Christmas Sweets Roundup for Washington, DC 2016
It’s that time of year again: Nights are filled with fancy parties, front yards sparkle with tinsel and glowing lights, and everyone waits for Santa’s arrival. Whether you wish your friends and loved ones “Joyeux Noël,” “Feliz Navidad,” “Fröhliche Weihnachten,” or “Schastlivogo RozhdestvaIt,” the Christmas traditions give everyone permission to sample beautifully decorated cakes, cookies, and bonbons.
If you fall into the camp of “it’s just not Christmas without something sweet,” but baking is the last thing you want to do during the holidays, consider buying your holiday sweets from a top-notch pastry shop. To make your search easier, I’ve compiled a short list of places that offer a range of treats prepared by talented pastry chefs and independent pastry shop owners.
Each shop is distinct and offers a range of unique or traditional desserts, but they all share a dedication to edible art, from-scratch baking, creative designs, and a promise to use nothing but the best ingredients. I recommend each shop and the professionalism of the owners, chefs, and staff.
Note: Please be sure to call and order online and verify pricing, product availability, customizations, etc. Christmas is the busiest time of year for pastry chefs and some items may be sold out or unavailable.
Baked & Wired
In D.C., there are coffee shops, and then there are coffee shops. You know the kind that is a destination for anyone with an insatiable sweet tooth, which is why Baked & Wired is a favorite during Christmas. “Flavor” is the watchword here and the range of holiday offerings includes traditional cut-out decorated sugar cookies, South American specialties like alfajor, and Old World standbys like Lebkuchen and Linzer. There are also pretty butter spritz cookies and gluten-free chocolate sammies, so feel free to order extras for gifts and stocking stuffers.
In the South, sweet things are always part of the party menu and especially at Christmas. Pastry chef and New Orleans native David Guas is the reigning king of Cajun and Louisiana treats. As a result, Bayou Bakery’s locations in Arlington, Virginia, and the District often have long lines for traditional pralines, pies, and morning loaves — and don’t miss the holy moly Creole Kringle cake; it's Guas’ riff on King Cake.
Buttercream Bake Shop
If you are looking for classic pastries, cookies, and cakes with a modern design aesthetic, make a beeline for Buttercream Bake Shop, owned by pastry chef Tiffany MacIsaac and lead decorator Alex Mudry-Til. This gem offers specialty cakes and desserts, and is also offering a range of delightful Christmas goodies that includes snowman-decorated macarons, pastry towers, pies, and gift boxes.
Creative Cakes is a pastry destination located in Silver Spring, Maryland, that specializes in cakes, cookies, and desserts that are incredibly detailed, original, and popular. This season, they are selling decorated gingerbread cookies and gingerbread house kits, and will make your Christmas parties and events a bit more festive. Just be sure to call to place your order because that’s the only way to ensure you get what you want.
For the hostess with a Parisian sense of style, the perfect gift or stocking stuffer is a box of lovely holiday-themed macarons from Olivia Macaron. This cute shop’s macarons are made fresh daily and will impress even the most persnickety gourmet. The macarons are kosher and gluten-free, and can be bought in the shop, delivered locally, or shipped nationwide. Splurge a little and order a Holiday Box for someone near and dear; each box comes with a personal message, can be ordered in different sizes, and prices from $25 for nine pieces to $65 for 24 pieces.
Francophiles know that Christmas just isn’t Christmas without a Bûche de Noël cake and Patisserie Poupon is a long-time favorite for those in search of French pastries prepared by a native French pastry chef. The shop’s Christmas goodie menu includes caramel-dipped cream puffs filled with Grand Marnier pastry cream shaped like a Christmas tree, macaron raspberry cake, other specialty cakes, and tarts.