By Chloe Mandel ’23
As the proud owner of a humongous sweet tooth, there’s nothing that brings me joy and comfort at the Claremont Colleges’ dining halls like their desserts do. With that said, I bring you my official top 10 ranking of 5C dining hall desserts, the tempting offerings that have propelled me through exams and essays and sweetened days of relaxation. Apologies in advance that most of these are from Pomona’s dining halls—having just finished my first year, I haven’t spent as much time eating at the other colleges as may be necessary to discover the full gamut of delicious desserts they also offer.
- Chocolate Bread Pudding at Scripps
While I’m a big bread pudding fan in general, I believe this particular version of the classic dessert would convert any bread pudding skeptics after the first heavenly bite. A well-known and popular fixture at Malott Dining Commons and Scripps Afternoon Tea, the chocolate bread pudding is moist, velvety and studded with just the right amount of rich chocolate chips to lend sweetness and depth. Glimpsing a warm pan of it on display when I walk into Scripps’ dining hall for dinner is the kind of pleasant surprise that can make one’s week; I’d eat it every day if I could.
- Chocolate Fudge Pudding Cake at Pomona
Another pudding-y dessert that lives in my dreams. Served regularly at Frary lunch and from time to time at Frank brunch, it’s rich, decadent and extremely chocolatey. I’ve topped it with m&m’s or raspberries on occasion, both of which elevate the dessert to euphoric levels.
- Flourless Chocolate Cake at Pomona
While some of Pomona’s desserts have a distinct “college dining hall” aftertaste, Pomona’s flourless chocolate cake tastes as though it could plausibly be served at a well-regarded restaurant. The cake’s pillowy-soft texture guarantees a melt-in-the-mouth experience, and its distinct chocolate flavor excellently satisfies my chocolate cravings whenever I’m lucky enough to spot it at Frary.
- Chocolate Chip Cookies at Harvey Mudd
You may have noticed a theme by now, and it starts with “choc.” While I’m not a huge fan of most of the desserts I’ve sampled at Harvey Mudd’s Hoch-Shanahan Dining Hall, I can always depend on the Hoch’s chocolate chip cookies to fill the cookie-sized void that creeps in on a long study night. Perfectly sized and available in abundance, they offer all the gooiness, chocolatey-ness and caloric comfort I demand in a cookie.
- Petit Fours at Pomona
This past winter, Pomona’s dining halls served a plethora of holiday-themed desserts, the most memorable being some adorable petit fours decorated to look like presents. With their soft cake layers, sweet almond-y flavor and white chocolate coatings, they single-handedly carried me through finals week.
- Jam Thumbprint Cookies at CMC
I’ve yet to try some of CMC’s better-known dessert offerings, but Collins Dining Hall’s jam thumbprint cookies (unassuming though they seemed before I actually tried them over a late lunch) blew me away with their buttery exteriors and deliciously sweet, jammy centers. I’m glad I chose them over the (also delicious) ginger cookies being offered that day, as I never would’ve known their worth otherwise.
- Vegan Chocolate Chip Blondies at Pomona
Often served at lunchtime on weekdays, these blondies have a uniquely chewy and satisfying texture and are studded with enough mini chocolate chips to ensure an equally appealing flavor. They’re a comforting addition to any meal and can make an otherwise mediocre Frank lunch end on a much better note.
- Lemon Bars at Pitzer
Pitzer’s lemon bars are lusciously creamy, refreshingly lemony, and small enough to justify eating two … or three … or four. I regret that I didn’t go to Pitzer more often during my first year, as I hate to imagine the number of delicious McConnell Dining Hall desserts I missed out on.
- Fresh-Baked Chocolate Chip Cookies at Scripps
Any night Scripps whips out its chocolate chip cookies fresh from the oven is a good one. So gooey I’ve often had to eat them with a fork, these cookies are almost delicious enough to rival the chocolate chip cookies I bake at home. Almost.
- Vegan Lemon Bundt Cake at Pomona
For some reason, I spy this dessert at Frank more often than any other. I’m not complaining, though; the vegan lemon bundt cake is delightfully lemony, and the word “vegan” somehow makes it seem like a wise choice. I like to savor it during long lunches on Frank’s patio, but it also makes a good on-the-go snack.