2215 E. NORTH AVE., 3948 N. MARYLAND AVE. | $2.25-$7
Blooming Lotus Bakery’s raison d’être is to craft gluten-free baked goods that are tender, rich, flavorful and satisfying. That used to be a rarity. But Blooming Lotus has cracked the code on texture, often the bane of gluten-free sweets (chewy cookies; cakes that are light and tender, not heavy and tough). And this bakery has an audience – so much so that it recently opened a second location in Shorewood to complement its original East Side spot. Try the whoopie pies (rotating flavors), cupcakes and specialty bars like tiramisu.
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2. Sugar Cube
Sugar Cube’s doughnuts are hip to be square. With four corners and a square “hole” in the middle, these vegan, yeast-raised pastries have been available weekends at On the Bus in the Milwaukee Public Market and at Bayshore Town Center. The tender, yeasty marvels with a sweet, come-hither aroma have been selling out in a flash, so I had to pre-order a four pack for pick-up at On the Bus to get my mitts on them. Flavors change monthly and range from simple, sensational glazed to Nutella, with a chocolate hazelnut glaze and crushed hazelnuts.
3840 N. FRATNEY ST. | $8-$26
Burke’s Candy & Ingredients is a 92-year-old, family-run legend. All of their confections are made in the factory/shop on North Fratney Street in Riverwest. Burke’s is especially known for divine butter toffee and buttery chocolate-dipped caramels, but the mint meltaways and Flying Ts (aka turtles) are also outstanding. Put together a box of these treasures for your sweetie.