Hostess Delight: Holiday Sweets The Easy (But Impressive) Way
There’s no shame in admitting you don’t have the baking gene (or the time, or the inclination to punch out a few dozen Spritzen). Not when the Rural Intelligence region has so many stellar bakeries keeping their ovens going 24/7 until January rolls around. Here we highlight a few, but we know there are many, many more, so if you’d like to add your favorite to the list, well, that’s what our Facebook page is for, and we invite you to join in.
Bake Me Pretty (inside Berkshire Organics)
The name of this shop is an understatement; it should more appropriately be called Bake Me Beautiful or Astounding or Mesmerizing, because whatever you order will look exceptional. You’ll be proud to bring an adorable sugar cookie gift box, one or two of their selection of pies (regular or gluten free), some spicy caramel corn or their signature whoopie pies which come in Chocolate Peppermint, Gingerbread Eggnog, and Spiced Cranberry Grand Marnier (6 individually wrapped pies for $24). That’s just the tip of the tasty iceberg, stop by to see the beauty for yourself. Pre-order by emailing email@example.com.
813 Dalton Division Road
Gluten Free Gourmet Café
This is the bakery you come to when you want to make everyone happy. Although their mantra is “You wouldn’t know it’s gluten free if we didn’t tell you,” GFG Café also offers delicious goodies for those who can’t have dairy, sugar, nuts, yeast and other food items – just ask and they’ll probably be able to accommodate you. Holiday cookie platters range from $20-$35, glazed lebkuchen can be had for $35, and rugalach platters (three flavors are available) are $14/lb. Place your rugalach orders 48 hours prior to pickup; your Christmas orders by December 19 at 9 p.m. and pick up all orders by 2 p.m. on December 24. Call for pricing on orders you wish to be delivered locally or shipped.
284 Main Street (Inside the Atrium Shoppes)
Great Barrington, MA
For the Love of Pie and Mighty Brittle
Made with local and organic ingredients, and using no corn syrup – pies are sweetened with maple syrup or honey – these LOVE-ly pies really put their superior ingredients on display. Choose from Maple Pecan, Pecan with Dark Chocolate, Honey Apple Cranberry, and Pumpkin Dark Chocolate Swirl (which, with a crust of crushed pecans, shredded coconut and dates topped with a layer of dark chocolate ganache, is both vegan and grain free). Pies are $20 each; $25 for gluten free. Order by December 22 and pick up on December 23 at the bakery, or in Pittsfield or Great Barrington. Or meet the makers at the Shire City Shindy, GB Arts Delightful & Delectable Market, and Berkshire Grown’s holiday farmers markets, where they’ll have mini pies for sale along with their Mighty Brittle. The perfect host or hostess gift is their variety pack ($30) which includes all five brittle flavors: Maple, Orange Blossom, Cayenne, Chai and Espresso-Cacao.
786 US Route 20
New Lebanon, NY
This holiday season, proprietor Madeline Delosh will offer two types of Buche de Noels: chocolate buttercream with chocolate ganache and Grand Marnier buttercream with candied orange peel ($45 each); Stollen, a traditional German cake containing dried fruit and marzipan and covered with sugar ($25); and ginger cookies until they’re gone! The cut-off date for ordering the classic desserts is December 19.
10 Main Street
Skip the traditional fruit cake this year and give the gift of a delicious gift basket. Breakfast with Bread Alone features a mix of their cranberry scone recipe and peach jam and comes with coffee beans and a honey jar, all tucked into a sweet burlap bag $26.95. They also have a huge selection of cakes, pies, tarts and pastries. This time of year brings the return of their popular Yule Log ($24.95), vanilla cake rolled with espresso buttercream with “bark” made of chocolate ganache and silvered almonds. Pistachio “moss” and meringue “mushrooms” complete the look of this special treat that can be picked up just two days after the order date.
45 E. Market Street
It’s a season filled with pies, fruit cake, and sugar cookies…and handmade chocolates from Taste Budd’s in Red Hook. The American and French chocolates are made from African beans, which provide a strong and rich flavor. There are traditional peanut butter cups, truffles, and pralines, of course, but there are also pieces in unique flavors such as sour cherry, ruby raspberry, strawberry balsamic and mango. They can be packaged in a 15-piece gift box for $24.99 or a supersized 50 dark chocolate truffles for $75, which would be a wow hostess gift.
40 West Market Street
Red Hook, NY
Blackberry River Baking Co.
The macarons from Blackberry River Baking Co. make a gorgeous centerpiece to any dessert table, though they may just be too pretty to eat. The classic French sweet is handmade in a variety of flavors and colors and are $2 each. Our favorites are hot chocolate and lemon meringue. This time of year they are especially popular; owner Audrey Leary says they sell out faster than she can make them, so call ahead to order. The large cake menu is something else, too, with flavors such as carrot cake, chocolate salted caramel and everyone’s favorite, funfetti. Prices range from $36 for an eight-inch to $135 to a full sheet.
18 East Main Street
Sweet William’s Bakery
Sweet William’s is a one-stop bakery for all dessert-related needs. Owner Jason Young notes that this year the praline pumpkin pie ($18) has been very popular and they can hardly keep the gingerbread men on the shelf right now. They also have classic fruit, pecan, and pumpkin pies ($18-$24) and cheesecakes in flavors that include orange zest, caramel pecan, lemon zest and vanilla ($20.50). While you’re in there, make sure to check the glass cases for some of their year-round mainstay treats, especially the cookies of many varieties.
19 Main Street