Yiddish for “little twists,” these beloved sweet, flaky Jewish desserts have become popular in South Florida, regardless of denomination. Rugelach are made in the form of a crescent by rolling a triangle of dough around a filling. Fresh rugelach can come in a variety of flavors such as cinnamon, chocolate, raisin, raspberry, apricot, and strawberry.
Where to buy: TooJay’s Deli locations
“We sell 1.2 million pieces of our famous, handmade rugelach each year,” says Alan Nuckles, TooJay’s senior vice president. “Our rugelach is made from scratch daily, and our bakery team takes great pride in hand-mixing, rolling, and baking each flavor.”
Also known as honey balls, this Neapolitan dish is made of bite-sized, deep-fried balls of sweet dough that are crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. Once done frying, they are stacked atop one another to form a wreath shape and then drizzled with honey syrup. Final touches include holiday sprinkles, sliced almonds, and powdered sugar.
Where to buy: Doris Italian Market & Bakery locations
“I come from a big Italian family, and our holiday gatherings are always filled with delicious traditional meals and desserts,” says John Alfano, president and CEO of Doris Italian Market & Bakery. “Struffoli is one of my favorite holiday desserts because it brings out the child in everyone with its colorful sprinkles and powdered sugar. I have fond memories of eating this with my family growing up, and I’m so glad we get to pass on this delicious tradition to our customers.”
What: Flan Cheesecake
Popular any time of the year, but especially on Nochebuena (Christmas Eve), flan takes the cake in must-have sweets post-celebration. This Latin American favorite is known for its creamy custard that’s topped with a layer of silky caramel sauce. Colada Cuban Café goes a step further by combining it with another seasonal favorite: cheesecake. While this dessert is available year-round, CEO and founder Alex Recio says orders more than double during the holidays.
Where to buy: Colada Cuban Café, Fort Lauderdale
“In an undoubtedly similar storyline to many others, my Abuela would make this every year and eventually passed down her recipe to me so as to carry on this tradition to future generations,” says Recio. “While there are many other delicious contenders, the flan cheesecake serves as the familiar fan favorite that doesn’t seek to compete with the many other flavors of the evening and endlessly proves to be the perfect way to close out the night.”