Pumpkin zeppole doughnuts at Graffiato and sweet potato fritters at Vermilion

Trick-or-treat for autumnal doughnuts

We've long bemoaned the shortage of maple and apple-cider doughnuts in this region.

Happily, this season has brought two new, equally autumnal fried rounds to town:

Vermilion: This Old Town restaurant caps dinner with one of the most appealing dessert menus we can remember. If you don't save room for an oversize apple beignet or cinnamon cheesecake with pumpkin-pie ice cream, diminutive sweet potato fritters ($9) beckon. The cakey doughnuts have the deep caramel nuttiness of a sweet potato, all offset by a swath of brûléed fluff, scattered pomegranate seeds and a scoop of sweetly salty butter pecan ice cream.

Graffiato: Chef Mike Isabella's strawberry-dusted, off-menu zeppoles were the worst-kept, best-tasting secret in town this summer. Now the chef has moved his beloved fried doughnuts onto the official dessert menu and given them an autumnal upgrade. Never again will we crave candy bars on Halloween when we can opt for pumpkin-infused doughnuts. The puffed rounds ($8) are rolled in cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and sugar, then served in a thick, pumpkin-infused caramel that brings earthiness to the sweet, hot bites.