Cheap Eats: Earning your just desserts

Will Watts
An "apple flip" from Publix bakery, topped with ice cream and plated.

While I’m more of a savory guy, desserts are many people’s favorite things to eat. But it can be expensive. And for many of us, it’s that last thing we eat for the day. So, it needs to satisfy.

So how can you cut costs? Yes, making it yourself can do just that. If you have the time. And if there are enough of you to finish a cake, pie or sheet of cookies before they go bad. And/or if you are committed to having the same item for dessert for an entire week. 

There are creative options out there, if you know where to look. 

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Take for instance Publix cakes, for sale whole or by the slice. My favorite is their carrot, always moist and loaded with cream cheese. I not only love it as a dessert, but it makes a mighty fine breakfast.

Carrott cake slice from Publix.

Speaking of breakfast, you’ll find a delightful dessert in Publix pastry display. The apple flips are fantastic, always fresh and full of goodness. Heat it in a pan or the microwave, add a scoop of ice cream and it’s an elegant dessert. So satisfying. 

If you’re looking to make a little extra effort, control the quantity and make the house smell amazing, buy some phyllo (filo) dough, some fresh or canned fruit and make your own quick and easy desserts. Be creative with your presentations.

A scoop of the “Daiquiri Ice” (bottom) and a scoop of the toasted coconut, in a waffle cone from Sweet Annie's, Marco Island.

When you’re shopping and need a sweet pick-me-up, there’s nothing better than an Auntie Ann’s for soft baked pretzels. 

In Naples there’s a new shop that was slated to open over the past weekend. CAK’D is a vegan and gluten-free bakery. It’s located at 304 Ninth Street N. in Naples. Visit getcakd.com.

Carrot cake from The Island Gypsy, Isles of Capri.

And in Bonita, one of my favorite places for dessert is Sweet Melissa’s at 4445 Bonita Beach Rd., SW. Visit bonitabeachsweets.com.

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On Marco Island, Sweet Annie’s (692 Bald Eagle Drive) is the place to be for ice cream and candies. Dolce Mare (599 S. Collier Blvd.) has gelato and all kinds of fancy treats. 

And back to the carrot cake for a moment. The very best carrot cake I’ve ever partook of in Southwest Florida, or perhaps anywhere, is at the Island Gypsy (292 Capri Blvd.) on Isles of Capri. Happy dessert-ing!