20 Sweet & Savory Holiday Desserts

Maressa Brown | Nov 30, 2018 Food & Party
20 Sweet & Savory Holiday Desserts

sweet and salty cookies

Well before the holiday season begins, those annual cravings for certain flavors are sure to set in. Plenty of people are pumpkin spice fans, while others gravitate to gingerbread or absolutely adore anything peppermint cocoa. It's not uncommon to want to stick with the basic beloved sweets and treats of the season, too. Think apple cider, pumpkin pie, or good old chocolate. But as fall drifts into winter and the merry and bright time is in full swing, it may be fun to take traditional dessert recipes to the next level, giving them a twist inspired by current baking trends. And one of the most delicious and popular trends in the food world is any dish that offering up the winning flavor combo of salty and sweet. 

Although salted caramel has skyrocketed in popularity in recent years, showing up everywhere from high-end bakeries and restaurant dessert menus to mainstream, drugstore candies, and national chain coffee drinks, the thought of pairing salt and sugar is far from a new concept.

The Independent notes that salted caramel was first created by a chocolatier named Henri Le Roux more than three decades ago. And in that time, it has pretty much taken over the dessert world. So much so that scientists are trying to figure out why people are wild for it. Last year, researchers from the University of Florida concluded that eating sweet, salty, and fatty foods causes the brain to release chemicals called endogenous opioids. That effect is amplified with a food like salted caramel, which is of course fatty, salty, and sweet -- and marketing analysts Dr. Cammy Crolic and Professor Chris Janiszewski say it leads to an experience they call "hedonic escalation."

Well, if there was ever a time of year to experience "hedonic escalation," it's the holiday season, right? Here are 20 salty and sweet desserts that gift recipients and holiday guests are guaranteed to go wild for. 

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