No tricks here—only hauntingly delicious sweets you won't want to share with the kiddos
It's been more than a few decades since you've gone door to door as a trick-or-treater. Now, you're the one chaperoning a gaggle of wild witches and spidermen in search of a sugary payday. Why not treat yourself for all that effort? In SLO CAL, something deliciously decadent lurks around every corner this fall. Reach for ribbons of rich caramel and heaping handfuls of cinnamon, cardamom, maple, and clove. Let the kids keep their candy corn and sour gummy worms. These cozy fall treats are all grown up.
1.Paso Almonds - Brittle Corn
Throw it back to a nostalgic popcorn treat of yesteryear—with a twist! Paso Almonds' Brittle Corn is a combo of two popular fall offerings: fresh-popped popcorn and chewy, almond-studded brittle (two treats your grandparents probably enjoyed while bobbing for apples years ago). It all starts with a big batch of their famous old-fashioned Almonds Brittle, never cloying and always satisfyingly buttery. The caramel-laden recipe is modified to include light, airy popcorn, so you get a satisfying mix of texture in each bite. Made in small batches in San Luis Obispo, this is one treat you'll savor all through the fall season (and perhaps even want to gift later in the year—if you have any left). See why the Los Angeles Times called these morsels “Fresh, perfectly crunchy, addictive and chock full of roasted almonds.” Might we add that this brittle does not stick to your teeth? Once you pop, you can't stop!
2. Joycup Co. - Peanut Butter Cups
Not unlike a freshly carved pumpkin or the perfect cashmere scarf, peanut butter cups are a classic autumnal indulgence that will never go out of style. So, how can anyone possibly make these fall favorites even better than they already are? The Joycup Co in Morro Bay has somehow found a way. After inspecting a recipe on the back of a ho-hum commercial candy bar, Morro Bay confectioner Danna Dykstra-Coy rolled up her sleeves and made her first batch of peanut butter-filled chocolate cups, but better. That may have been some 28 years ago, but demand is still hotter than ever (try them in peanut butter and espresso sea salt; peanut butter and olallieberry; or peanut butter and cayenne flavors and you'll see why). These cups are handmade, gorgeous to look at, organic and gluten-free. Sold in two sizes, you can rest easy knowing that your seasonal snack will be packaged in either a recycled gift box or a nifty biodegradable bag.
3. Sally Loo's - House Made Chai
The days may still be sunny (we get more than 300 days of sunshine per year in SLO CAL, and we're not mad about it), but you can still get super cozy this time of year. All you need is a comforting drink in hand and a good book. Follow your nose to Sally Loo's Wholesome Cafe, and you will be handsomely rewarded with spice, cream and foam. Inside this charming community-loved coffee shop (located in San Luis Obispo's Historic Railroad District), you'll find baristas mixing up the autumnal beverages galore, including hot chocolate, seasonal lattes and thick milkshakes. We suggest the house-made Chai, of course. Made with fresh ginger, cinnamon sticks, black peppercorns, whole cloves, cardamom pods, black tea and your milk of choice (dairy, almond, soy—there's always something new to discover), it's basically fall in a cup. Next stop? The pumpkin patch!
4. Come Get Your Cookies – Maple Bacon Tabasco Cookies
Yes, this SLO CAL cookie business is actually called "Come Get Your Cookies," which makes sense when you understand the owner's no-fuss business approach. Scott Beer didn’t ask to become a small business owner. On the contrary—it was practically demanded of him once he started bringing his unique cookie creations to his former office job functions. When his signature maple-bacon-Tabasco cookies caught the attention of friends and colleagues (not to mention local SLO CAL grocery stores), he had no choice but to turn the hobby into the real deal. Once you try these Templeton-made cookies yourself, you'll understand the appeal. Smoked bacon bits, luxurious maple syrup, sea salt, and a bold splash of heat (courtesy of everyone's fave fiery condiment) make these cookies a fabulous fall alternative when you've had one too many pumpkin spice flavored drinks.
5. Pardon My French – Snickerdoodles
Pardon my French, but these cookies are truly the bee's knees. There's just something about fall that makes us want to pile on the cinnamon. It's understandable, right? This traditional warming spice is like a sweater for your tastebuds. Pardon My French Bakery's Snickerdoodles—made from heaping portions of butter, sugar, and flour rolled in cinnamon sugar and baked to chewy perfection—are total crowd-pleasers this harvest season. The Grover Beach bakery knows how to marry sophisticated French techniques with classic recipes, so you can rest assured these are not your average desserts (also ask about their seasonal sugar cookies emblazoned with cute fall images). Soft, sugary and oh-so-aromatic, pair with a glass of local mulled zinfandel for a full-body hug.
6. Negranti Creamery - Salted Brown Sugar ice cream
Having a bad day? Not on our watch! Wrap your lips around a double scoop of salted brown sugar ice cream made right here in SLO CAL. Layers of brown sugar and sea salt have a way of inspiring happy thoughts (like devouring irresistible cookie dough from behind your grandma's back). Or, opt for the fall seasonal flavors: harvest pumpkin, black cherry chocolate and cinnamon apricot crisp. Negranti Creamery, located in Templeton's Tin City, is a wonderland of dairy delights (you can even make your scoop an ice cream sandwich for maximum joy). Made from local sheep's milk and mixed with local ingredients, every pint is a love letter to SLO CAL's robust flavors. Stop in this fall and satisfy any lingering brown sugar blues. Yes, even "grown-up" problems can be solved by a well-crafted cone.
7. Azita's Bakery - Candied Pecan Eclairs
Swap boring old muffins for a more pleasurable pastry filled with candied pecan goodness and you just might become the "go-to" house for Thanksgiving from here on out. Azita's Bakery takes its eclairs very seriously, so you can have the fun of devouring them in about ten seconds flat. These beautiful Atascadedro-made pastries are always baked until crisp, then filled to perfection with the most heavenly substances known to mankind. Flaky. Warm. Gooey. Pecans. More pecans. Need we say another word?
8. Sweet Offerings Cambria – Classic Fudge
How sweet it is to enjoy the little things in life this fall. Sweet Offerings in Cambria doesn’t sell supermarket candy—at least not the kind seen at today’s grocery stores. Described by one guest as “what Willy Wonka’s house might look like,” the store’s crisp black-and-white striped interior houses a large selection of retro childhood confections including Mallo Cups, Sky Bar and Fizzies. You'll also find decadent fudge, which (gasp) is absolutely free to sample. Not finished reliving your childhood fantasies? We get it. Check out the large display case brimming with gourmet handmade chocolates and truffles. The best part about being a grown-up? You can choose to take home as many pieces of fudge as you please.