My last Quick Bites item concerned sugar-free foods that my family has incorporated rather painlessly into our diet.
I received some good feedback on that column, which I plan to share in the not-so-distant future — so if you have a good tip about a great sugar-free product, let me know.
In the meantime, I'm returning, with a vengeance, to the world of sugar-full foods.
In fact, sugar is a major thematic element at Sweet Tooth Fairy (www.thesweettoothfairy.com), a chain of treat bakeries that seems to be opening one store after another along the Wasatch Front — as well as in St. George.
And no wonder, say I. The uses of sugar at Sweet Tooth Fairy are many and varied, creative and interesting, but (almost miraculously) not excessive.
After a weekend of indulging in a tour of the Sweet Tooth Fairy menu, I can honestly say I did not taste one thing that seemed sweet for the sake of sweetness. Flavors were thoughtful and well-blended, several things were actually less sweet than I expected and I had a few things I'd never seen anywhere else.
Take Sweet Tooth Fairy's famous Cakebites, which have earned national attention. When I asked the girl behind the counter what those thick little disks were, she explained that the inside is a mixture of mashed-up cake and frosting in various flavors, the outside either chocolate or candy coating.
Though this did not sound delicious at first, one bite instantly changed my mind. Cakebites are more like truffles than anything else: super-rich inside with a texture just a little softer than a truffle.
We took a dozen Cakebites ($10, or $1 each) and some cupcakes (more on those in a minute) for dessert with some friends of ours. The assertive mint-chocolate Cakebites were a consensus favorite, though I also loved the sea-salt and caramel ones for their strongly contrasting flavors.
The other flavor we tried, Key lime, was the only thing I ate at Sweet Tooth Fairy that seemed a bit TOO sweet, possibly because I had expected more lime flavor.
The cupcakes ($2.35 each) had that tender-but-substantial texture that indicates quality in ingredients and preparation. We tried the strawberry shortcake, gently and appealingly flavored, as well as the ever-popular chocolate-frosted chocolate cupcake.
But my two favorites were the amusing and delicious snickerdoodle cupcake, with caramel-colored icing and a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar; and the wonderful banana-chocolate chip cupcake, like the best banana bread you've ever had — with frosting.
We also got cookies (95 cents each, $11 for a baker's dozen) with lots of those subtle touches that elevate a product from good to special. The chocolate chip and chocolate-chip shortbread cookies featured both dark- and milk-chocolate chips, plus buttery, barely sweet pastry to show them off.
Sweet Tooth Fairy's "black and white" cookie, unlike the famous New York version, is a chocolate cookie with vanilla frosting. My little son, who claims that the only "normal" flavor is "bamilla," was delighted with the vanilla-frosted sugar cookies.
But my surprise favorite, because I expected to find it overwhelming, was the chocolate-frosted chocolate cookie, a hardly sweet but deeply chocolatey cookie, firm and chewy, with truly excellent chocolate frosting that was one step from fudge.
Stacey Kratz is a freelance writer who reviews restaurants for the Deseret News.