Photos by Signe Birck

I'm a healthy eater most of the year–with plenty of green smoothies and quinoa salads and lentil-filled soups–but during the holidays, my sweet tooth always gets the best of me. When the tree is lit and the Christmas tunes are playing, all I want to do is bake. Whether I'm making chocolate chip cookies, Nutella shortbread brownies, or mini loaves of cranberry orange bread, it doesn't feel like Christmas until I've covered my kitchen in flour, sugar, and spices.

Recently I created a bunch of bite-size goodies for an upcoming New Year's Eve post (stay tuned!) and I wanted to share a few of my favorite sweet treats with you all. I'm a sucker for sweet/salty combos, and these two recipes do the trick. I've been making pecan shortbread squares for years. Based on a recipe from Epicurious, these layered bars have a salted shortbread base and a gooey caramel pecan topping. I recently created these truffles when I had a craving for dark chocolate, Grand Marnier, and toasted pistachios. Turns out these three things are a match made in heaven.

These desserts are perfect for a holiday party, wrapped as gifts in a pretty box, or served after dinner with a glass of port (something we did a few nights ago with friends in Traverse City!). Or, give Santa an extra special surprise, and leave these out with a glass of milk on Christmas Eve. Either way, you're in for a treat.