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Chefs in Des Moines are heralding the harvest season by using Iowa's fresh produce in sumptuous fall desserts. There's no shortage of delicious sweet treats that bring out the flavors that are synonymous with this time of year. Here are five desserts to get you started in a tour of fall desserts in the metro area. Brian Taylor Carlson

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Do you have a fondness for fudge, a longing for licorice, or just a desire for dessert?

If you find yourself with a constant craving that only candy can cure, check out these Des Moines-area confectioneries, sure to satisfy your sweet tooth:   

Beaverdale Confections

2641 Beaver Ave., Des Moines

Tom Coleman got his start making marshmallows from scratch.

Now, 10 years later, his shop Beaverdale Confections and his website www.beaverdaleconfections.com carry 11 flavors of homemade marshmallows; 65 candies made from scratch including fudge, toffee, caramels and 18 flavors of truffles that change seasonally from blood orange to peanut butter to caramel espresso; and 300 bulk candies by the pound such as cherry sours, gummy bears and Swedish fish.

Coleman’s nostalgic favorite is homemade marshmallows since they were his first product line. Customer favorites include S’mores-to-Go kits, truffles and caramels. 

Candy Clubhouse

Valley West Mall, West Des Moines

The Candy Clubhouse sells retro and modern candy, soda, toys, games and gifts including joke items. Customer favorites include 72 flavors of jelly beans, candy suckers with insects inside, and the wall of bulk candy with a variety of chocolate, sour and gummy candies.

Employee favorites include watermelon-flavored salt-water taffy, butterscotch beer, blue-raspberry cotton candy, and chocolate-covered gummy bears.

Chocolaterie Stam

2814 Ingersoll Ave., Des Moines;
Valley West Mall, West Des Moines

The Stam tradition is rooted in a family chocolate legacy starting in the Netherlands more than 100 years ago. As a child, Chocolaterie Stam owner Ton Stam lived in an apartment in the Netherlands over the family’s original chocolate store. After two decades as a purveyor of fine chocolates, Stam has two stores in the Des Moines area – in Valley West Mall and on Ingersoll Avenue in Des Moines, as well as franchises throughout the U.S. Chocolate production for all U.S. stores is at Stam’s production facility on Bell Ave. in Des Moines, overseen by Erik Stam – Ton Stam’s nephew and a master chocolatier.

Ninety percent of Stam’s products are house-made, including bonbons in a wide variety of flavors and shapes, truffles and other chocolate delights. The stores also sell house-made gelato, coffee drinks, and treats imported from the Netherlands such as licorice and Dutch cookies. The Ingersoll location has arguably the loveliest patio in town featuring live music on summer evenings where they serve Iowa wine and beer as well as both cheese and chocolate fondue.
 
Customer favorites include chocolate and vanilla gelato, forest berry sorbetto, crème brule bonbons, and chocolate truffles in a variety of flavors. Staff favorites include the whiskey caramel gelato and the marzipan cream bonbons made with dark chocolate.

Chocolate Storybook

1000 Grand Ave., West Des Moines

Founded more than 30 years ago, the Chocolate Storybook has long been a beloved destination for handmade chocolates and custom gift baskets. Specialties include dozens of flavors of bonbons and truffles, handcrafted caramels, turtles, hand-spun gourmet cotton candy in 50 flavors from cherry berry to spicy jalapeno, and lots of chocolate-dipped treats from pretzels to licorice to bacon.

Customer favorites vary by season – including chocolate-dipped caramel apples in the fall, chocolate dipped strawberries for Valentine’s Day and personalized chocolate eggs for Easter. Owner Meg Shearer loves the store’s chocolate caramel apples and chocolate quinoa crunch bark.

Nan’s Nummies

501 Elm Street, West Des Moines

Thirty years ago, owner Nan Earll got her start selling cookies at the Des Moines Farmer’s Market. After selling out week after week, Earll opened Nan’s Nummies in Valley Junction where she makes homemade cookies, bars, fudge, Dutch letters, and chocolate-dipped items from graham crackers to orange slices.

The shop also carries a large selection of items sourced from around the country including bulk candies, truffles, Jelly Bellys, saltwater taffy and 21 colors of M&Ms. 

Best-selling candies include taffy, chocolates and Jelly Bellys. Staff favorites are the chocolate- and caramel-dipped crispy rice treats, pretzels and Oreos.

Rocket Fizz 

1550 North Ankeny Blvd., Ankeny

Rocket Fizz is a candy and soda shop carrying 500 sodas with sweet flavors like lemon meringue pie and savory flavors like bacon, and hundreds of candies – from standards like Snickers and Twizzlers to nostalgic candies like candy cigarettes and necklaces to Asian and European imports. The store also carries gifts such as concert posters, tin signs and gag gifts.

A customer-favorite soda is Cheer Wine – a popular flavor of soda from the Southeast which owner Bob Peters describes as tasting like cherry-flavored Doctor Pepper. Customer-favorite candies include candy cigarettes, bubble-gum cigars, English import the Curly Whirly bar, and gummy candies of all shapes and sizes. Peters’ favorites include a candy bar called the Idaho Spud, flat taffy, and unusual soda flavors like current favorite pickle juice soda.

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