You can keep your turkeys, stuffing and squashes. For some of us, the winter holidays are all about the baked goods.
Cakes, pies, breads. Cookies and more cookies, the fancier and more brightly colored the better. (One year Annemarie made Julia Usher’s peacock cookies, made brilliantly blue with gel coloring, and overdid it a bit. The color was great, it was perfect—but it turned the eater’s mouth blue. For days.)
For those who don’t want to bake, or who don’t want to make all the things, our region sparkles with bakeries. These folks are talented and guess what—their goods won’t turn your mouth blue.
Beach Lake, Pennsylvania
What are your most popular items?
Our gingerbread cookies, lemon-glazed ginger cakes, meringues, decorative breads, and our Bûche de Noël.
What do you love best about the season?
We love this festive season because it’s almost always a guarantee that the people around you feel cheerier and friendlier.
What do you like best to make?
We always look forward to baking holiday cookies and cakes.
Are there specialty baked goods that you only make around the holidays?
We have seasonal pies that we make for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Around Thanksgiving, pumpkin spice is the flavor that people are craving, so that might go into a muffin, a scone, a cheesecake. For Christmas, we’ll turn to peppermint, ginger, cranberries and orange spice.
What are some of your more popular holiday baked goods?
Pies, pies, pies. Yes, they are traditional, but they are also the perfect dessert for sharing with a crowd.
What else do you do?
We can also put gift baskets together for the holidays. Our little marketplace is filled with gifts made right here in the Catskills that you can add to your basket of fresh treats. They make a wonderful gift!
Fremont Center, NY
County Road makes gluten-free baked goods, so even the strictly gluten-free can enjoy the holidays. “People deserve to have good food,” said co-owner and baker Alex Matsu.
Your facility is safe for celiacs?
Yes. We set it up, using equipment that was never used for wheat. It’s also nut-free, and there are vegan options.
What special holiday items do you sell?
Crescent rolls, stuffing, apple cider doughnuts, banana bread, pumpkin pie. People can pick up at our farmstand in Fremont Center.
And you have savory pastries.
My dad bakes the morning pastries. We have ham and cheese, blueberry and Swiss cheese. There’s chicken pot pie. That way everyone has something that’s good and delicious.
Why did they start a gluten-free bakery? Read the full interview with Alex Matsu at County Road.
Our advice is: Invite others to help, have fun and get messy. Turn on some festive music and make it a fun experience from start to finish. Enjoy the time you spend together and then, of course, the delicious treats when they’re ready!
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