Looking to satisfy your sweet tooth and taste something truly unique? Wisconsin’s dessert scene is both creative and distinctive, with treats ranging from old fashioned wine bread to pickle and peanut butter popsicles. Try these delicious desserts you can’t get anywhere else.
At a place called Mike’s Donuts and Chicken, you might expect some wacky combinations. This joint in Kenosha features out-of-this world donut creations, like a donut pizza topped with frosting and inches of colorful sprinkles. You could also try donut fries, a maple bacon long john, or a s’mores cyclops with a toasted marshmallow replacing the donut hole. Mike’s gets crowded, so plan accordingly.
Classic Cream Puff
No dessert list for Wisconsin would be complete without mentioning the unofficial state dessert—the cream puff. During the Wisconsin State Fair in West Allis, you can head to the Original Cream Puff Pavilion to try a fresh cream puff as big as your face from Dairy Bakery. Almost as impressive as the whipped cream-pastry sandwich is the Team Cream Puff operation. Standing in line, you can see dozens of employees working furiously to produce hundreds of thousands of cream puffs in just two weeks.
If you miss the Original Cream Puffs during the August fair, you can sample another yummy version at Peter Sciortino’s Bakery in Milwaukee the rest of the year.
Traditional Wine Bread
Wine bread is a traditional Croatian glazed pastry wrapped around a fruit filling. In the days before refrigeration, bakers used fermented fruit, which is where the “wine” in wine bread comes in. One of the only places serving traditional wine bread is The Candy Shoppe in Bayfield. There, your wine bread will be made-to-order, so be patient. The wait for a lemon, almond, chocolate, or cherry wine bread is more than worth it!
After an authentic Italian meal at Madison’s Osteria Papavero, you must order the Budino di Caramello, or butterscotch pudding. This is one of the best and most unusual desserts in Madison, even if you’re not normally a butterscotch fan. The warm pudding is decadent with caramel and cinnamon flavors, and it is topped with whipped cream and cocoa powder. As one of Osteria’s only consistent menu items, the pudding has a devout fan base who will order one for now and one for later.
Ice wine is a rare, honey-like dessert wine made from perfectly frozen grapes. Only a few places in the world have the right conditions and work force to produce ice wine, and Wollersheim Winery & Distillery in Prairie du Sac is one of them.
Wollersheim’s winemaker watches the vineyard’s St. Pepin grapes carefully in the early winter. The window for picking the grapes when they’re frozen, but the sugars are not, is small. Retired Wisconsin viticulturists are called upon at a moment’s notice to help harvest the frozen grapes, and almost a year later, the sweet wine is ready for release at the vineyard.
Forget the frozen treats from your freezer. Wisconsin popsicle purveyors, like Chrysalis Pops in Madison and Pete’s Pops in Milwaukee, revolutionize these fruity treats. Chrysalis Pops sells organic popsicles in flavors like Cold Brew Coffee, Rhubarb Ginger, and Cucumber Mint.
Pete’s Pops offers even more adventurous flavors, such as Peanut Butter & Pickle, Avocado, Roasted Peach & Jalapeño, Sweet Corn, and Blackberry Swirl. You can find both pop-ups at festivals and markets in their respective cities.
Looking for even more sweetness? Check out the Coolest Ice Cream Drinks at Wisconsin Supper Clubs, or view our entire dining directory here.