When summer temperatures cool off and fall begins to settle, pumpkin desserts shoot to the top of my agenda. Whether it appears in cookies, cheesecakes, pudding, gelato, or pie, pumpkin is one of the finest of the fall flavors. Below, the five sweetest paths to pumpkin bliss.

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies: One Girl Cookies

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[Photo: Kathy Chan]

One Girl Cookies does many things well, but this Brooklyn bakery is well known for their pumpkin whoopie pies. A simple classic, often done injustice in this city with over baked cookie-cakes or overwhelmingly sugary frosting, the whoopie gets proper treatment at One Girl Cookies. Their four-bite pies are neither too big nor too small. Two plush rounds of pumpkin cookie-cakes are bound together with a sweet swoosh of cream cheese frosting.

In the summer months, you'll want to trade in pumpkin whoopie pies for pumpkin ice cream sandwiches. The ice cream sandwiches are made from the same cookie-cakes, but filled with Il Laboratorio del Gelato's ricotta gelato instead of cream cheese frosting.
Brilliance.

One Girl Cookies: 168 Dean Street, Brooklyn NY 11201 (map); 212-675-4996; onegirlcookies.com

The rest of the Top 5, after the jump.

Pumpkin Pudding: Sugar Sweet Sunshine

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Banana Pudding and the Chocolate Bomb Pudding may be offered year-round at this famed Lower East Side bakery, but only in the autumn months does the pumpkin pudding make a debut. The pudding looks messy, and it is, but it's is all part of the fun, with crumbled pumpkin cake layers tossed with whipped cream and eggnog pudding. You'll end up with a toothache, but it's worth the sacrifice.

Sugar Sweet Sunshine: 126 Rivington Street, New York NY 10002 (map); 212-995-1960; sugarsweetsunshine.com

Pumpkin Scone: Alice's Tea Cup

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The scones at Alice's Tea Cup are gigantic, sweet and all-American—but easy to love with buttery crust and gentle, moist crumb. Spices are noticeably light, though a delicious shiny pour of sticky caramel glaze compensates. These scones are certainly more childish than classy, but oh, so fun. Come in the morning, around 10:00 am, for warm scones, but do not fret if you can't make it 'til the afternoon. The sweet girls and guys behind the counter are more than glad to warm it up for you.

Alice's Tea Cup: Multiple locations (map); alicesteacup.com

Pumpkin Loaf: Ciao for Now

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Made daily in-house with fresh pumpkin, Ciao for Now's pumpkin loaf beats out any other pumpkin cupcake or cake I've had recently. Tender and moist, the single-serving loaf is gently spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg. It pairs perfectly with a cup of tea. Luckily, seating is abundant at the café, ideal for whiling away a lazy afternoon with a magazine or two.

Ciao for Now: Multiple locations (map); ciaofornow.net

Pumpkin Milkshake: Stand

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So thick, it's not even straw-suckable. The pumpkin milkshake, and milkshakes from Stand in general, are among my favorites in the city. You are best advised to eat this with a spoon, making sure each bite incorporates whipped cream along with the shake, as thick as liquid concrete, but mellow and sweet in flavor and incredibly pumpkin-y. The only imaginable improvement would be a replacement of fresh whipped cream for the canned version currently being employed.

Stand: 24 East 12th Street, New York, NY 10003 (map); 212-488-5900; standburger.com

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