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Dessert in the Desert: Wildflower American Cuisine

Wildflower offers spectacular desserts that allow diners to end their experience on a perfectly sweet note.

April 24, 2017

Dessert in the Desert

In 2011, Tucson Lifestyle Magazine awarded Wildflower American Cuisine for having the “Best Sinful Desserts” in Tucson.

Six years later, their desserts are just as delicious.

Almost needless to say, Wildflower is known for their desserts. The menu consists of five desserts, but a special is offered every 3-4 days. That means there are new desserts almost twice a week. Twice a week!

“We have a creative flow in the kitchen here,” Chef Kevin Handt said. “We put together recipes and throw around trends.”

Although new dessert specials are constantly being introduced, the fan favorites tend to remain the Bars of Sin and the Cinnamon Doughnuts.

The Bars of Sin are guaranteed to satisfy any sweet tooth. They’re made with praline chocolate cookies and cappuccino mousse, and served with a scoop of vanilla bean gelato. If you like chocolate, you’ll fall in love with these.

The Cinnamon Doughnuts are Handt’s favorite dessert to make.

“I’ve been cooking for 17 years,” he said. “There’s been a doughnut at every restaurant I’ve ever worked at.”

Although doughnuts might sound simple to make, Handt said they take longer than you’d expect.

“If you were making it at home, you’d probably think the dough is mixed enough,” he said. “But you’d probably have to mix it for another 30 minutes more.” After the dough is finally mixed, lemon zest, butter, and eggs are added. The dough is set to rest, and then it’s rolled out and shaped.

Wildflower serves the doughnuts with vanilla custard and a berry marmalade. Trust me when I say the custard is good enough to be a dessert of its own.

Handt said that the restaurant offers many meals and beverage pairings that might go better with certain desserts. But at the end of the day, that’s not what it’s about.

“It’s all about personal taste,” he said. “If you like ending your day on a sweet or tart note, that’s your preference. That’s why we have a variety of both.”

If you’re someone who likes more of a tart dessert, the Key Lime Tart might be your favorite Wildflower dessert.

Made with a gingersnap almond crust and a vanilla creme fraiche, the Key Lime Tart is delicious. As someone who actually prefers sweet over tart, I’d order the Key Lime Tart a million times again. It was that good.

The Wildflower menu also offers a Warm Apple Crisp, served with manchego crumble, dulce de leche, and vanilla gelato. The restaurant also offers an amazing Butterscotch Pudding. Both are worthy of ordering.

Many restaurants focus more on the entrees than the desserts, but Handt thinks differently.

“Your experience starts at the door and ends at the door,” he said. “Everything in between—you have to have every part. Great drinks, starters, soup, salad, your entree, and you definitely have to have a great dessert. If you can’t round it out, you’re not focusing on the whole dining experience.”

Handt said the desserts are a big focus for Wildflower, which pays special attention to little details and is even more extravagant for birthdays and anniversaries.

As for Handt’s all-time favorite dessert? The goat cheese cheesecake. Can’t go wrong with that.

Wildflower American Cuisine
7037 N. Oracle Rd.
Tucson, AZ 85704

Dessert in the Desert is a new series highlighting desserts in Tucson. The main courses at restaurants get all the rage, as they should, but what about desserts? They deserve a spotlight, too.

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