For those with a sweet tooth, the holidays is heaven on earth. Pies, cakes and chocolates appear as if from nowhere and sugary treats are deemed guilt-free. November marks the official beginning of the holiday season where "dessert first" people like myself have plenty of opportunity to indulge at family meals and holiday parties. This year, I decided to make it my mission to find the best homemade holiday sweets out there to help all my fellow foodies enjoy the next two months of delicious decadence. (For those who prefer savory over sweet...here are some gift ideas for the sugar lovers in your life!)
1. Tiny Pies
Nothing says holiday dessert more than pie, be it pecan, pumpkin or apple. Tiny Pies makes their delicacies from scratch daily using treasured family recipes and natural ingredients sourced from local farms. Bursting with freshness and baked to perfection, your holidays will not be complete without one (or several) of these pies! Keep the peace at home over the holidays by ordering a variety 12-pack of their tiny hand-held pies or pie bites so that everyone can hog their favorite pie flavor, or order several of their standard size pies if you plan on picking on leftovers all weekend long.
2. Gigi's Cupcakes
Fluffy, moist and topped with a generous serving of creamy frosting, nothing beats Gigi's Cupcakes. With shops in 23 states, every cupcake is freshly baked daily by local bakers using Gigi's family recipe. These cupcakes come in a variety of flavors from red velvet to midnight magic to cheesecake, ensuring that each of your guest's cravings will be catered to, including those that are gluten free! Their Christmas mini cupcakes are the best way to taste all of their delicious seasonal flavors without feeling guilty.
3. Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams
Anyone who knows me will tell you that ice cream is my #1 favorite food, so obviously ice cream will be at the top of my list. Jeni's ice cream is truly to die for; not too sweet, just the right amount of buttercream and bursting with flavor. They source their ingredients responsibly; their cream and milk come from small family farms, their vanilla is grown on an organic fair trade farm in Africa and their berries, corn and pumpkins are sourced locally. If you're craving seasonal flavors, their Splendid Holiday Collection includes 6 pints of holiday deliciousness such as pumpkin 5-spice, boozy eggnog and sweet potato with torched marshmallow.
4. The Cravory's Cookies
Mmm... cookies. So easy to lose track of how many you eat, making them the perfect binge dessert. Regardless of the cookie you swear by, once you taste these cookies' crisp surface and soft delicious center, you'll forget about any other sweets. The Cravory uses the finest ingredients (which they list for every cookie on their site!) to bake their constantly changing gourmet flavored cookies ranging from lemon bar to salted caramel cream to cookies 'n cream milkshake. For real die-hard cookie fans, they offer a monthly subscription to get cookies packaged within hours of coming out of the oven and shipped straight to your door. If there is such a thing as the perfect gift, a cookie subscription is it!
5. Gail Ambrosius's Chocolate
Gail Ambrosius's chocolate truffles are little drops of heaven. Gail regularly visits the South and Central American farmers from whom she sources her cocoa and gives workshops to their wives on how to make chocolate. Her shop is constantly experimenting with new ingredients, some of my favorites being fig and sweet curry. But even if eccentric chocolate flavors aren't your thing, there are limitless options to suit every chocolate lover's taste buds, from caramels to chocolate bars to hot chocolate. For the holidays, hand-pick the flavors you'd love to give to that special someone with their "Merry Everything" 12 piece assorted truffle gift box.
Now stop salivating and let the holiday sweetness begin!