It has been a long and challenging year, and we all could use some pampering this holiday season. To help our readers spoil the people in their lives and treat themselves, we present the Indulgences Gift Guide!
In this guide, we spotlight fun and delicious additions to a holiday celebration, all brought to you by creative women business owners. Our ten picks feature everything from special chocolates and savory treats to heart-warming cookbooks and light-up decorations.
So if you’re looking for a memorable gift for your supportive mother, your hardest-working employee, for that special client or even for yourself (you deserve it!), take a peek at our list of fun, festive, female-crafted delights.
Ten Great Gifts for Indulging in…
… A Classic Flavor Combination
There are few more reliably tasty combos than chocolate, caramel and peanuts. Danielle Baker of Bakers’ Southern Traditions Peanuts takes that concept to the next level with her Better Bites, which uses nuts grown fresh on her Roxobel, N.C., farm, that are chopped and mixed with homemade caramel. This delicious concoction is then dipped in chocolate, for a bite-sized end result that’s part sweet, part salty and entirely delectable. “They are delicious candies at a reasonable price,” Baker told us — and we concur.
Perfect for: Your clients — who doesn’t have a bit of a sweet tooth?
Cost: Better Bites, $9.75
… An All-Natural Delight
If dried figs don’t strike you as especially indulgent, then you haven’t tried the ones made by Susan Leone of Fruit Bliss in Brooklyn, N.Y. “Unlike traditional dried fruits, it is sun-dried and then steamed to retain moisture.” Indeed, the texture was an especially large bonus for our judges, who would happily devour them out of the bag or incorporate them into holiday recipes. These are great for anyone looking for an indulgent, yet healthy snack.
Perfect for: Your friend who’s “trying to be good.”
Cost: Dried figs, $8.52
… A Book of Boozy Dessert Favorites
Have you ever gone to an amazing eatery and wondered how you could recreate your meal? In the cookbook “Butter & Scotch: Recipes from Brooklyn’s Favorite Bar and Bakery,” Butter & Scotch provides that opportunity to its many loyalists — and to those sad people who have yet to visit the Brooklyn joint. Full of recipes for pie crusts, biscuits and much more — and illustrated with artistic shots of all the goodies you can make — co-founders Keavy Landreth and Allison Kave are giving everyone the chance to give the gift of indulgence. “We encourage people to treat themselves every day,” the duo notes, adding that they and their predominantly female workforce hope women, in particular, will enjoy their cookbook.
Perfect for: Your cousin who loves to spend the holidays in the kitchen.
Cost: “Butter & Scotch: Recipes from Brooklyn’s Favorite Bar and Bakery,” $19.19 hardcover/$13.99 Kindle
… A Fun and Festive Activity
As many great chefs will tell you, presentation is a key element of a successful dish — and vital to an indulgent one. That’s part of why our judges love these light-up flower kits from Natasha Dzurny of TechnoChic. The kits are well-made and easy to assemble, and the end result would add cheer to any dessert. Dzurny, of Jersey City, N.J., describes them as “a unique and interesting food accessory” that can brighten, literally, pre-made items or add a fun crafting activity for guests.
Perfect for: Your employee who plans parties with the best of them.
Cost: Light-Up Paper Flower Kits, $25
… A Seemingly Sinful — but Healthy! — Tart
Vegan readers — and everyone else — will love this crumb tart gift crate from Oats Any Time. With sweet fruit fillings and scrumptious, hand-rolled oats, the tarts are delicious and can be enjoyed any time of day. Moreover, festive packaging makes a set of four ideal for gift-giving. Lisa Giulianelli, who owns the Palmyra, Maine-based business, says her tarts deliver “body-beneficial nutrition, along with a bakery-fresh product that tastes great!” The rate at which our judges consumed the tarts backs up that claim.
Perfect for: Your staunchly vegan business partner.
Cost: Crumb Tart Gift Crate, $24.99
… A Mug of Warm Comfort
For those who spend the holiday season in cold weather — or who enjoy a hot cup of tea any time of year — Taking Tea InStyle of Princeton, N.J., has you covered. Sharon Levy’s venture focuses on giving customers “the ultimate tea experience,” and her decadent teas, including blends like Spiced Coconut Chai and Bourbon Vanilla, definitely meet that goal. Delivered in a pretty embossed box and wrapped in a bow, the teas are as flavorful as they are satisfying. “My company’s mission is to educate individuals about living a good life — that starts with pampering yourself.” We couldn’t agree more, and Levy’s teas are a great place to start.
Perfect for: Your very stressed-out sister-in-law.
Cost: Pure Indulgence tea set, $16
… A Surprisingly Sweet Treat
Full disclosure: When we set out to make this gift guide, we did not anticipate including pickles. However, that was before we tried Windswept Acres’ prickly pear pickles. They’re made with cucumbers, but it is juice of the prickly pear — a fruit in abundance near Pamela Baker’s Chino Valley, Ariz. base of operations — that makes these pickles different and sweeter (as well as redder) than the average pickle. Red Hot cinnamon candies and other spices add a fun kick. As Baker says: “There is nothing out there like them to be found.”
Perfect for: Your culinarily adventurous father.
Cost: Prickly Pear Pickles, $15 (Note: Place orders by messaging her on Facebook.)
… A Hearty and Heartwarming Basket of Goodies
“Our mission is to create economic opportunity through careers in food by training low-income women around the world, incubating food businesses and creating jobs in urban areas,” says Hot Bread Kitchen founder Jessamyn Rodriguez. Based in New York City, this gift box contains the fruits of these women’s labors, including flavorful crackers, cookies, chutneys and more. It’s a gift that invites us to enjoy scrumptious yet dreaded carbs and still feel good — and who doesn’t want that?
Perfect for: Your philanthropic, gluten-loving best pal.
Cost: Women Producers Gift Box, $80
… A Key to Delicious Middle Eastern Delicacies
For those who like to think outside the box — and outside the United States — for food inspiration, the “Soframiz” cookbook is a fantastic gift option. Inspired by the exotic flavors and traditions of the Middle East — and telling the story of its authors, food entrepreneurs Ana Sortun and Maura Kilpatrick, co-owners of the Sofra Bakery and Cafe in Cambridge, Mass. — it is a beautiful volume of recipes for dishes both savory and sweet, presented in stunning photography and on artfully crafted pages. Sortun calls it “a collection that you won’t find anywhere else.”
Perfect for: Your co-worker who loves to cook — and to travel.
Cost: “Soframiz,” $26.23 hardcover/$18.99 Kindle
… A Show-Stopping, Decadent Candy
If desserts are indulgent, these cake truffles from Melanie Moss of New York City’s own Mini Melanie are indulgent with a capital, cursive “I.” They are exquisite in appearance and taste fantastic and come in a variety of flavors — both the cake-dough interiors and chocolate exteriors. Each is constructed by hand to look like a small jewel, dusted expertly until they sparkle and shine. Moss describes her truffles as “the ultimate holiday gift for food-lovers, in both style and substance.”
Perfect for: You!
Cost: Assortment box, $30 to $34