by Shanon Weaver
Season’s Greetings, Celebration readers!
It’s been quite some time since you last heard from me, but I’m back with two very important words for this holiday season—Cake Balls.
Essentially a truffle made of cake crumbs and frosting dipped in a candy or chocolate coating, cake balls are the main attraction at Isabelly’s Chocolates and Sweet Treats in downtown Richardson. But that’s far from all the mother-daughter duo whip up to get your sweet tooth tingling.
Born in Brooklyn and raised in Syracuse, NY, Isabelle Shaver moved to Texas in 1977 when her husband Bill began working for Texas Instruments. Their two daughters are native Texans—one of whom is Isabelle Albert, née Shaver, the other Isabelle in “Isabelly’s”. The elder Isabelle is a Home Economist; the younger a photography major. Shaver says their backgrounds meld well.
The conception of Isabelly’s came about quite by accident. Albert married a man who promised to do all the cooking if she married him, as she couldn’t cook herself (much to the chagrin of her Home Ec teacher mother). He eventually suggested she begin learning to make desserts instead. The pair started off with just one type of cookie, and worked that into a recipe their daughters/granddaughters would love. Back in the days when you could send baked goods to school, they would make a batch of goodies for every holiday, every birthday, etc.
Eventually they decided to move the business into a more official entity and began the search for a brick and mortar location for their certified kitchen in order to sell online. It took them about a year to find their perfect spot in the old section of downtown Richardson, one of the original buildings there. A fire necessitated a renovation down to the studs, and the owner was happy to have them. The location has been rife with construction over the last few years, however, with the area undergoing a huge revitalization including huge apartment complexes and lots of shopping. They hope to capitalize on the coming increase in foot traffic.
They started with cookies and a cake ball recipe they’d torn apart and perfected but figuring man (nor business) could live on cookies and cake balls alone, they moved into the chocolate game. The younger Isabelle became a certified chocolatier, and the menu expanded from there. In addition to online sales and the physical location downtown, Isabelly’s also has a wholesale section at the Dallas Market Center off North Stemmons Freeway in Dallas—the most complete wholesale trade resource in the world. They can be found in the gourmet foods section.
During their ten years of existence, Isabelly’s has created some of the best treats in Texas, including “Hot Chocolate Bombs”, a sphere of chocolate containing flavors and marshmallows and other various confections made to melt in a mug of hot milk, creating a classic serving of hot chocolate. Kids love watching all the things inside float to the surface! They also make bonbons, macarons, toffee, peanut brittle (and a bacon peanut brittle for the holidays!), and more. A particularly hot (spicy?) item is their caramel-smothered, chocolate-dipped chili peppers.
Still, Isabelly’s is most known for their cake balls, which come in a variety of shapes and flavors, and have won several awards over the years. The menu is totally experimental—Isabelle the younger tempers the chocolate in-house and tries various infusions and recipes until a success appears. They work only with solid Belgian chocolate and temper it rather than going from bean to bark to chocolate, for which they’d need a kitchen three times the size of what they currently have, Shaver says.
The future is wide open for Isabelly’s, and they really aren’t sure what to expect from the next few years. They consider themselves lucky to have survived construction and COVID-19 and look forward to more business as both clear up.
Personally, I can’t wait to get my hands on some bacon peanut brittle, because…well, bacon peanut brittle.
So head over to Isabelly’s and grab some sweets and treats that you won’t soon forget.
As a bonus for CELEBRATION readers, anyone who brings a physical copy of this issue to the store will be entered in a drawing for one of three prizes to be given away before Christmas!
Isabelly's Chocolates and Sweet Treats
200 East Main Street Richardson, Texas 75081