Trendy dessert shops are creating ways to offer the perfect Instagrammable moment. Some are introducing liquid nitrogen to create a smoking effect. Others are riffing our favorite foods into dessert-inspired treats. Some are shaping sugary ingredients into edible sculptures. When they're done, these are the type of dishes that look so spectacular you can't help but whip out your phone to flaunt your #foodporn all over social media.
If you've been aiming for more Instagram followers, you'll have plenty more by the time you hit every spot on this list — an assortment of Broward and Palm Beach County's most photogenic desserts.
Here are our top ten picks for South Florida's most Instagrammable sweet treats.
1. The Tree Cafe & Ice NY. There's dessert, and then there's dessert that doubles as an edible work of art. At the newly opened Tree Cafe & Ice NY in Boca Raton, you'll find both. The menu offers a selection of Thai-style rolled ice cream, a fad dessert you can customize as ingredients of you choice are chopped, mixed, and rolled into tight tubes before serving. But if you look a little harder at the menu you'll find a number of unique desserts that beg for a photoshoot before you dine. A small oven pumps out toast-like honey cakes that are topped with fresh fruit and served with ice cream. But that's not the most impressive offering. That distinction goes to the cafe's edible bonsai tree. A small plastic "pot" is layered with mashed fruit, cake, and topped with a chocolate mousse dabbed with moss-like green tea crumbles and finished with a chocolate stick tree stump and a halo of flavored cotton candy. 80 N. Federal Hwy., Boca Raton; 917-543-7176; facebook.com/icenyboca.
2. Brgr Stop. When it comes to over-the-top desserts, no one does it quite like Brgr Stop, now with two locations in Broward County. While the original Coconut Creek restaurant was the first to offer cereal milk-infused milkshakes, the new Fort Lauderdale restaurant offers a dizzying array of adult options with glasses that are bedazzled using all sorts of yummy treats. One of the most photo-ready shakes is the Take Me Out To The Ballgame, a milkshake that combines Jack Daniels whiskey, Licor 43, caramel sauce, and Oreo ice cream served in a glass rimmed with Nutella and crushed Oreos. 1930 E. Sunrise Blvd., Fort Lauderdale; 954-533-8621; brgrstop.com.
3. Tornado Food. A Coral Springs-based food truck is serving one of South Florida's most Instagrammable desserts. It's colorful, creative, and it billows smoke (and you will too) thanks to a healthy dose of liquid nitrogen. While the truck specializes in Mediterranean-style eats, the video that plays on a loop outside the truck beckons people to try their Smoking Dragon dessert. It's pretty simple, and perhaps that's what makes it so great: giant, brightly hued cereal balls that taste like Fruit Loops are scooped into a cup and doused with liquid nitrogen before serving, making for some extremely smoking Insta-famous fodder. 954-520-4200; tornadofood.com.
4. Salt 7. For the indulgent — yet whimsical — diner, there's Salt 7. Already well-known for their outrageous Sunday brunch and Thursday night dinner parties, you can get dessert here any night of the week and feel equally indulgent thanks to executive chef Paul Niederman's souped-up sweets. That includes the Bougie Beery: a combination of yellow sponge cake topped with vanilla ice cream, Italian-style meringue, blackberry compote, and fresh-spun blueberry cotton candy. Or try the classic Cookie Monster, Bailey's spiked chocolate chip cookies served with a few side shots of Nesquik strawberry milk. 32 SE Second Ave., Delray Beach; 561-274-7258; salt7.com.
5. Etaru. Almost everything on the menu at this Fort Lauderdale restaurant is Instagrammable, but top honors go to their Smoked Coconut Parfait dessert with passion fruit filling. It's Etaru's signature dessert: a ball of coconut crusted cake that houses layers of tangy fruit filling atop a colorful bed of chopped fresh fruits. 500 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale; etarurestaurant.us.
6. Press Creamery. Sure, there are plenty of places that serve ice cream sandwiches. But nothing is quite as beautiful as the "Press Bun" rendition created by Press Creamery in Boca Raton. Here, a bright blue-hued vanilla ice cream is one of a dozen selections you can stuff between two glazed doughnuts. Then it's just a choice of what toppings you'd like, from liquid marshmallow and other syrups to candy, sprinkles, cookies, and cereal. 9858 Clint Moore Rd., Boca Raton; 561-961-8882; instagram.com.
7. Kuro. Dessert should be fun, and that's exactly what Kuro pastry chef Ross Evans has created with his ever-changing list of fantastical confectionery creations. They're the type of stuff Willy Wonka's dreams are made of — especially if he were to dream in Japanese. Take the kakigori ice, which looks like it came straight out of Candy Land; a rainbow-hued mountain of shaved ice drenched in passionfruit syrup and dotted with glistening gummy cubes that taste like fruit and ginger. The goma panna cotta, a bowl of moss-green custard decorated with odd-shaped curiosities, is not as visually striking initially. But it's a party for your mouth, from the gelatinous globes of cucumber jelly that burst onto your tongue, to the sweet, crunchy, coral-shaped pieces of nori. 1 Seminole Way, Fort Lauderdale; 954-327-7625; seminolehardrockhollywood.com.
8. Cream. This Pembroke Pines ice cream shop (there's also a Boca Raton location, Palm Beach County residents) wasn't the first to offer up ice cream tacos, but it's certainly one of the best. The menu specializes in offering patrons the chance to customize their own ice cream cookie, brownie, or doughnut sandwiches as well as waffle cone ice cream tacos with a smorgasbord of toppings including gummy bears, mini candy, mini marshmallows, chopped nuts and mico chocolate chips, cereal, and sprinkles. The result? An edible dessert of which you'll need to snap a photo before you dig in. 306 SW 145th Ave., Pembroke Pines; 954-399-9245; creamnation.com.
9. Chula's. Chula's owner Melissa Gonzales and her daughter, Alexia, offer a unique menu of Mexican-inspired dessert and snack creations, many of which use ingredients the mother-daughter duo purchase directly from Mexico. While watermelons and pineapples stuffed with ice cream and candy are some of the most ornate offerings, her raspas — Latin-style snow cones made of crushed ice and flavored with a variety of syrup, condensed milk, and fresh fruit — are the house favorite. At Chula's, block ice is ground to order and drenched in one of more than 25 fruit-flavored syrups ranging from banana and cherry to more exotic flavors, like horchata or tamarind. Try the Diablito, a raspa prepared with a chamoy, a spicy-savory sauce made from pickled apricot seasoned with lime, spices, and chilies. 4391 Tenth Ave., Lake Worth; 561-729-0494; instagram.com/chulasbotanera.
10. Frostbite Nitrogen Ice Cream. Bubble tea in a lightbulb. Sundaes served in martini glasses. Syringes filled with add-it-yourself syrups. The list of possible flavor combinations at Frostbite Nitrogen Ice Cream in Davie is almost never-ending. Which also makes for a number of crazy concoctions you won't see — or photograph — anywhere else (the website claims over three billion possibilities, but we're guessing that's a bit of an exaggeration). Still, this steampunk-styled creamery specializes in over-the-top ice cream cups, sundaes, and sandwiches made using a 10-foot tall nitrogen tank that whisks everything from yogurt to non-dairy ice cream into a smoke show. 2125 S. University Drive, Davie; 954-368-3462; frostbitenitrogenicecream.com.
Keep New Times Broward-Palm Beach Free... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering South Florida with no paywalls.