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Shopping Cart: Hand-Crafted Candy Canes, Organic Cookie Dough, Rum Cakes

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

· The hand-crafted candy canes from the third-generation candymakers at Zoë's Chocolate Co. of Waynesboro, Pa., taste as good as they look. Zoë-Petroula Tsoukatos says her father still pulls the taffy for the canes with the same hook her grandfather and great-aunt used; her mom is in charge of forming the canes' crooks. The company is known for its all-natural artisan chocolates with Mediterranean-inspired flavors such as pomegranate, orange flower and baklava.

The six-inch candy canes are about $1.50 each or about $22 per pound, in peppermint, anise and cinnamon; the chocolates come in gift boxes of from four pieces ($5.75) to 32 pieces ($36.50; signature collection). Order online at http://www.zoeschocolate.com; a selection of chocolates and candy canes also is available at Periwinkle, 3815 Livingston St. NW, Washington, 202-364-3076 and at Proof Bakery, 12 E. Patrick St., Frederick, 301-668-2303.

· If baking cookies from scratch is not in the cards for you this season, the peanut butter and chocolate chunk flavors of Better Bakes ready-to-bake organic cookie dough from Immaculate Baking Co. of Greenville, S.C., received a thumbs up from a panel of Food section testers ages 5 to 10. Pre-portioned 14-ounce packs yield 24 cookies; they cost $3.49 to $3.99 at Whole Foods Markets, Giant and some Shoppers Food and Pharmacy stores.

· Shop locally, send globally: Island Treasures Gourmet of Manassas makes a rum cake that stays moist. Flavors include vanilla (our favorite), cinnamon pecan streusel, chocolate, banana and raspberry. The cakes serve 12, come in recyclable, resealable containers and cost $24.95. They are sold at Chesapeake Honey Glazed Ham, 13273 Worth Ave., Woodbridge, 703-492-7783, and online at http://www.islandtreasuresgourmet.com and Amazon.com.


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