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6 comfort foods from small businesses to warm you up through winter

Brownies and pies and ramen, oh my!

The only thing that pairs better with winter than a seasonal affective disorder lamp is comfort food. After all, these rich, heavy indulgences are just what you need when it’s too gray, too cold and too dreary to leave your home and be a functioning member of society.

But when the idea of cooking or baking sounds too strenuous from underneath a pile of pillows and blankets, it’s time to call in for reinforcements.

We’ve rounded up six of our current favorite comfort foods from around the country, both savory and sweet, to satisfy any sudden hankering for carbs, sugar and sodium. Best of all, the small businesses featured below ship nationally, which means you don’t have to do anything except retrieve a box, properly store its contents and heat or defrost when ready to eat.

Elaine’s Bread Pudding, Los Angeles, California

What started as a family recipe used for holiday party gifts has evolved into a full-fledged bread pudding business with over 35 flavors, as well as Puddin Popz, cobblers and banana pudding. But owner Derrick Russell’s success is so much more than drool-worthy sweets and treats — it’s an ode to his late mother, Wanda Elaine, who “taught (him) everything” about baking and beyond. Love is certainly in the details with innovative iterations like lemonade, cookie butter and strawberry shortcake, but it’s the bananas Foster with brown butter whiskey sauce that put the company on the map and is their all-time best-seller.

Cookie Rich Cookies, Austin, Texas

The only thing that can make any standard cookie taste better is frosting, of course. So the founders of Austin-based Cookie Rich cleverly concocted bite-sized cookie sandwiches with a bevy of unique flavor combinations. Favorites include lemon with lemon pudding, toasted coconut with salted caramel, and a dirt cup with chocolate pudding, complete with actual gummy worms baked into the cookie. Available in chef sampler and best seller variety packs, these also make wonderful gifts for practically every occasion.

Immi Ramen, San Francisco, California

Founders Kevin Lee and Kevin Chanthasiriphan set on a mission to find healthier substitutes to the noodles consumed in the Thai and Taiwanese markets that they worked in as children. The result: immi ramen, which takes all of the beloved and authentic flavors of their youth but presents it in a plant-based, high-protein, low-carb packet that is inarguably more nutritious than most mainstream brands. The inspired flavors like black garlic “chicken” and spicy red miso are intended to serve as bases so that you can add your favorite traditional ramen ingredients like shiitake mushrooms, half-boiled eggs and Japanese fish cake (narutomaki) to complete the meal. Needless to say, they give the dorm room classic a run for its money.

Da Bomb Brownies, Plano, Texas

You’ll never rely on the boxed stuff again after one bite of Da Bomb’s gourmet brownies that more than live up to their witty name. In fact, these may just be some of the best brownies you’ve ever had in your life (no exaggeration) with moist and chewy classics such as triple chocolate and peanut butter swirl. Be sure to also sample their specialty options, as well, which includes pecan pie, red velvet and their rotating flavors of the month. And if you’ve got a wild idea in mind, let ‘em know — they pride themselves on special orders that incorporate more unusual or diet-specific ingredients like booze, gluten-free flour and vegan egg alternatives.

Southern Baked Pie Company Chicken Pot Pies, Gainesville, Georgia

There is nothing that soothes the soul more than a hot homemade chicken potpie. But the process of making one yourself can be quite laborious. That’s where Southern Baked Pie Company comes in with an all-white-meat chicken, peas, carrots and roux-based recipe, baked into a buttery double crust. Best of all? You only need an oven and an appetite. Don’t forget to pick from their wide assortment of dessert offerings, as well (their buttermilk pie made them famous). After all, the only thing better than chicken potpie is, well, more pie.

Camp Craft Cocktails Hot Toddies, Jacksonville, Florida

Take all of the guesswork out of making the perfect cocktail with these adorable (and easily giftable!) Mason jar kits from Camp Craft Cocktails. Complete with spices, sugars, dried fruits and whatever you may need to make a libation mixologist-approved, they only require you to add 12 ounces of your spirit of choice, refrigerate for three days and then shake before pouring. The Hot Toddy, of course, lends itself to cooler temperatures with apple, cinnamon, star anise and clove, but there are a handful of other varieties like sangria, hibiscus ginger lemon and affogato that are equally as delicious.