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After tasting hundreds of sweets in 2015, these are Food & Wine's 5 favorites from 2015.
Here at Food & Wine, we diligently sample hundreds of products throughout the year—from mind-blowingly spicy hot sauces to insert-obscure-meat-here jerky. From these taste tests. we pull those foods that most impress us with their uniqueness, that are perfectly executed and that we just can't stop snacking on. 2015 has been an especially good year for sweets, as makers around the country rethink nostalgic favorites with unusual pairings, hyper-local ingredients and global flavors. We’ve tasted, debated and tasted again to give you this: Our five favorite new sweets from 2015.
Salted Orange Wheat Beer Caramels
These creamy, orange-scented caramels from SunnysideLOCAL are made with a local wheat beer from Hanger 24 Brewery and a hint of salt. Hurry and order quickly: They only make these gorgeous caramels during the cold months. Also not to be missed: SunnysideLOCAL’s Blood Orange Bourbon Caramels. $8 for 4 oz.; sunnysidelocal.com
Almond + Fennel 73% Cacao Bar
This unique bar from Antidote chocolate uses both raw and roasted cacao. The dark chocolate is flecked with crunchy almonds and toasty fennel seeds, and has a pleasant sweet-licorice note. $6.95 for 2.3 oz; antidotechoco.com
An offshoot of Nashville-based chocolate company Olive & Sinclair, Seersucker Original Candy Co. hand-makes old-school candy like these bold pickled cherry cordials. They pickle Maraschino cherries and then coat them in buttermilk fondant before finishing with dark chocolate. $18 for 4 oz.; seersuckercandyco.com
Tea + Lemon Gumdrop
The ultimate remedy for those cold winter months: Quin Candy’s herbal tea gumdrops with a pop of bright lemon. Now you can ward off that cold and treat yourself to something sweet with these perfectly chewy morsels. The gumdrops are made with a concentrated black tea brew from Portland-based Steven Smith Teamaker. From $6.50 for 10 pieces; quincandy.com; Available starting January 1, 2016.
Dangerously Delicious Black Licorice Chocolate Toffee
Lorie & Sons’ unbelievably buttery toffee is great as is, but we especially love this black licorice–studded version that’s flavored with freshly ground star anise and Pernod Liqueur. Each piece of toffee is then dipped in chocolate and sprinkled with Black Hawaiian Lava Salt. Even the licorice-haters out there will love this one. $24 for 4 1.375 oz. bags; laurieandsons.com