(Credit: Chrystal Baker)

(Credit: Chrystal Baker)


There’s no better time than the holiday season to indulge in sugar. It’s just part of the package. Whether you’re looking for desserts to share with friends and family around the table, or something creative to bring to the office potluck, several bakeries and sweet shops around the city have pulled out some of their best treats to suit your fancy. They all play on seasonal flavors, ingredients, and even characters, that will boost your festive feelings and satisfy your sweet tooth.

(Credit: Chrystal Baker)

(Credit: Chrystal Baker)


Holiday Cookies
Cookie Good
2448 Wilshire Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA 90403
(424) 280-4100
www.cookiegood.com

You may be convinced to leave the baking to the pros this year after one bite of Cookie Good’s spiced, molasses-flavored Gingerbread Latte or minty, chocolate Oreo-Candy Cane cookie. Those flavors are just a couple of the Santa Monica shop’s seasonal offerings. Babka is swirled with cinnamon and chocolate and covered in crumble, Hot Cocoa is studded with mini marshmallows, and Holly Jolly, Holiday Sprinkle and Cap’n Crunch Holiday Crunch are colorful, sweet nods to all the red and green hues about town. Spring for the holiday cookie box for a sampling of nearly everything the shop’s cases have to offer.

(Credit: Chrystal Baker)

(Credit: Chrystal Baker)


Hazelnut Crunch Napoléon
Le Petit Paris
418 South Spring Street
Los Angeles, CA 90013
(213) 217-4445
www.lepetitparisla.com

Le Petit Paris transforms a traditional French dessert into a seasonal treat featuring chocolate and hazelnuts for the holidays. Instead of the typical layered stack of buttery puff pastry, Le Petit Paris presents its Hazelnut Crunch Napoléon with vertical, parallel sheets of crisp pastry filled with hazelnut pastry cream. The dessert is topped with Valrhona chocolate crémeux, chocolate pearls and candied hazelnuts. You’ll find it on the restaurant’s dessert menu, as well as the adjacent retail shop, La Boutique, which is full of curated, imported French items, including gourmet delicacies. For special events, place an order for a napoléon large enough to feed up to 40 people.

(Credit: Westbound)

(Credit: Westbound)


Sufganiyot
Westbound
300 South Santa Fe Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90013
(213) 262-9291
www.westbounddtla.com

On November 30th, Westbound draped its bar in all things festive, inviting guests to take part in the merriment known as the Miracle on Santa Fe pop-up. Walk under the drifting “snow”, and enter a bar decked out for the holidays with cocktails and dishes that speak to the season. Snag a table by the tree or along the decorated bar, and enjoy a Bowl Full of Jelly Donuts. Westbound pays homage to Hanukkah with sufganiyot–traditional Israeli jelly-stuffed brioche donuts–filled with housemade raspberry and sherry vinegar jelly, then covered in powdered sugar like fallen snow. Each batch is proofed and cooked to order, so sit tight with a cocktail or play a game of Manischewitz punch pong while you wait for your helping of freshly fried dough. You’ll only find these donuts on the menu through December 31st, the last day of Miracle on Santa Fe.

(Credit: Chrystal Baker)

(Credit: Chrystal Baker)


Pitchoun! Bakery
545 South Olive Street
Los Angeles, CA 90013
(213) 689-3240
www.pitchounbakery.com

Pitchoun! stuffed its baked good case and surrounding shelves with an array of holiday pastries and candies that depict some of the specific imagery or characters that pop up during the season. An assortment of housemade éclairs, freshly baked each day, will appeal to everyone who loves to admire cute food before chowing down. They’re decorated as snowflakes, angels, Santas and snowmen with a flavored, silky custard inside each baked cylinder of dough. Caramel, coconut, pistachio and raspberry custard holiday éclairs are available in-store or by special order.

(Credit: Chrystal Baker)

(Credit: Chrystal Baker)


Hot Chocolate
Vinoteca
Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills
300 South Doheny Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(310) 273-2222
www.fourseasons.com

Vinoteca’s Peppermint Hot Chocolate is just the soothing beverage to enjoy after a day of shopping in Beverly Hills, or perhaps even as the dessert course following your meal. The Italian wine and espresso bar blends housemade dark chocolate ganache, milk chocolate, housemade peppermint syrup and steamed milk to create a holiday drink that’s quite a few steps up from any packaged variety. If you need more caffeine in your life, Vinoteca’s Peppermint Latte provides a boost from thanks to its combination of fresh mint and espresso. Ask the barista to top your mug with a swirly polar bear or pine tree for a winter wonderland effect.

(Credit:  Salt & Straw)

(Credit: Salt & Straw)


Holiday Ice Cream
Salt & Straw
Multiple locations
www.saltandstraw.com

Salt & Straw keeps its customers on their toes with an array of featured flavors each month. During December, all four L.A. shops have Peppermint Cocoa, Apple Brandy & Pecan Pie, Gingerbread Cookie Dough, Fennel Five Spiced Eggnog and, our city-exclusive, Honeyed Butter Tarts. Angelenos may find it difficult to choose as each one is unique and plays on our personal memories, experiences and comforts of the season. Gingerbread and eggnog are made for those who enjoy warm spices, while apple brandy and honey buttered tarts will appeal to anyone with a penchant for baked goods. If you fawn over the bright, richness of mint and chocolate, go for peppermint cocoa. These flavors will be on the menu through December 29, so get there before January’s featured menu takes over.

(Credit: Erica Allen)

(Credit: Erica Allen)


Peppermint Bark
Sweet Rose Creamery
Multiple locations
www.sweetrosecreamery.com

Mint and chocolate go hand in hand, which is why you’ll find it almost everywhere as a pair during the holiday season. Sweet Rose Creamery recently added Peppermint Bark to the shelves. Dark chocolate forms the base, followed by a smearing of creamy white chocolate, then a topping of crushed peppermint candies. Match this with a pint of Peppermint Bark Ice Cream for a full force mint attack. Sweet Rose Creamery’s housemade bark is the perfectly decadent treat you can gift yourself or someone you think deserves goodies for the holiday.

Chrystal Baker is a freelance food and events contributor for CBS Los Angeles, Basil Magazine and Frugivore Magazine. She is the co-editor of a recipe blog, The Duo Dishes, and manages her own lifestyle and travel blog, Any and Everywhere.

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