In the ever-growing field of healthy eating and allergy-specific dining, desserts are often the last section of the menu to catch up. But that’s changing: The often dry flourless chocolate cake, a longtime staple for many with gluten intolerances, has given way to a vast array of cookies and sweets.

Take the sable, a French shortbread cookie, at Steam Espresso Bar in Platt Park. This treat swaps all-purpose flour for almond and hazelnut flours, and dials up the flavor with a pretty, heart-shaped dollop of sweet-tart raspberry jam. Over at Olive & Finch in Uptown, chef-owner Mary Nguyen, who suffers from gluten and dairy allergies herself, regularly offers modified desserts. Two of the most popular gf options are the multilayered mocha-almond cake and the vegan tart (pictured) made with cashew cream, a nut crust, and fresh blueberries. At Guard & Grace downtown, one of pastry chef Ryan Walker’s best desserts is the gluten-free crispy quinoa and flax seed waffle topped with pears, Nutella, and tangy yogurt ice cream. And lastly, those looking for gluten-free (or vegan or paleo or regular) treats in Boulder would be remiss to pass by Lucky’s Bakehouse & Creamery. Owner and pastry chef Jen Bush’s rich and decadent black onyx cake is simply one of the best confections around—gluten-free or otherwise.

The desserts above indicate the new direction of pastry: finely tuned, exciting treats designed for those with dining restrictions. But best of all, each of these offerings is good enough to have widespread appeal.

Steam Espresso Bar, 1801 S. Pearl St., 303-952-9716

Olive & Finch, 1552 E. 17th Ave., 303-832-8663

Guard & Grace, 1801 California St., 303-293-8500

Lucky’s Bakehouse & Creamery, 3990 Broadway St., Boulder, 720-596-4905

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Amanda M. Faison
Amanda M. Faison
Freelance writer Amanda M. Faison spent 20 years at 5280 Magazine, 12 of those as Food Editor.