The holiday feeling is in the air. In the blink of an eye, we have gone from clearing away our Halloween decorations to putting lights and ornaments on the Christmas tree. To prepare for the year-end feast, add these treats to your shopping list for some sweet indulgence.
Yule Log or Bûche de Noël
One of the most popular festive desserts, its name refers to the specially selected piece of wood burned in a hearth during Christmas in Europe. The cake is a roulade covered in chocolate buttercream and decorated to look like a tree branch. Despite the intricate look, its ingredients are relatively simple, allowing bakers to put their own spin on the creation.
Nadège Patisserie’s Classy Affair is a modern take on the log, combining vanilla mousse, crunchy hazelnut and almond praline with a chocolate sponge cake. Its Winter Cabin is more luxurious with chocolate mousse, cinnamon crème brulée, chewy cookie, milk chocolate ganache and roasted nuts. Price: $55 (6 servings).
For this holiday season, Goûter brings back its popular log Elegance, a flourless and nutless sponge covered in three types of chocolate with meringue mushroom for some crunch. Its classic version is the traditional bûche de noël with a choice of either chocolate or mocha buttercream. There is also a vanilla strawberry variation and a frozen log featuring dark chocolate ice cream. Price: $45 – $55 (6-8 servings).
A French patisserie with a Korean flair, Bonne Nouvelle brings many delightful surprises with unique flavor combinations. The Christmas collection includes a hazelnut sponge, complimented by refreshing yuzu cream and mandarin jelly. The entire cake is enrobed in dark chocolate and lightly dusted with powdered sugar. Each comes with silk bojagi (traditional Korean gift wrapping cloth) and costs $90 (6-8 servings).
3507 Bathurst Street, Toronto, ON
300 Eglinton Ave W, Toronto, ON
655 College St, Toronto, ON
Christmas cookies trace their roots to the Middle Ages, when bakers were first introduced to spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. These ingredients, along with sugar and butter, were highly-prized, so families could only afford to make sweet treats during important holidays. Unlike cakes or pies, cookies could be stored and given to friends and neighbours easily. Thus, the tradition of the cookie exchange was born.
Bobbette & Belle is known for its picture-perfect desserts. For Christmas, the bakery features gingerbread Victorian holiday cookies with hand-piped intricate details ($14.95 each). These dainty treats are a pretty sight to look at and make great gifts.
Photo courtesy of Bobbette & Belle.
If you’re looking to keep the little ones busy, try Le Dolci’s Christmas kit ($39). Each contains a dozen baked sugar cookie in different shapes and icing piping bags in several colors.
This fluffy dome-shaped cake is studded with dried fruits and candied peels, and perfumed with vanilla (and sometimes liqueur.) The yeasted dough, enriched with egg and butter, takes several days to prepare. Legend has it that the first panettone was created in the 15th century for the Duke of Milano and the loaf has since become a popular dessert in Italian households during the holidays.
In Toronto, Eataly has one of the largest selections of panettone from artisanal producers in Italy. They come in a variety of flavors, from pear and chocolate to Amarena cherry. There are also vegan and gluten-free options.
Bakeries that make panettone in-house include Forno Cultura, Blackbird Baking Company and Tres Rose Bakery.
Prices range $18 – $40.
Manulife Centre, 55 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON
Blackbird Baking Company
635 Queen Street East, #101, Toronto, ON
172 Baldwin Street, Toronto, ON
Tres Rose Bakery
2098 Kipling Ave, Etobicoke, ON
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