By OnMilwaukee Staff Writers   Published Feb 04, 2002 at 4:23 AM

Although most of us hate to admit it, it's great fun to indulge in satisfying a sweet tooth. And whether it's stopping for a personal craving on the way to an appointment, sending a box of handmade chocolates to a loved one or picking the perfect dessert for a party, if you're going to indulge at all, it's best to indulge well. For candies or cakes, tortes or toffee, Milwaukee has an ample selection of candy shops and bakeries where shopping is worth the post-sweet guilt.

With award-winning cheesecakes and delicious fruit tortes, Simma's Ovens (817 N. 68th St.) is a heavenly spot in Wauwatosa to order lovely decorated pastries, cookies, fruits and wedding cakes made from scratch with natural ingredients. (414) 257-0998

An Italian bakery on the East Side, the long standing Peter Sciortino's Bakery (1101 E. Brady St.) has patrons raving about their excellent desserts, breads and cannoli. (414) 272-4623. Two Bay View bakeries also offer delicious Italian treats: Canfora (1100 E. Oklahoma Ave.) and Roma (3600 S. Chase Ave.).

The only Greek pastry shop in the city, Ya Ya's Cookies (4320 N. Oakland Ave.) endearingly conceives homemade delights like Baklava and the homemade dunking cookie, calldui, as well Mediterranean gourmet goodies such as mustards. Although most items are made to order for catering, the store always has an ample selection of items to satisfy your sweet tooth. (414) 332-5203.

A bakery and coffee shop on the East Side, Hartter's Bakery (2101 N. Prospect Ave.) is a popular spot to fulfill a morning sugar fix. With a nice array of cakes, brownies, sticky buns and pastries, this eatery's appeal is its use of marzipan to touch up the already tasty creations. (414) 225-0090

Heinrich's Home Bakery (9124 W North Ave.), a little shop in Wauwatosa, is a family-run bakery with coffeecakes, donuts and cookies. (414) 476-9546.

Lopez Bakery (1601 W. Lincoln Ave. and 1100 W. Mitchell St.) has an astonishing array of treats, late hours and low prices. Sabrosuras (1711 W. Mitchell St.) also offers Mexican, Puerto Rican and American bakery items.

Bella Bakery (960 W. Oklahoma Ave.) is THE place for Polish bakery, breads and rolls. Get there early to get a babka without having to fight off any Seinfeld characters.

In Elm Grove, The Chocolate Swan, Ltd. (13320 Watertown Plank Rd.) is a quaint little confectionery where candies are made with extra care. Sweets are all-natural and entirely hand-made. There's a lot to choose from as well — English toffees, tortes and 11 different types of truffles. (262) 784-7926.

Hand-made mouth-watering chocolates and caramel apples born out of family recipes are the treasures at Amy's Candy Kitchen (W62 N579 Washington Ave.) located in the heart of Cedarburg. Made from scratch, candies are individually set in silken Belgian chocolate and flavored with homemade caramels, pecans and fruits. Chocolates can be custom ordered and molded into any shape imaginable. They come packaged in white boxes with gold trim. Call 1-800-513-8889 for more information.

Another place to enjoy delicious homemade chocolates is Freese's Candy Shop (7312 W. Greenfield Ave.) with an enticement assortment of English toffee, turtles and creams. (414) 453-5353

Although they don't do much customizing, Niemann's Homemade Chocolate Shop (7475 Harwood Ave.) has a diverse selection of old-fashioned specialties such as almond butter toffee and chocolate covered cherries. (414) 774-4940.

For shopping made easy, the gourmet candy company Ultimate Confections (17000 W. Capitol Dr.) and (820 N. 68th St.) delivers hand-made chocolates via mail and Internet orders. Confectionery rarities such as chocolate covered potato chips, dipped pretzel twists, chocolate lollipops, peanut butter dream cups and award winning chocolate covered cherry cordials are available. Custom specialties can be created for weddings, parties or gift baskets. With two of these candy kitchens in Milwaukee, assortments can be ordered by calling 1-888-23CANDY.

Upholding 50 years of family tradition, Beerntsen's (W61 N520 Washington Ave.) in Cedarburg continues to make old-fashioned sweets, using copper kettles and wooden paddles for hard candies and dipping chocolates by hand. Along with molded chocolate novelties, they sell the traditional — fudge, suckers, peanut brittles and glazes, and old-fashioned hard candy cherries and apples. Call (262) 377-9512.

Although there aren't any homemade candies here, Debbie's Sweets 'n Treats (8619 S. Howell Ave.) in Oak Creek is a 1950s-style candy store for those looking to step back into a childhood fantasy filled with Necco wafers, hot dog bubble gum, flying saucers and candy buttons. Decorated with a checkerboard tile floor and photos of 50's icons, old tunes rock this shop. Call (414) 570-1984.

With award-winning fudge, R J & Ethel Mays (13475 Watertown Plank Rd.) is one of the best shops around town for tasty chocolate and candy gift boxes and table favors. They also have a wide variety of truffles and creams in both milk and dark chocolate. Call (262) 784-3306.