7 Sweet Treats from St. Louis for Your Holiday Celebration
By Rachel Huffman
The holidays put a lot of pressure on people. To shorten your to-do list, let our bakers, makers, confectioners and pastry chefs take care of dessert.
Whether you want to surprise guests with handcrafted ice cream from Clementine’s Naughty & Nice Creamery or you need individual gooey butter cakes from Gooey Louie for your hosts, you can’t go wrong with these sweet treats from St. Louis.
Even if you’re not in the area, you can still indulge in local delights by ordering online.
The Caramel House
The Caramel House, a small-batch sweets company, cooks up creamy caramel that won’t stick to your teeth, alongside snappy butter toffee, decadent cookie sandwiches and other sweet and salty snacks. Owner Janet Ansehl Shulman’s recipes are 100 percent peanut-free, and she also offers a variety of gluten- and nut-free candies and snacks. For your holiday celebration, pick up a gift basket, which features a 12-piece box of Simply Salted caramels, one box of English toffee, one jar of Liquid Gold (Simply Salted caramel sauce), 12 Scotch oatmeal cookies, four caramel-marshmallow cookie sandwiches, four chocolate-covered pretzels and two flavors of caramel corn. For a more hands-on treat, consider a DIY apple-dipping kit, which comes with two Granny Smith apples, salted caramel, sprinkles, chocolate buttons and four edible emojis, plus everything you need to package the finished caramel apples. Snag all the gooey goodness that The Caramel House has to offer at its storefront in Olivette or online.
Clementine’s Naughty & Nice Creamery
Italian butter cookie. Maple-bourbon with salted candied pecans. Front porch mint chip. Pumpkin-toffee cake. Salted cracker caramel. Malted raspberry crunch. Clementine’s Naughty & Nice Creamery knows how to tempt your taste buds. At the highly acclaimed creamery, every scoop of ice cream is handcrafted using the finest natural ingredients. Owner Tamara Keefe starts with pure cream and then stirs in flavors from beloved bakeries, breweries, distilleries, restaurants and farmers in the St. Louis region. Finally, she tops her exquisite creations with a dash of love and serves them to eager customers – both naughty and nice. Clementine’s also boasts some of the best vegan ice cream around – flavors include coconut-chocolate fudge, cranberry-walnut, lemon poppyseed and tahini-chocolate chip. Clementine’s ships to every state in the continental U.S., and Keefe has plans to expand to 50 storefronts nationwide. Keep your fingers crossed that one will open near you!
Nothing compares to gooey butter cake. Rich, moist and tender, it’s arguably the best dessert in St. Louis. At Gooey Louie, founder Debbie Stieferman makes every gooey butter cake from scratch – “and we don’t skimp on the ingredients,” she says. “There’s butter in every part of the cake: the crust, the cake and the goo. Some people say that gooey butter cake is too sweet, but when they taste cakes from Gooey Louie, they like them because the butter makes for a sweet and savory experience.” In business for more than 15 years, Stieferman has also experimented with different flavors of the St. Louis staple. Turtle Park, the second-best-selling flavor, features a chocolate crust, caramel “goo” and a heap of Missouri pecans and a rich chocolate drizzle on top, while Stieferman’s favorite flavor is the chocolate-peanut butter. Order a classic gooey butter cake for your holiday celebration or snag individual servings of different flavors as gifts for your holiday hosts.
Jilly’s Cupcake Bar & Café
Easy to transport and already divided into individual servings, cupcakes are the perfect way to sweeten your holiday celebration. At Jilly’s Cupcake Bar & Café, signature flavors such as cookies ‘n’ cream and strawberry cheesecake keep customers coming back again and again, but this December, we’re eyeing the seasonal flavors. Merry Cranberry features cranberry and white chocolate chip gooey butter cake filled with cranberry compote and topped with white chocolate buttercream, sugar-coated cranberries, a vanilla buttercream leaf and powdered sugar, while Ginger-Doodle People pairs snickerdoodle cake with cinnamon sugar and caramel mousse, browned butter and cinnamon buttercream and edible gingerbread people. Sweet and simple, Tiffany Missy has vanilla cake, vanilla whipped cream filling, Tiffany Blue vanilla buttercream and snowflake sprinkles. Quite the opposite, Jilly’s Candy Land boasts chocolate cake; an M&M’S center; red, white and green buttercream; and an assortment of holiday candy – think candy canes, Hershey kisses and Reese’s miniature peanut butter cups – stuck on top.
At Kakao Chocolate, you won’t find any conveyor belts feeding chocolate into machines. Here, chocolatier Brian Pelletier and his team temper the chocolate, dip the truffles, stir the caramel and make the marshmallows – all by hand. The extra time and care that they put into the process produces a higher quality that you’ll taste with your first bite. As you shop for an assortment of truffles, caramels and barks for your next holiday celebration, remember to choose a treat or two for yourself. Over the years, Kakao Chocolate has won Good Food Awards for its lavender truffle, raspberry-goat cheese truffle, Turkish coffee truffle and Viennese truffle – so, you might want to start there. Multi-piece boxes of truffles and caramels make it easy to stock up for festive gatherings, but if you have time, create your own collection of unique confections with Missouri pecan bark, marshmallow pies, bacon-pecan brittle, pâte de fruits, almond dragées, hot chocolate mix and more.
Saddleback Chocolates specializes in premium custom chocolates for festive occasions. In addition to gift boxes with truffles, caramels and bark, you can get “Thank You” bars made with milk or dark chocolate to give to your holiday hosts. Looking for a conversation starter? Check out Saddleback Chocolates’ Kizmet Chocolates, one of the country’s first lines of CBD-infused confections. The all-natural, plant-based chocolates have CBD in every bite to support your daily wellness. The secret recipe boasts rich flavor, antioxidant flavonoids and pure, full-spectrum, full-strength hemp CBD oil for stress relief, reduced inflammation and lower blood pressure. Kizmet’s confections come in flavors such as blood orange, chile-lime and classic dark chocolate. Establishments throughout Missouri and Illinois sell Kizmet Chocolates, or you can order them online.
Are you still shopping for other holiday gifts? Check out our St. Louis gift guide to find the perfect present for everyone on your list. Most of these one-of-a-kind items are available in stores and online, too.