locations: Huntsville and Madison. An ever-rotating selection of dozens of wild flavor combos—hello, Lemon Bar, Spicy Churro, and Andes Mint—means there’s always something new to savor.

You may also like: Huntsville’s Craft Coffee Trail offers a caffeinated tour through the city

3.  Hope’s Cheesecake

More than a quarter century of attention to detail has made Hope’s Cheesecake a Gulf Shores icon for good reason. We’re talking primo ingredients, innovative oven techniques, and a family recipe imported straight from New York.

Keep it classic or go for special flavors such as Reese’s or Strawberry Amaretto. Either way, the small-batch cheesecakes from Hope’s are perfect for wowing at a dinner party or enjoying as a late-night treat on the patio.

You may also like: A fun family vacation on Alabama’s Gulf Coast

4.  K&J’s Elegant Pastries

A milkshake topped with a large slice of red velvet cake

The team behind K&J‘s Elegant Pastries’ towering milkshake concoctions takes garnish to new heights, adding flourishes like slabs of red velvet and cheesecake. Photo by Cre8live Studios

Mile-high milkshakes topped with s’mores, cotton candy, miniature ice cream sandos, and other sweet accoutrements helped put K&J’s Elegant Pastries on the national map. Just ask the Travel Channel or Food Network, both of which have featured owner Kristal Bryant’s Insta-fabulous concoctions.

A recent relocation to uptown Birmingham gives fans even easier access to the mountainous desserts along with the equally over-the-top cupcakes and special-occasion cakes.

A milkshake piled high with candy-studded whipped cream, cotton candy, and a cupcake

Why stop at a milkshake when you can have a smorgasbord of sweets at Birmingham’s K&J’s Elegant Pastries? Photo by Cre8live Studios

5.  Mo’Bay Beignet Company

Have you noticed the beignet boom sweeping the bottom half of Alabama? We have Mo’Bay Beignet Company to thank for the fried-dough phenomenon. Launched in Mobile in 2020, the made-to-order shop has since opened 2 food trucks and 7 additional brick-and-mortar locations, including in Tuscaloosa, Auburn, and Orange Beach.

Made as vehicles for owner Jaclyn Robinson’s signature syrups, the beignets are a bit heavier and less sweet than traditional takes. But purists rejoice: powdered sugar is still in the picture.

6.  Stone Hollow Farmstead

Oprah loves the heirloom popcorn kits, and the Strawberry Rose Drinking Vinegar just won runner-up in Garden & Gun’s prestigious Made in the South awards. But those with a sweet tooth will want to dip a spoon into Stone Hollow Farmstead’s indulgent dulce de leche dipping sauce, which also comes in chocolate caramel.

The folks behind the Harpersville farmstead suggest drizzling the velvety topping over ice cream, mixing it into coffee, or whipping up a salted caramel White Russian from the recipe on their website.   

7.  Morgan Price Candy Company

Inside Morgan Price Candy Company’s Decatur shop, piles of sugary nostalgia stack neatly on display trays. Just picture all the chocolate-dipped pretzels, caramel apples bedazzled with toppings, and licorice Scottie dogs.

But those in the know opt for the confection that launched Morgan Price to statewide stardom. The family’s praline candy, sold by the founders when the shop first opened its doors, is still a top seller more than 35 years later. 

8.  Ravello Ristorante

Turn dessert into a night on the town at Montgomery’s high-end hot spot that opened in downtown last year.

From classic tiramisu to panna cotta finished with pine nut brittle and chocolate mint, there’s plenty to dip a spoon into at Ravello. For more adult tastes, grab a table on the mezzanine and indulge in a cocktail mixed with the house-made limoncello (be sure to designate a driver if you plan to drink alcohol).

9.  Cakeology

Cupcakes displayed on a cake stand

Fedelia Crenshaw’s bakeshop, Cakeology in Montgomery, creates confections a pretty as they are tasty. Photo by Mary Fehr

Montgomery-based Cakeology’s Instagram reveals showstopper after showstopper worked up in cake and fondant, from the realistic pink crocodile purse to the gumball machine you almost want to drop a quarter into.  

Owner and designer Fedelia Crenshaw is the artist behind the apron. Since it takes a special occasion to slice up a 2-foot-tall edible dinosaur cake, she churns out plenty of bite-size concoctions for customers to enjoy on a regular Tuesday, too. Grab-and-go selections in her pink jewel box of a bakeshop include tempting cupcakes, pretty cake pops, and indulgent cake-and-ice cream cone mashups.

10.  Cream and Cones

A banana split with 3 scoops of ice cream, whipped cream, maraschino cherries, and a piece of waffle cone

Cream and Cones works sugary wonders with its 34 flavors of ice cream in Pelham. Photo by Mary Fehr

Want to boost that sugar high even higher? Swoop into Cream and Cones in Pelham, which just celebrated its 5-year anniversary. The menu ranges from the merely trendy—think rolled ice cream loaded with toppings—to the truly outrageous.

Among the family-run spot’s wilder concoctions? A cotton candy burrito where 3 scoops in any of the shop’s 34 flavors are rolled up in a layer of candy floss and sprinkled with colorful Fruity Pebbles.

11.  4AM Cookie Dough + Confectionery 

It’s dealer’s choice when it comes to feeding your inner Cookie Monster at 4AM Cookie Dough + Confectionery. There’s a wide selection of raw, edible cookie dough available by the scoop. And don’t forget the ice cream sandos or the perennial birthday party fave, the cookie cake.   

But the cutest way to sate those sugar cravings is with the Mobile shop’s scrumptious macarons. Rainbow colors match gourmet flavors such as crème brûlée, Earl Grey, and chocolate strawberry. Grab a batch of the macaron minis for that extra dose of squee!

12.  Sugar Rush Donut Company

For the tastiest example of upcycling, head to Sugar Rush Donut Company in Bayou La Batre. You’ll find Alabama’s favorite treats—king cakes, Thin Mints, even bowls of Cinnamon Toast Crunch—turned into fried and fluffy wonders.

For more than a decade, this local favorite has been known for adventurous doughnut flavors, epic sizes, and friendly service. It’s no wonder loyalists drive in from miles around. If a trip down to the bayou isn’t in the cards, pop into the shop’s Mobile location.

13.  Sweet Spun Cotton Candy

Kareemah Harvill holding a freshly spun cone of cotton candy

Kareemah Harvill's business Sweet Spun Cotton Candy offers more than a dozen flavors. Photo by Mary Fehr

Watch colorful clouds form right before your eyes at Sweet Spun Cotton Candy’s booth at the Ross Bridge Farmers Market in Hoover. If cotton candy calls to mind the standard pink and blue wisps, think again.

Owner Kareemah Harvill twists up confections in more than a dozen flavors, from sour apple to watermelon to piña colada. Since the family-run operation is mobile, Sweet Spun can bring its multitude of flavors and bespoke colors to you.

14.  The Breakup Cookie

What’s better than a cookie? A cookie with a backstory and a cult following. Known across Birmingham as “The Breakup Cookie,” the chunky, chocolatey confection topped with a pinch of flaky sea salt was first baked as a sweet letdown for a rejected beau.

You can always drop into OG retailer Church Street Coffee and Books in Birmingham to snag one out of its café case. But now admirers can bake their own batch at home, too, thanks to frozen dough shipped nationwide. Ex-boyfriend not included.

15.  Pizzelle’s Confections

Assorted chocolates in a gift box

Fine chocolate meets fine art at Pizzelle’s Confections, partly thanks to a chocolatier with a BFA in painting. Photo by Whitney Briscoe Photography

Feast with your eyes before you savor the tiny chocolate moons, hearts, gems, and Jackson Pollocks at Pizzelle’s Confections in Huntsville’s Lowe Mill Arts and Entertainment Market. The sister-run shop elevates fine chocolate bonbons to new artistic heights, partly thanks to a chocolatier with a BFA in painting and printmaking.

Some of Pizzelle’s more amorous offerings include the Grand Marnier—infused Date Night and the salted caramel Sexyback. Good luck narrowing it down to just 1 box.

You may also like: Why you should visit Huntsville, Alabama

16.  Naughty But Nice Kettle Corn Company

A pile of Naughy But Nice Kettle Corn Co. bags filled with popcorn

A festival favorite and Pepper Place Market regular, the kettle corn from Naughty But Nice offers snackers an irresistible blend of savory and sweet. Photo by Naughty But Nice Kettle Corn Co.

There’s only one answer to the question, “What’s poppin,’ Alabama?” It’s Birmingham-born popcorn sensation Naughty But Nice Kettle Corn Company, which is a festival favorite and a regular at The Market at Pepper Place. With a busy calendar of events around town, devoted “Popheads” follow the food truck everywhere.

Busy snackers can order the artisanal, small-batch creations online. There are traditional and unusual flavors such as jalapeño popper, strawberry vanilla, French toast, and green apple pie. Whether delivered by the bag or by the bucket, you’ll be eating this kettle corn by the handful.

Award-winning journalist, blogger, and travel pro Jessica Fender apologizes to dentists statewide for this article. See what other trouble she gets up to at

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