By mid-December it's fair to assume that most people have given way to their cravings of all things sugary and buttery. It's hard to walk into a local grocery store, let alone a patisserie or bakery without being overstimulated with the array of seasonal baked goods at one's disposal.
While there are many locations where you can find the usual holiday baking suspects, there are also places offering up more unique seasonal creations. From an eggnog pastry at Edmonton's La Boule Bakery to Amaido Cafe's tasty mochi doughnuts in Calgary, here are some bakeries with some must-try holiday baking.
94 Take the Cake Bakery (Okotoks)
Located a short drive from Calgary in the town of Okotoks, 94 Take The Cake has a quirky name and an even more quirky interior. The bakeshop has garnered plenty of buzz for its interior vibing like a-ha's "Take On Me" music video come to life and their vibrant creations that range from all types of cookies and cupcakes to custom cakes and more.
For the holidays, 94 is offering us a ton of different Christmas-themed macarons, D-I-Y cookie decorating kits and even a gingerbread
house brewery kit inspired by its neighbour, Hubtown Brewing Co. How cute is that?
Alforno Bakery (Calgary)
Aside from baking up creative panettoni this month–including an especially delicious peanut butter and chocolate variety–Alforno is practically bursting at the seams with interesting options when it comes to very merry confections this year. In addition to their artisanal panettone flavours, there's jumbo-sized gingerbread men, seasonal macarons, tarts and cakes.
The fast-and-furious fad that is the hot chocolate bomb feels a bit tired already, but that said, Alforno's ornament-shaped bombs (one for $12, three for $27) are more visually appealing than most.
Amaido Cafe (Calgary)
If you've never had a mochi doughnut before, you are missing out on one of the most interesting baking trends to pop up in Canada in quite some time. Made with a glutinous rice and flour base, these doughnuts offer up a wonderful, airy texture when bitten into.
Calgary's Amaido Cafe bakes up delicious mochi doughnuts and their ever-changing lineup of toppings has gotten especially festive this month. Expect possible doughnut options like eggnog, matcha, London fog, mocha peppermint and caramel miso, just to name a few.
Arin Hiebert Company (Calgary)
There's much to love about chef Arin Hiebert's playful and eye-catching creations. Hiebert's eggnog cake–nutmeg-spiced cake layered with eggnog filling and red and white buttercream icing–feels almost Whoville-y in its looks and is surely something both kids and kids at heart would have a slice of after holiday dinner.
His cookie sandwiches come in three flavours (snickerdoodle, ginger molasses, chocolate mint) and are a perfect handheld treat if you're like me and usually have a glass of spiked 'nog in the other.
Duchess Bake Shop (Edmonton)
When it comes to baked goods, few do it better than Edmonton's Duchess Bake Shop. This premier Canadian bakery puts its best foot forward during the holiday season with stunning Bûche de Noëls, dark chocolate peppermint shortbread, gourmet marshmallows and spiced orange holiday loaves–and don't you dare confuse them with fruitcake.
Of course, there is so much more behind the baking display cases here with all-season creations like their signature Duke cake, which is always a showstopping way to end a meal.
Mari Bakeshop (Calgary)
Located in Calgary's East Village neighbourhood, Mari Bakeshop dazzles with a plethora of truly special baking. Not limiting themselves to just sweet items, Mari has imprinted designs on their baguettes that, after baking, resemble the silhouette of a Christmas tree while the tops of their sourdough loaves offer up a mix of holiday messages, images and scenes. Surely, bringing home a loaf of sourdough with Santa and his sleigh imprinted (naturally) on top will make this holiday season more memorable.
Yule logs, cocoa-stenciled shortbread and big cream puffs filled with a Baileys cream and dark chocolate ganache are just a few of the sweet treats you'll find here as well.
La Boule Bakery (Edmonton)
Peppermint chocolate eclairs, enticing boxes of holiday cookies and bars, eggnog cruffins (I'll take a dozen), a beautifully modern take on Bûche de Noël with gingerbread cake, white chocolate, white wine-braised spiced pear compote and candied hazelnuts...it's clear that La Boule didn't just come to play this 2020 holiday collection. They came to set the bar.
The cut-off for pre-orders on all of La Boule's gorgeous seasonal creations is Friday, December 18 so don't miss out.
Ohana Donuts (Edmonton)
Ohana Donuts is a Hawaiian-style doughnut shop serving up plenty of playful holiday-themed items like red velvet and candy cane-dipped doughnuts spelling "MERRY XMAS", sugarplum custard-filled doughnuts and even some cronuts too. I'm not sure I'm sold on their wintergreen cronut creation, but I suppose nearly any flavour pairs well with layers of buttery pastry?
This doughnut hotspot in Edmonton might be the closest thing to experiencing Hawaii that any of us can have this winter.