When the weather starts to cool, kitchens across the city heat up as pastry chefs concoct delicacies with the last late-summer peaches and berries and start cooking with crisp autumn apples.
Here, in no particular order, are ten of our favorite desserts to ease the transition to fall.
10) Caramel Apple Donut Glazed and Confuzed Josh Schwab, owner of Glazed and Confuzed, has made a name for himself with such inventive creations as a maple bacon doughnut topped with hand-cured bacon and a gooey bananas Foster doughnut. His menu features a growing selection of fall-inspired delights, too, including an apple pie doughnut and our favorite, the caramel apple doughnut filled with apple chutney, glazed with caramel, and topped with an apple chip. Schwab says more apple-centric concepts might appear this fall -- and so will his first brick-and-mortar shop. But right now, you can find his doughnuts at the City Park and Cherry Creek farmers' markets, as well as Kaladi Coffee and the Weathervane Cafe.
9) Caramel Apple Pie Wednesday's Pie 1422 Larimer Street Wednesday's Pie -- the vintage pie counter that acts as a front to Frank Bonanno's tucked-away speakeasy, Green Russell -- offers a variety of pies for pickup or in-store enjoyment. The caramel apple pie tucks apples and caramel inside a traditional almond flour crust, then tops this perfect fall treat with whipped cream and ribbons of caramel.
8) Summer Cobbler Crave Dessert Bar & Lounge 891 14th Street Crave, the indulgent sweets haven, features an ever-changing rotation of mousses, crisps and layer cakes, and a summer cobbler that's the ideal way to savor a last taste of summer.The nectarine-laden cobbler is topped with lemongrass ice cream, a sugared purple orchid and three macarons: blueberry, passion fruit, and strawberry. Ready for apples? The apple crisp is set to debut on October 1.
7) Apple Pie Sundae Beast + Bottle 719 East 17th Avenue Beast + Bottle's farm-to-fork philosophy has made this spot a fast favorite since it opened last March. Whether you're after a full meal or just stopping in for a glass of wine or a local brew, don't miss the apple pie sundae: a one-bite sundae with a pecan brittle cone, apple pie ice cream, and salted caramel.
6) Peaches Ice Cream Little Man Ice Cream 2620 16th Street The line at Little Man Ice Cream usually wraps around the corner even into the cooler months, because the giant milk can keeps churning out seasonal, handmade ice cream throughout the year. Right now, Little Man is taking advantage of late summer peaches, and creating such frozen delights as peach cobbler ice cream, peaches and cream ice cream, and brandy peach sorbet.
5) Apple Galette Wooden Spoon Cafe & Bakery 2418 West 32nd Avenue Wooden Spoon, the quaint corner bakery and cafe in Highland, is known for its mouth-watering bakery case filled with turnovers and croissants. Get there early enough, and you might be able to grab an apple galette -- perfectly glazed pastry folded over fanned- out, artfully-thin slices of apple dusted with sugar and spices.
4) Apple Tart Duo 2413 West 32nd Avenue Located right across the street from Wooden Spoon is another neighborhood mainstay, Duo, whose season-centric menu focus on fresh, local ingredients. Right now, autumn inspiration can be found in several dishes, including the apple tart, a beautiful, flaky incarnation served with creme fraiche gelato and black currant sauce.
3) Nectarine & Blueberry Cobbler True Food Kitchen 2800 East Secon Avenue True Food Kitchen, the sleek, Cherry Creek newcomer, follows the anti-inflammatory food philosophy of Andrew Weil. As a result, is menu is abundant with healthy, inventive dining options -- and if you didn't think dessert could fall under the healthful category, think again. The nectarine and blueberry cobbler crumble top is made with gluten-free flour, fruit tossed with lemon juice, sugar and spices, and served warm with a scoop of Greek yogurt ice cream.
2) Matty's Wacky Apple Vesta Dipping Grill 1822 Blake Street The tried-and-true Vesta Dipping Grill concept has kept patrons streaming through the doors for sixteen years. And the dipping extends all the way to dessert: Matty's Wacky Apple is a caramel-dipped apple rolled in sweet crunch, served with vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup, with hot fudge, creme anglaise, and strawberry cointreau as dipping companions.
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1) Palisade Peach Cobbler Fruition 1313 East Sixth Avenue Fruition not only has an acclaimed, farm-inspired menu, it's one of the coziest restaurants in Denver, warm and welcoming. And the peach cobbler reflects Fruition's atmosphere and philosophy perfectly. A simple ramekin bubbles over with fresh, late-season Palisade peaches under a golden, buttery crumb top. Served a la mode, this dessert shows how very good Colorado cuisine can be.