Holiday baking can be enjoyable or, it can be tedious, downright frustrating at altitude if you’re new in town. So, if you’re looking for pies for your holiday tablescape, cinnamon rolls to christen the magical mornings or freshly baked buns to sit beside the ham, we want to recognize the cozy cabin in Black Forest, R&R Coffee Cafe, as a local and delicious solution.

“We’re making the filling, the pie crust, everything is homemade,” says Ryan Wanner, owner of R&R Coffee Cafe, who urges consumers to consider “taking the chance to support your neighbor and spend your money locally.”

A corporate restaurant chain that touts “The Best Pie in America” with numerous locations in Colorado Springs, sells their cheapest pie for $13.00 versus spending an additional $5.00 at R&R for a sizable and tasty replacement.

Wanner assures us his baked goods are “something that is made for you the day you pick it up, completely from scratch. You can get an 11-inch pie at Costco for $6.00 but what you have to weigh in there is what’re you supporting?  It’s cheap, it’ll fill you up, but where’d that money go?”

By hand, with lattice love.

We were able to chow down on R&R’s cran-apple pie over Thanksgiving which holds crisp, hand-cut apples, slightly tart berries and a gorgeous, buttery, lattice crust with glistening flecks of crystalized sugar. But the options are plentiful with a solid list of choices that includes locally-sourced pumpkin pie, courtesy of Arkansas Valley Organic Growers that’s “just down the road” from R&R, or ask for a gluten-free pastry crust for a mere $2.00 extra.

“They’re all so good that’s the problem,” says Wanner. “There isn’t a pie here I wouldn’t eat.”

Coconut cream is a classic diner choice and one of our faves.

Proper dessert aside, R&R bakes some of our favorite cinnamon rolls and sticky buns in town that are ready to serve upon pickup or available to take and bake to fill the entire house with that intoxicating smell of homemade goodness.

“The cinnamon rolls are bigger than a softball, but not quite a basketball,” laughs Wanner. “Plus baking instructions if you want with cream cheese icing.”

R&R’s breakfast pastries and cheddar biscuits are made with sourdough starter so you can find the added savory benefits but with a subtle flavor that Wanner says is “not so pungent that it’s all you get” creating a balanced, not too sweet bread base with just the right amount of tang.

All the smells.

While considering how to delegate holiday baking needs we also recommend stopping in during their newly established happy hour from 6 a.m. until 8 a.m. Tuesday through Friday and 1 p.m. until close on weekdays to receive 25-percent off all coffee beverages. We meander in to grab a giant muffin and stumble unknowingly upon the discounted afternoon time slot, earning an impressive pour over of Myanmar Sin Net Chang for $3.00 that Wanner accurately describes as “explosive fruit punch notes that fade into blueberry and plum.”

As we sit in the rustic coffee shop Wanner offers us an additional taste of R&R’s custom Holiday Blend that he mentions exudes notes of “a candy-like sweetness and “baking spices that reminds you of eating a slice of grandma’s apple pie in front of a roaring fireplace.”

With our warm mug in hand we take in the flavors of a carefully crafted coffee, the local art on display around us and firmly decide that we want to invest in this neighbor.

*All images courtesy of R&R Coffee Cafe