Holiday bakeries

‘Tis the season to shove the bathroom scale to the back of the closet and fearlessly reach for what no holiday would be complete without — another double-mint chocolate chip brownie. 

Not a baker? Planning a holiday soirée? With visions of candy canes and gingerbread men dancing in our heads we followed the rich and enticing smells of baking wafting through the crisp D.C. air to some of the district’s best bakeries for holiday desserts. There’s nothing pre-packaged about these treats.

Georgetown’s Baked & Wired bakery is whipping up any and every kind of pie for the holidays. Pumpkin and apple pies are flying off the rack at dizzying speeds. The bakery offers holiday-inspired bags of cookies and biscotti perfect for stocking stuffers and holiday parties. Not to be outdone by Georgetown’s other famous cupcakery, Baked & Wired’s apple-caramel and peppermint-patty cupcakes remain a favorite holiday treat. Made from fresh, seasonal ingredients, the pies are served in Pyrex pie dishes at $36 each with an $8 dish deposit. The deposit is fully refundable when the dish is returned. Cookies are priced at $1.65 apiece, the biscotti is $1.95 apiece and the cupcakes are sold individually for $3.85.

Arlington’s newest culinary offering, Bayou Bakery, launches itself just in time for the holiday baking season. Bayou is offering its unique Louisiana twist on the old holiday favorite: pecan pie. Bayou expects its bourbon chocolate pecan pie with that extra dash of salt to spice things up will quickly become a seasonal must-have. Bayou plans to offer sweet potato pie as well. The beignets are perfect with Bayou’s made-fresh-hourly French press chicory coffee on a cold December morning. Bayou’s beignets are sold in threes for $3.

Old Town Alexandria’s Bittersweet Catering Café celebrates the season with a collection of holiday pies. Apple, pumpkin and chocolate pecan pies are available alongside Bittersweet’s regular and mini-sized pumpkin cupcakes. The hot bar serves a full holiday dinner complete with turkey or ham and all the requisite sides. Pies range in price from $14.95 to $22.95. Regular cupcakes are $2.75 each, minis are $1.25 apiece and the hot bar dinner ranges from $7.99 to $8.99.

Frosting, a cupcake boutique in Friendship Heights, takes the cupcake to a new level of sweet. For the holidays, this quaint mother/daughter-owned bakery delves into grandma’s recipe box to present her crumble coffee cake and cinnamon sticky buns. Frosting’s holiday cupcake selection includes Candy Land, a chocolate cupcake topped with peppermint cream cheese frosting and sprinkled with crushed candy canes; Sweetie Pie, a sweet potato pie with brown sugar buttercream frosting topped with toasted marshmallows; an eggnog cupcake; and mini cheesecakes with cherry and blueberry pie toppings. Mother’s famous cream puffs also make a holiday appearance along with the G-Man, a gingerbread cupcake topped with lemon cream cheese frosting with a homemade gingerbread cookie, available only on Thursdays. Cupcakes are sold individually for $2.75 or $29.70 a dozen at a 10 percent discount. Cream puffs are $1.85 each.

Serving D.C. from three locations, Firehook Bakery & Coffeehouse’s holiday dessert menu brings memories of grandma’s kitchen to mind. Apple crumb, pecan and pumpkin pies cool on the shelves, and holiday-decorated cupcakes sparkle in the display case. Pumpkin pecan cheesecakes chill in the refrigerator, with individual pumpkin cheesecakes next to their larger siblings. Pies range in price from $14 to $19. The pumpkin pecan cheesecake is $32, individual cheesecakes are priced at $2.75 each. Cupcakes are available in packages of six for $14.

Sticky Fingers Bakery, located in Columbia Heights, serves up delicious healthy treats for vegans and non-vegans alike.

“We are determined to make tasty treats,” said Doron Petersan, Sticky Fingers’s president and a vegan herself.

Petersan says her treats are healthier minus the eggs and butter found in other bakery’s goods. While vegans in the area flock to buy Sticky Finger’s goodies, non-vegans love the bakery as well.

“We are a local bakery, first and foremost, and we have loyal customers,” Petersan said.

Those loyal customers love Sticky Fingers’s holiday smash hit, the peppermint brownies. The bakery hopes to start the next big baked-goods trend with their pumpkin spice whoopie pie. Of course, they still offer the standard cupcakes. The bakery also offers pumpkin brownies and has miniature individual pumpkin cheesecakes. Resisting the pressure to start the holiday season before Thanksgiving, Sticky Fingers’s holiday offerings are only available after Dec. 1. All menu items at Sticky Fingers are egg- and dairy-free. The whoopie pies are $3 apiece, cupcakes range in price from $2.25 to $3. Individual cheesecakes are $6.50 each.

With so many bakeries and delicious treats to sample, the only real dietary quandary is which to try first.