Schakolad Chocolate Factory, 1500 Research Forest Drive
Hand-crafted chocolate is Schakolad's specialty. It sells truffles as well as dark and milk chocolates, and the ganache chocolates are quite popular, too. Other noteworthy delicacies include Italian Amaretto truffles, champagne ganache truffles, chocolate-covered Nutter Butter cookies and an array of chocolate-covered fruits. The chocolate-covered cherries are first dipped in a Jamaican rum fondant before being coated in dark, milk or white chocolate. Nuts are always roasted ahead of use in each recipe, giving items, such as the popular dark chocolate almond bark, a nuttier, flavorful taste. The chocolate truly shines with a sinfully smooth texture and mouthfeel, as Schakolad does not use paraffin or wax in its recipe. The dark chocolate is bold but not too strong. No dairy ingredients are used, which not only enhances the cocoa flavor but also means these are fine for vegans.
Schakolad also offers chocolate-making classes and shop tours for adults and children, which provides an interactive, hands-on experience in the art of crafting chocolate.
Lolli and Pops, 1201 Lake Woodlands Drive
Let the inner child go wild here — no one will judge. At Lolli and Pops there's an incredible assortment of confectionery greats, including childhood favorites and the classics, as well as imports from across the globe. Jelly beans, chocolate-covered fruit and nuts, truffles, macarons, lollipops, popcorn and even "old-time" sodas can all be found in the boutique. Customers can even try before they buy, as Lolli and Pops encourages sampling of the goods to ensure satisfied customers. The bulk bin chocolates and candies are sold by weight, which allows for stocking up on just about anything at a single price per pound. Check out the wall of gummy candies and the huge golden gummy bear while here: The variety of flavors, from basics such as cherry or apple to mature "premium" flavors like white champagne or anise, is worth the visit alone.
Yogurt Worx!, 525 Sawdust Road
While frozen yogurt is in abundance in The Woodlands, what really sets Yogurt Worx! apart from the rest is its commitment to quality. Locally owned, it is clean and bright with friendly and extremely helpful staff, and fresh, quality ingredients. The yogurt is light and refreshing and makes for an escape from the humid Texas heat. At any given time there are 12 flavors on hand, and different ones are featured in the rotation at various times. At least nine mainstays are always available, such as strawberry, cake batter and chocolate, but go for the bold. Pistachio, dulce de leche and Irish cream are a few of the fun rotational offerings worth sampling. Other yogurt options include sugar-free, sorbet and gelato-style flavors. Good luck trying to select toppings: Here there's a plentiful spread — nuts, cereal, fresh fruits and candies — as well as warmed drizzling sauces including Nutella, warm hot chocolate and marshmallow cream.
Lou Lou's Beignets, 8000 Research Forest Drive
There’s no need to drive over the Louisiana state line for delicious beignets: Lou Lou’s serves them up fresh and made to order, whether a customer wants one or a whole dozen. The traditional beignets are done to perfection, meeting and possibly exceeding the high bar set by the likes of Café du Monde. Each is perfectly crisp and crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside and powdered generously in confectioner’s sugar. There’s more here than just the traditional: Other variations include doughnut hole-style beignet "bites" and French toast stick-like "dippers,” which come served with a choice of lemon, chocolate, caramel or strawberry dipping sauce.
If you're in the mood for something to sate a savory appetite, the ham- and cheese-stuffed beignet is a good bet, and comes with a light dusting of sugar and a side of strawberry sauce. Lou Lou's also serves Louisiana-inspired coffees, such as the frozen café au lait and a chicory-flavored or vanilla-bourbon latte — great complements to a fresh beignet.
Sweet Revenge Bake Shoppe, 3091 College Park Drive
Located in a strip center off College Park Drive is a great hidden gem: Sweet Revenge Bake Shoppe. Here the customer service is top-notch, there are no rules to bake by and anything goes: Sweet Revenge will personalize any dessert you like, including petits fours, tarts, cakes and cupcakes. It utilizes ingredients such as spicy chai in a decadent fudge bar or pumpkin in thick cheesecake bars that could easily be found on the table of a Thanksgiving spread. Cupcake offerings rotate regularly, and include greats like maple bacon, Italian cream, lemon drop, red velvet and samoas.
Other items include traditional-style or pecan cinnamon rolls, a "Louisiana lush cake" and homemade Oreo cookies. However, the "not to be missed, go try this right now" item is the Bourbon-glazed bread pudding. Liberally drizzled with a light, caramel-like Bourbon sauce, the bread pudding is a fantastic balance of moist with light, crispy bites of perfectly toasted bread that makes for an intensely satisfying treat. The size of the slice you get is huge and easily shared — if you can bring yourself to do so, that is.