My thing for sweets started at a young age, when my mom would take me to get a frosted sprinkle cookie at Oak Park Mall in Overland Park. She passed on her love for dark chocolate and pastries to me. My husband, Andrew, who used to only eat chocolate chip cookies (why limit yourself) is now here for all my favorites. We’ve made it our personal mission over the years to track down our favorite desserts in KC. And today we’re sharing that list with you!
The Upper Crust | Downtown OP
If you have walked the streets of Downtown Overland Park, you know it’s like a quaint small town of its own. Downtown OP is home of the best Farmer’s Market in KC (IMO), Milagro Spa, and The Upper Crust, a pie bakery. I love that this pie bakery is the quintessential small business, owned by two sisters. As a testament to their popularity, they consistently sell out for holiday pre-orders, and often have lines long out the door on their “pie flight nights” or “PI day” (by the way, that’s 3.14 for those of us who forgot to listen in math class, but are here for this kind of pi(e)). While you’re in there, wave hello to sisters, Jan and Elaine!
Our personal favorites: Dutch apple and chocolate chess pie, shortbread and banana cookies (hers), Rhubarb and cherry pie (his), blueberry and bumbleberry (my mom’s)
Dolce Bakery | Prairie Village
Dolce Bakery is located in the Shops at Prairie Village at 71st & Mission, and is the exact part of Kansas City I picture myself living in one day! The Cape-Cod-style-homes surrounding these shops are charming and iconic. The shopping center is full of small businesses, and feels as close to a Hallmark movie as I have ever gotten. With happy dogs walking through the streets, colorful pots out front of stores, and locally owned restaurants, the Shops at Prairie Village are definitely worth a trip. Dolce Bakery is owned by Erin Brown, and has been in business for more than 13 years. Dolce is known best for their beautiful and delectable wedding and party cakes, cinnamon rolls, cupcakes, decorated cookies, holiday pies and all baked goods. One of my favorite things about Dolce is that they are always releasing new, seasonal flavors and menu items. They just recently added an espresso bar, and they also host baking classes. We have had hosted #laurenheimworkshops inside their delightful shop for the past 5 years.
Our personal favorites: Chocolate blackout cake (it’s a classic), seasonal cake flavors like pumpkin spice, oatmeal creme pies (family favorites), cinnamon rolls (hello, everyone loves them). My newest favorite is their sprinkle cookie sandwiches (cream cheese frosting centers!).
McLain’s Market | Overland Park & Shawneee
McLain’s Bakery has been in business in KC for more than 75 years (Waldo). McLain’s Market opened its doors in Overland Park in 2016, which was perfect timing as we had just moved back to Kansas City! A second McLain’s Market Shawnee just opened in summer 2020 in Shawnee. McLain’s Market is the ultimate trifecta of cafe, bakery and coffee shop, and they truly have something for everyone. They have a really beautiful patio AND a drive thru, so you can find us here about once a week. It’s a perfect spot for meetings, families, solo work and lunch dates. McLain’s Market really checks all the (our) boxes. They are known for their cup cookies, which is a mix between a cupcake and a cookie, with decadent buttercream frosting! McLain’s Bakery in Waldo also creates beautiful wedding cakes.
Our personal favorites: Frosted cookies and brownies, cupcakes, chicken salad sandwich with homemade fries (hers), donuts (his), Mac and cheese bowl and breakfast sandwiches (ours).
Heirloom Bakery & Hearth
We stumbled upon Heirloom by chance, shortly after they opened in 2015. Heirloom is situated on the East end of the iconic Brookside Shopping Center, and what happened to be directly across the street from a business vendor we worked with regularly. Just so convenient, right? We were drawn in by the design, aesthetics, and the baked goods. Oh, the baked goods. I believe that Heirloom started the homemade pop tart scene in Kansas City, and I think we Kansas Citians can agree we are all better for it. We soon started affectionately calling ourselves the “pop tart people,” because I would frequently order in bulk when teaching workshops on the plaza. Anywho, it’s owned by a husband and wife, which makes us love the bakery even more.
Our personal favorites: Homemade pop tarts (hers: blueberry, his: strawberry), breakfast biscuit sandwiches, granola parfaits.
You can find Ibis Bakery attached to Black Dog Coffeehouse in Lenexa, and at their headquarters inside of Messenger Coffee in the Crossroads. Per their website, “Ibis Bakery is two different micro-bakeries connected with excellent places to enjoy coffee.” I love to watch them make their bread and pastries at their Lenexa location (you get a front row seat to the production!). I could sit mesmerized for hours while they paint on butter to make their croissants perfectly flakey. Ibis has such a talent for real bread and traditional pastries. They even mill their own organic flour, which they recently started selling in bags. Their bread flour has been a game changer for our homemade pizza!
Our personal favorites: Their bread Flour, Any of the toasts at Blackdog Coffeehouse made with Ibis Bakery bread (sooo goooood), traditional pastries such as kouign amann or financiers.
Kansas City summers are hot and sticky. The temperatures are not pleasant, but a cold scoop of Betty Rae’s ice cream is a must. The lines at Betty Rae’s are long for a reason, but they are worth it and move quick. They specialize in homemade ice cream with creative, unique flavors (even that Joe’s KC Burnt Ends ice cream sounds intriguing!) along with homemade waffle cones.
Our personal favorites: I always get s’mores ice cream in a waffle bowl.
Frannie Franks Coffee Cakes
It was the first day of fall when I first discovered Frannie Franks. Well, it wasn’t the official first day of fall, but it felt like it was. The temperature was a perfect 64 degrees, an idyllic fall day in Kansas City. I opened up my front door to find our weekly Shatto Home Delivery order in a cooler on the porch. Shatto Home Delivery is just what it sounds like: a home delivery service with alllll the local goods. I had heard chatter about Frannie Franks Coffee Cakes at the Downtown OP Farmer’s Market, but hadn’t made my way over there recently. So on that fateful day I added a pumpkin coffee cake to my cart. I was mostly thinking it would be a lovely breakfast treat to go with our Roasterie Autumn Harvest coffee, and we could freeze any we didn’t finish. It seems I always say (or think) those words with treats that end up being devoured less than 24 hours later. So the story goes with Frannie’s. I truly had to speak out loud my feelings about the flavor and texture to Andrew, to his delight. If you’re reading this and it is still fall, get a pumpkin coffee cake to pair with your fall-flavored-coffee, and enjoy while the leaves are changing. You can thank me later!
Our personal favorites: Pumpkin Coffee Cake
Cedar Street Toffee
You may not know this, but Andrew and I often have a booth at local holiday shows, where we sell our KC ornament sets and my hand lettering kits and such. That isn’t the important part of the story though, other than at one of the holiday shows is where we met “the toffee people”! Owner, Teresa, is lovely and kind, and also happens to make the most divine toffee. After a long show day we went home and ate the whole box, okay? So there it is, I admit it. Their toffee has a buttery, beautiful texture that doesn’t break your teeth. Always a bonus when eating toffee, right? I personally never really understood toffee much until trying Cedar Street, because I always thought it was too hard and made my teeth feel funny. That was a long forgotten bias once Cedar Street entered my toffee scene. Their packaging is beautiful, and these make the most perfect holiday gifts.
Our personal favorites: Dark chocolate and semi-sweet chocolate toffee
Summer Salt Ice Cream Co. | Corinth Square
Just opened in spring 2020 (oh what a time to be a new small business!), and straight out of the gate in the middle of a pandemic, Summer Salt was a hit! First, how brilliant are the owners to add a walk up window? Genius! We have really enjoyed their creative flavors this summer, often making the drive all the way from out south to PV! One of our favorite creative flavors is Vanilla Whiskey Caramel Brownie with local J. Rieger Whiskey (our fave sipper and mixer btw) and local Andres chocolates. I mean, come on, what a brilliant combination! They have seating outside around the walk up window, and it’s the perfect PV spot for families, kids on bikes and lots of drippy, sticky hands. I love fall, but I’m not ready to let go of summer just yet! But lucky for me and all of us, they keep coming out with creative flavors on the regular.