Easy homemade holiday dessert gift ideas

"Iron Chef Showdown" star Alex Guarnaschelli some of her festive sweet treats.

— -- There's something extra special about a homemade gift for the holidays.

Celebrity chef Alex Guarnaschelli shared some of her recipes for festive desserts that are sure to delight the whole family over the holidays.

Guarnaschelli, the author of "The Home Cook: Recipes to Know by Heart" and star of "Iron Chef Showdown," showed "Good Morning America" how to prepare a selection of her family favorite holiday treats and snacks and package them up as gifts or to serve at your gathering.

1. Dark chocolate peppermint bark

"Every year I tell myself that the holiday bark I scarfed down the previous year was an anomaly, that I don’t really care about bark. So far, years into this ruse, I can tell you it has been ineffective," Guarnaschelli said. "Chocolate bark is wonderful when it is made with toasted nuts or dried fruits. But my favorite version has crunchy, minty crushed candy canes atop slightly bitter dark chocolate."

The chef recommends using high quality candy canes and chocolate, saying, "Great ingredients always make a difference and especially in a recipe like this where there are so few."

To see the full step-by-step recipe for Guarnaschelli's peppermint bark click here.

2. Caramel corn

"I fell in love with caramel corn as an adult," Guarnaschelli said. "I first tasted it at the Santa Monica greenmarket when I should have been sampling 30 varieties of local heirloom tomatoes."

Guarnaschelli says she especially likes the brown sugar in caramel because it "contrasts starkly with the savory popcorn" to create "that addictive salt-sugar combo."

To see the full step-by-step recipe for Guarnaschelli's caramel corn click here.

3. Strawberry jam bars

"I have a secret love of breakfast pastries that ooze a tangy layer of berries," Guarnaschelli admitted. "Mixing fresh strawberries with raspberry jam makes them taste even more strawberry-like to me."

She added that "while this is considered a dessert," it can also be served as a snack or breakfast pastry. She recommends serving it "with a cup of really hot tea."

To see the full step-by-step recipe for Guarnaschelli's strawberry jam bars click here.

4. Chocolate almond whoopie pies

"My aunt Aggie grew up in a big sprawling house in Maine that I visited only once when I was growing up. The house was beautiful and the area stunning, but it was actually the whoopie pie I devoured just after the visit that made an impression," Guarnaschelli said.

"It was one of those moments when someone hands you something unexpected and wonderful. You remember that first taste as if it were yesterday," she added.

She described her whoopie pie recipe as having a "delightfully junky edge," which she admits is "not unlike, but arguably an improvement upon, all those processed cakes we enjoyed as kids."

To see the full step-by-step recipe for Guarnaschelli's chocolate almond whoopie pies click here.