Even if you don’t celebrate any particular holiday during the winter, doesn’t a nice, chewy melomakarona sound good right about now? Here are a few spots that will do the baking for you, whether you need a dozen sufganiyot or an exact replica of a Yule log. Whatever that may be.
At Hanukkah, it is customary to indulge in fried foods like potato latkes to honor the little can of oil that miraculously lasted for eight nights. A favorite Hanukkah dessert is the Sufganiya, a plump doughnut filled with jelly and topped with powdered sugar. Bogart’s Doughnut Co. will have their version, which is kosher and made with their signature brioche dough, filled with house made strawberry and raspberry jelly and dusted with confectioners sugar, available starting December 26 at the Uptown location and on the 27 in the IDS. Call shop to place a pre-order.
Como Dockside, on the shores of Como Lake, serves golden, tender beignets, a New Orleans favorite, year round. Through the holidays, the bistro will fill the already perfect pastries with raspberry jam for a Southern take on sufganiyot.
Julekake, meaning "Yule cake," is a traditional Norwegian sweet bread made with candied citrus and lots of cardamom. Julekake is enjoyed at Christmas time with a slathering of butter and steaming cup of coffee. Swedish Crown Bakery in Anoka makes a lovely Julekake with candies orange, lemon peel and raisins. Their version is generous at 9 inches around and can easily be shared or enjoyed over a few days as a morning snack or dessert.
Beautiful versions of Julekake can also be found at Brake Bread in St. Paul, along with Icelandic Brown Bread and a milk and honey bread named Fwuffy. Say that fast ten times
Kringle may be the "Official Pastry of Wisconsin," but there is plenty of Minnesota made kringle to be had. Denny’s 5th Avenue Bakery makes this Scandinavian pastry in a giant pretzel shape, fills it with custard, almonds paste and raisins and tops with slivered almonds and sugar. These golden beauties are available daily, but the longer, more traditional version can be custom ordered as well. Take that, Racine.
Sunrise Bakery has been making their beloved potica, a Slovenian bread consisting of thin layers of dough painstakingly rolled and filled with nuts and honey, in the same Hibbing bakery for over 100 years. Sunrise’s Forti family has been making the time-consuming pastry for generations and selling it year round at their Sunrise Market here in the Twin Cities, where it flies out the door at Christmas time. Find this iconic holiday treat at Sunrise Market and Cafe’s on Grand Avenue. Call ahead as they often run out.
Americans of Scandinavian descent usually enjoy lefse, a soft Norwegian flat bread reminiscent of a tortilla, around the holidays. Lefse making tends to be a family affair, with multiple generations gathering in the kitchen on Thanksgiving and Christmas. But if you’d rather let someone else do the rolling, St. Anthony Park’s Finnish Bistro has you covered. A packet comes with five lefse (lefsi?) True story: the world record for largest lefse has been held by the city of Starbuck, Minnesota since 1983. Strange that no one has tried to break it all these years.
At Minneapolis’ Gardens of Salonica, they hand out these Greek cookies to their customers as a holiday treat, but they also sell them by the dozen if one is not enough (it won’t be.) There are many variations on the classic recipe, but at Gardens of Salonica they use organic orange zest as a central flavor, along with cinnamon and butter. The warm cookies are then dipped in a honeyed syrup and topped with walnuts, making them soft on the inside and crisp on the outside. During lent, the cookies are made them with olive oil instead of butter so everyone can indulge.
If anyone can make fruit cake edible, it’s Solveig Tofte at Sun Street Bakery. Hers is not the fruitcake of your childhood nightmares- the kind that weighs about 18 pounds, speckled with neon hued maraschino cherries. This small cake is ultra buttery and dotted generously with dried figs, crystalized ginger, candies orange peel, almonds and Valhrona bittersweet chocolate, soaked in Norseman rum and wrapped in cheese cloth. Determined to "bring fruit cake back," Tofte began selling her limited supply of fruit cakes a month before Christmas because it is meant to age slightly. No, really, it is.
Who better to make your chocolate cake shaped tree than the James Beard Award nominated Michelle Gayer. Once again, The Salty Tart has yule logs available for order at the Midtown Global Market shop. Watch the delightful video and tell us this isn't the most adorable dessert of all.
The Italian holiday treat is being specially made in house this year at Cossetta's in St. Paul. The 30 hour process uses special ingredients imported from Italy. Candied orange peel and golden raisins are embedded in the slightly sweet dough and the whole thing is dusted with powdered sugar for that freshly fallen snow feel. Panettone is available for pick up inside the Alimentari deli and the pasticceria at Cossetta's.