Christmas at this beloved Taiwanese bakery chain means means layered cake in flavors like mango and strawberry. They might not sound like "holiday" flavors, but miniature Santa and candy cane decorations are there remind you that these are, in fact, Christmas cakes. The mango version stacks vanilla sponge cake with mango mousse; the strawberry subs in strawberry chiffon cake and mousse. A more traditional chocolate hazelnut version satisfies Nutella fans, and they've got a yule log, too.
At William Leaman's three bakeries, the holidays are represented across the board of baked goods, from cakes to pies to rolls to chocolates. The buche de noel might have major curb appeal (plus sponge cake, dark chocolate and raspberry mousses, and coffee butter cream), but the German stollen is the bakery's annual hit. A traditional holiday bread, the stollen is stuffed with candied citrus, cranberries, raisins, almonds, and almond paste and finished off with rum butter and sugar. It's what fruitcake always aspired to be. For pickup between December 21 and 24, be sure to reserve goodies by December 19.
Inject a little Scandinavian flavor into your festivities with classic Danish holiday specialities. No relation to Kris Kringle himself, this pastry is made up of layers of buttery dough and an almond raisin filing. Krumkake, crispy waffle cookies scented with vanilla and cardamom, are perfect for leaving out for Santa (or eating all on your own). For last-minute Hanukkah needs, Byen Bakeri also makes a challah holiday wreath.
Tom Douglas's bakery is best known for its triple coconut cream pie, which we eagerly beckon into our homes no matter the time of year. But we're also here for Dahlia's eggnog snickerdoodle cookies, flourless chocolate peppermint bundt cake, and buche de noel topped with meringue mushrooms and sugared rosemary. The bakery has you covered for Christmas morning too with its cranberry, orange, and pecan breakfast bundt. When can you justify having cake for breakfast if not at Christmas?
They say good things come to those who wait, and at Gelatiamo the phrase rings true when it comes to panettone, a traditional holiday bread from Italy. Bakers let it raise five times, meaning it takes more than a day before the dough even sees an oven. Made via a family recipe from owner Maria Coassin, the sweet, airy dome incorporates butter, eggs, candied orange, lemon peel, and golden raisins. Serve it with dessert wine for a traditional take, or, on the other end of the spectrum, slice it up and use it for French toast. Christmas morning has never looked this good.
Pike Place Market's "Very French Bakery" offers a whole slew of French Christmas treats, from chocolate and lemon buche de noels to candy cane macarons. Made to celebrate the Epiphany, a traditional galette des rois (king cake) sandwiches almond cream between layers of puff pastry; hidden inside is a small porcelain trinket, or fève, and whoever finds it is crowned king for the day. Le Panier has Christmas bread and brioche laden with cranberries, orange peel, almonds, walnuts, and golden raisins to boot.
At this small Seattle chain, sweet and savory holiday treats receive equal attention. On the sweet end of the spectrum, Macrina bakes the traditional (chocolate yule logs, pumpkin and apple pies) and the unique (eggnog cheesecake, white chocolate banana cake). Hand-formed loaves take the form of chocolate pecan babka and a crown filled with Washington pears. But in a sea of sugary treats, Macrina stands out for its holiday porcini stuffing mix, quiches, and brie, which comes topped with cranberry and raspberry preserves, brown sugar, and thyme.
Pike Place Market's stalwart shop for Russian baked goods is jumping on the kringle train too. The pastry varies throughout Northern Europe depending on the country (Byen Bakeri carries a Danish version); Piroshky Piroshky's take blends together cinnamon, cardamom, orange peel, raisins, and a touch of cocoa. After getting shaped into a wreath and baked, it's covered in honey lemon glaze and chocolate. Might we suggest replacing all wreaths with these infinitely tastier versions? Kringles can be preordered online or picked up at Piroshky Piroshky and PCC Community Markets locations.
Step aside Seattle bakeries: At its two scoop shops, Salt and Straw packs traditional Christmas flavors into a less traditional medium. During December, look for ice cream flavors like apple brandy and pecan pie, gingerbread cookie dough, and peppermint bark cocoa. A Sugar Plum Fairy concoction combines sweet plum jam, marzipan, and Assam tea in an ode to Tchaikovsky's ballet. And vegans, there's something for you too: cinnamon coconut eggnog ice cream made with two kinds of nutmeg and rum-infused almond milk.
For those more interested in snacking than working in the kitchen, Standard Bakery has pies, holiday cookie boxes, gingerbread house kits (so much better than the grocery store variety), and loaves of chocolate babka this month. What treasures do the cookie boxes hold? Only chocolate krinkles, pecan kisses, mint oreos, gingersnap orange cookies, pepperkarkor (Swedish ginger snaps), mini sugar cookies, Russian tea cookies, rugelah, mini gingerbread, and biscotti. And if you want to finish Hanukkah on the right note, Standard Bakery has sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts) available through the end of the holiday.