It's the most wonderful time of the year ... to get into the kitchen and whip up some holiday treats. But some of us can't or don't or even shouldn't bake, yet we still want amazing treats for guests, gifts, parties or just for fun. So let us give you some tips on finding amazing holiday baked goods – you might want to call ahead to pre-order – that will have you begging for more.
Cookie Jar Bakery in Lee's Summit – Make your celebration sweeter with traditional iced Christmas cookies, which are both cute and delicious, and wonderful gingerbread men. The shop's new homemade granola offers a healthy option, and they get rave reviews on their salted caramel brownies and lemon bars – a perfect reward for getting your holiday shopping done. You can always walk in, but if you want something special, give them a call as soon as possible.
B+B Boulangerie & Fair-Weather Café in Springfield – Go global with your holiday treats at B+B. Choose a traditional German Stollen wrapped around a ribbon of homemade marzipan. Their festive Santa coffee cake is stuffed with cinnamon sugar. And the Askinosie Buche de Noel (French Yule Log Cake) is filled with a full pound of Askinosie chocolate and decorated with marzipan mushrooms. Be sure to check out their North Pole cookie collection, too.
Kohn's Kosher Deli in Creve Coeur – The holiday season includes more than just Christmas. Chanukah runs from Dec. 2- 10, and special treats are a must. All it takes is a call to Kohn's, and they'll make a variety of Chanukah cookies in star, dreidel and menorah shapes as well as sufganiyot (donuts filled with jelly), iced and decorated cupcakes in two sizes, and latkes (potato pancakes). They also carry menorahs and Chanukah candles.
Pie Safe Bakery and Cafe in Pocahontas (just north of Cape Girardeau) – Located in a 1910 bank (it has an old-fashioned candy store in the vault!), Pie Safe Bakery can't be beat for comfort food for the holidays. Molasses cookies and black walnut sandies are always hot sellers, they have lots of decorated sugar cookies in Christmas motifs, and they feature German picture cookies – springerle – done with hand-carved rolling pins. But the thing that blew me away was their edible mini churches: imagine a gingerbread house but made with sugar cookies.
Sugarleaf Bakery & Cafe in Branson – A year-round favorite, Sugarleaf takes advantage of the holidays to focus on their mouth-watering small batch, from-scratch designer treats ranging from incredible homemade peppermint marshmallows to whimsical cookies in the shape of mittens and stocking caps to 8-inch tall Christmas trees and exquisite snowflakes. An added bonus for pet lovers, Sugarleaf is dog-friendly.
Sweet Mayhem Bakery and Bistro in Kennett – They have it all when it comes to desserts and treats: beautiful made-to-order and ready-to-go cakes, pies, soaked cinnamon rolls, iced sugar cookies, fudge, homemade candy and delectable mini cannoli. Sweet Mayhem's chef, Chad Stone, will be a contestant on Food Network's upcoming Holiday Gingerbread Showdown. Chef Chad will be featured on Episode 1 "Naughty or Nice" Nov. 25 at 8 p.m. competing to create the ultimate gingerbread showpiece.
Sugar and Spice Laura's Delight in Montgomery City - Go to town on seasonal cookies from this delightful bakery, featuring 25 different types of cookies available individually or in trays. Many of their recipes feature a German heritage, including anise-flavored springerle cookies with imprinted designs. Other favorites include fruit cake and old-fashioned date bars rolled in sugar as well as traditional decorated sugar cookies in holiday designs.
Nathaniel Reid Bakery in Kirkwood - At only two years old, they've maintained a five-star rating on both TripAdvisor and Yelp – and with good reason. Award-winning pastry chef Nathaniel Reid makes sure every item on the menu is exquisitely executed. Imagine the reaction you'll get when you set fresh Stollen or rich Vivienne Yule Log (made with pistachio cake, raspberry coulis, chocolate mousse, and fresh raspberries) in front of your guests. Give a gift of jams, chocolates, meringues and macarons – all filled with handmade deliciousness.
Between Nov. 1 and Jan. 15, approximately 29 holidays are observed by seven of the world's major religions. I don't know all the traditions – but personally, I think that means 29 great reasons to enjoy a sweet Missouri treat. Enjoy all the holidays!
Written by Barb Brueggeman