We are suckers for sweets. Lucky for us, there is a quartet of new bakeries where we can indulge ourselves, whether we’re in the mood for crazysexycool cakes, Greek goodies, blue-ribbon breakfast treats, or the best banana pudding we’ve ever eaten. Ever. Thank goodness our new diet doesn’t start until January!
Of course, Greek rooted baker Katerina Georgallas makes baklava. Her version rolls flakey layers of pastry around cinnamon and honey kissed walnuts. She also puts out a mean spanakopita, featuring a pleasant hint of dill, and challah-like tsoureki. But dig a little deeper into Grecian cuisine to discover some lesser-known stunners, like melomakarona (olive oil cookies), kourabiedes (almond fortified shortbread), and sugar cookies touched with the sap of the mastic tree, which adds a piney-herby-otherworldly flavor. Mastiha is popping up at Shop Made in DC through December 24. Find a full list of holiday pop-ups and stores carrying their baked goods here.
The storied New York City sweet spot became famous for its cupcakes, but there’s so much more going on here. You can still get the Sex and the City-approved cupcakes; we’re partial to the pineapple-y, pecan studded hummingbird cake inspired treats slathered with cream cheese frosting. Take the best-ever banana pudding as an example. Normally, it’s a humble affair without any wow-factor. Here the pudding is aerated to give it a fluffy creaminess, which is a nice contrast to the smoothness of the bananas and the cakey chunks of vanilla wafers suspended in it. The brown sugar cookies are a revelation, their deep sweetness evoking piloncillo, dark caramel, and butterscotch. And don’t get us started on the peanut butter icebox bars, a stratified sweet featuring caramel, peanut butter whipped cream, and a crowning array of Reese’s peanut butter cups.
You’ll have to schlep out to the Pike & Rose development in North Central for Caroline Yi’s baked goods, but they’re worth the drive. She renders the classics so beautifully that you’ll definitely take pictures before you eat them. Standouts include gracefully golden croissants boasting too many layers of buttery dough to count, cinnamon sugar dusted brioche doughnuts brimming with strawberry jam, and pop tarts bursting with seasonal flavors that will whisk you back to childhood. After a successful run at the Pike Central Farm Market, Yi will open her brick and mortar location next summer. In the meantime, keep an eye on Instagram for information on pop-ups and other appearances. You can also custom order cakes, breakfast pastries, and signature sweets by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Baker-owner Bria Bryant crafts towering cakes rich with color and textures that practically jump off your screen when you see them on social media. The stunning sweets are even more impressive in person. For the next three to six months, if not longer, she is offering a selection of her devilishly delightful desserts at Pendleton Carryout Co. in Alexandria. There’s rainbow-riffic confetti cake packed with white chocolate buttercream, cake batter ganache, and blondie bits; the Snack Attack featuring potato chip cake, dulce de leche buttercream, chocolate stout sauce, and pretzel crack; and Coco Loco with chocolate malt cake, dark chocolate filling, chocolate crumb, and brownie batter buttercream (all sold by the slice). If that’s not enough, there are way-over-the-top Atomic Brownies: brown butter chocolate chip cookies filled with Oreos then topped with a double chocolate brownie, chocolate ganache and sprinkles.