Hard Apple Cider Fritter from Blue Star Donuts
The Hard Apple Cider Fritters are hand-formed with leftover brioche dough, apple butter, and Granny Smith apples. Fritters stay in the fryer for an extra 30 seconds longer than donuts to get that extra-crispy exterior. Strongbow cider and Calvados brandy are used to make the hard-cider glaze.
Raspberry Brownie from Pearl Bakery
At Pearl Bakery in Portland, the raspberry brownie strikes the perfect balance between fudgy and cakey. It's rich enough to satisfy even the most voracious chocolate craving, but a smidge lighter than its full-on-fudge cousins. The fat square has a fine crumb and is surprisingly soft. It would be perfectly tasty without the raspberry preserves from Glenmore Farms on top, but the slightly sticky spread takes the brownie from "nostalgic" to "knockout". Even if you're iffy on fruit and chocolate combinations, this is worth a try.
Chocolate Chunk Cookie with Sea Salt from Bluebird Bakers
Big chunks of Belgian chocolate are baked into these soft, chewy cookies that are finished with a sprinkling of sea salt immediately after being pulled out of the oven.
Kouign Amann from Roman Candle Baking Company
This pastry is made up of several different elements that complement one another. First, there's the outside shell, which is caramelized and crisp, and a little reminiscent of Italian glazed croissants. The inside takes you straight to France, with paper-thin layers of buttery pastry. The hunks of salt, which on one tasting were inside the pastry, and the other time were sprinkled on top, are what takes this version of the Kouign Amann straight to pastry heaven.
Warm Hazelnut Brown Butter Torte with Honey Chamomile Ice Cream and Honeycomb Candy from Ox
This gluten-free torte is nuanced and nutty, made with ground roasted hazelnuts and almond powder. A study in contrasts, the ice cream atop the "nut brownie" is floral and sweet, made with local honey and chamomile that's infused into a standard anglaise custard base. A good-sized chunk of honeycomb candy adorns the ice cream while smaller pieces garnish the plate; the slightly peppery and fruity flavor you may detect comes from a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. With a tantalizing variety of textures and terrific taste, this torte is both full of quality and fun to eat.
Canelé from St. Jack
These are special pastries from the Bordeaux region in France composed of a rum and vanilla batter. They are baked for a long time until the outside is dark and crisp, tasting like crème brûlée and the center is more like a custard, similar to a bread pudding.
Coconut Dulce de Leche Cake from Petunia's Pies and Pastries
The Coconut Dulce de Leche cake is the best selling item at Petunia's Pies and Pastry and it's easy to see why. The moist coconut cake is layered with vegan cream cheese frosting, flaked coconut, and gooey house made coconut dulce de leche. It is a slice packed with melt-in-your-mouth goodness.
The Rose City from The Waffle Window
Juicy local strawberries are piled on a Liege-style sugar waffle, with rhubarb sauce and two creamy toppings: rose cream and whipped cream. The whipped cream has only a touch of sugar, while the rose cream is more aggressively sweetened. It has the texture of a mousse: light, and studded with air bubbles, but not much of a flowery flavor. The interplay between crunchy waffles and the soft, creamy toppings makes this a delight.
Animal Truffles from Moonstruck Chocolate Cafe
These adorable animal truffles are filled with a dense fudge ganache and enrobed with a thick layer of chocolate. Four different kinds are available: white chocolate toffee mice, milk chocolate bunnies and labs, extra-bittersweet black cats, and honey bees (milk chocolate and honey ganache, enrobed in tinted white chocolate).
Strawberry Tart from Ken's Artisan Bakery
This strawberry tart has a flaky, buttery shell. Each tart is filled with just enough vanilla cream to cradle the berries, which are lightly brushed with a sweet glaze, giving them a sheen (and additional touch of sweetness). There's more than enough strawberry in every bite.