If there's one time of year when baked goods reign supreme, it's the holidays. And if there's one time of year when most of us have no time for baking, it's the holidays. But what's Christmas Eve without gingerbread men, Christmas breakfast without coffeecake or the big dinner without homemade rolls? If you're looking for ways to make your holiday meals hearken to Norman Rockwell abundance without the endless sifting, here are some local bakeries that have your back. And be sure to share your favorites in the comments section below.
The Neighborhood Secret
Tucked just off Broad Street, Lucille's Bakery offers pies, holiday tarts and gluten-free tortes such as bourbon pecan and espresso, and traditional German Christmas stollen. Breads and rolls — potato rosemary, cranberry fennel, white, wheat and caraway — are baked on premises, along with crackers (rosemary, six-grain and whole wheat), which make a nice upgrade for cheese and spreads. A dozen minipastries on a tray would look fine on a buffet table. Orders should be placed three days ahead, and pickup day is Saturday, Dec. 22.
719 N. Meadow St., 204-1524
Looking for the makings of a sumptuous Christmas brunch? D'Lish is a chef-run bakery and cafe that makes a tempting assortment of quiches, danishes, croissants and cinnamon rolls. Rich breads such as challah and brioche make superior vehicles for leftover ham and turkey sandwiches. Specialty cakes are available, as well as pies for every taste — sweet potato, key lime, pecan, apple, pumpkin, lemon meringue and chocolate cream. Orders will be taken until the week before the holiday with Christmas Eve pickup 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
11844 Chester Village Drive, 717-2253
The Cutie Pie
For the ultimate in traditional Christmas desserts, look west to Pearl's for a bûche de Noël, or its decorative cupcakes and cakes in a multitude of flavor combos. Personalized gingerbread cookies, macaroons and pastries can be made vegan or gluten-free by request. Orders require 48 hours notice and can be picked up, along with last-minute goodies, on Christmas Eve, 7:30 a.m.-2 p.m.
Pearl's Cupcake Shoppe
5812 Grove Ave., 285-2253
Because pies travel well as you head over the river to grandmother's house, WPA has a full menu: coconut cream, buttermilk, pecan, chocolate pecan, pumpkin, lemon and chocolate chess. All can be made vegan, gluten-free ($5 surcharge) or vegetarian. Cookies, cakes and other pastries are worth a visit to this charmingly retro Church Hill shop. The order deadline is one week in advance and last pickup is Dec. 23, 7 a.m.-2 p.m.
2707 E. Marshall St., 716-9797
If cookie baking isn't your thing, Westhampton is the place to score them by the dozen, including gingerbread men and fadeaways — bakery confections made only in December. To make the big breakfast especially indulgent, try the melt-away and Christmas-tree coffeecakes. Mincemeat pie and fruitcake are made from scratch, along with chocolate ice box, pecan, sweet potato, cherry, French apple and lemon chess pies. Black walnut and coconut cakes are among the most popular. Order early. Open Christmas Eve for order pickups only.
Westhampton Pastry Shop
5728 Patterson Ave., 282-4413
Since 1924, Richmonders have turned to Sally Bell's for tea biscuits, twin rolls, muffins and turnovers to accompany their meals. And for dessert, there are sweet potato, pecan and lemon chess pies. Yet the biggest selling item for Christmas is the potato salad. Go figure. Regulars know to put in orders early (and with only one phone line, calling in the afternoon is best). But if you're a procrastinator, take your chance buying over the counter because Sally Bell's always makes extra anticipating just that. Orders can be picked up Christmas Eve, 11 a.m.- 2 p.m.
Sally Bell's Kitchen
708 W. Grace St., 644-2838