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Five holiday treats to look forward to

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A time of celebration brings good food, warm company and, of course, sweet treats. And there are a few specific treats that you will only see during the holidays. Grocery stores rearrange their inventory for them. People start stocking up on ingredients like sugar, butter and flour. Here are five holiday treats to look forward to:

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1. Peppermint Bark: Peppermint is a holiday flavor that you will find in candy canes, hot chocolate and even cupcakes. Peppermint bark brings together the bitter and the sweet. It takes the melt-in-your-mouth creaminess of chocolate and pairs it with the crunchy coolness of peppermint. Though Williams-Sonoma stakes its claim with "the original peppermint bark", you can find this treat in places like Target and Costco.

2. Seasonal Ice Cream Flavors: Your grocery store will already have flavors like Peppermint and Eggnog. But check out what's available at your local ice cream shop. Tara's Organic Ice Cream will offer flavors like Butternut Squash and Gingerbread. And if you are looking for a frozen dessert, Ici's holiday menu offers items like the Huckleberry and Lemon Baked Alaska.

3. Cookies: What a great time of year for cookies. And, the more variety the better: gingerbread, sugar cookies, pfeffernusse, Hershey kiss cookies, and the list continues. Some of these cookies are only in stores this time of year. So go ahead and enjoy munching on that gingerbread man.

4. Tradition Holiday Bread and Cakes: From stollen to panettone, most holiday breads or cakes contain dried fruits, citrus zest, nuts and spices. You may find some variations to what goes into these sweet treats, but they all have a tradition and history. There is also the bûche de Noël, the French cake that looks like a Yule log, decorated with meringue mushrooms and sometimes marzipan holly leaves and berries.

5. Homemade Treats: Perhaps the best part of the holiday treats is the homemade one. Packaged in cute plastic bags with bows or a neat box with a gift tag, cookies, toffee and fudge make their way to family, friends and neighbors. And, the biggest part of this tradition is in the making and baking. Making cookies with friends and family or even just by yourself brings a little bit of joy. Even if you aren't the best baker, pre-made dough and frosting are available so that anyone can participate in this tradition.

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