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Shopping local for sweets in Chicago

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Maris Callahan is a food writer, lifestyle expert and the managing editor of My Daily Find Chicago, an online magazine about where to eat, shop and play in the city. If your New Year’s resolution is to “shop local” the next time you need something sweet, Callahan has a few suggestions:

All of the items mentioned here are sold at specialty grocery and gourmet food stores, such as Goddess and The Grocer, Southport Grocery and through online/e-commerce. Shopping information for all of the items is available on

Terry’s Toffee: Any sweet fanatic knows about Terry’s Toffee, a family recipe recreated by two partners who wanted to share their toffee with the world. We love to eat it plain but if you bake with it, it’s the perfect addition to make your chocolate chip cookie recipe special for your next holiday party.

Grown Up Kids Stuff: You might very well be tempted to eat this straight from the refrigerator with a spoon, but it’s best as a fondue, pound cake, sandwiched between two cookies, or atop ice cream. Because it’s a bit of a splurge, you can make your own version, which I like to do with Nutella to make it more unique.

Rare Bird Preserves: If you received any Rare Birds Preserves in your holiday stocking this year, you can put it to good use. Crafted in small batches in an Oak Park kitchen, we love their seasonal flavors, but the lemon blueberry is a great standby. Since this is also a splurge, I’ve done my best recreation here with a lemon-blueberry jam that is super simple and doesn’t require canning or processing.

Truffle Truffle: I recently discovered this brand of gourmet truffles, which are so amazing that it doesn’t do them justice to replicate, but if you need to bring a treat to an upcoming football party, Superbowl, or a late holiday party, pretzel coated truffles are a delicious and easy treat to make,

Mark Bars: If you set some New Year’s resolutions and are looking for a healthier option, Mark Bars are 100% natural snack bars, perfect as pre-workout fuel but sweet enough to chase dessert cravings. Here I have my own version of a healthier snack bar in case you prefer to bake at home.

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