After you make the nog, prep the guest beds and wrap the gifts, you’ll have plenty of time to whip up three dozen cookies and a cake for that holiday dinner, right?
It’s that time of year when time becomes your biggest foe. Shortcuts must be taken to maintain one’s sanity.
I’m here to help you outsource your party dessert.
Everyone loves a plate of cookies, an arrangement of petit fours or handmade cinnamon rolls crafted by your local baker, who is the time-pressed cook’s best friend this time of year.
I called bakery owners from Puyallup to Gig Harbor to find who is open Christmas Eve for last-minute dessert pickup. You should note that supplies will be limited to what’s on hand, and if you want the best shot at getting a great last-minute dessert, arrive early.
CELEBRITY CAKE STUDIO
Where: 314 E. 26th St., Tacoma; 253-627-4773, celebritycakestudio.com.
Regular hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays.
Christmas Eve hours: 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
Odette D’Aniello’s Dome District bakery specializes in fancy party cakes, but this bakery offers plenty of take-out options. The bakery is known for its gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan-safe treats (but those need to be pre-ordered).
For pickup: Cake by the slice, individually sized cakes, petit fours, cupcakes, professionally decorated sugar cookies, boxed cookies.
Packaged: A 12-pack box of prettily decorated spritz cookies in a gold box with a cellophane windowpane was a bargain at $14. It would make a lovely hostess gift. (Shrink wrapped to keep it fresher longer.)
Critic’s pick: The double-decker petit fours ($2.50) made with white cake and lemon filling, or D’Aniello’s exquisite frosted sugar cookies would make an outstanding dessert platter.
Where: 602 Fawcett Ave., Tacoma; 253-627-5070, corinabakery.com.
Regular hours: 7:30 a.m.-7 p.m. Mondays-Fridays; 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturdays; 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Sundays.
Christmas Eve hours: 8 a.m.-3 p.m.
Molly Ott’s neighborhood bakery next door to the Grand Cinema specializes in a broad selection of cake by the slice, savory and sweet pastries, puddings and brownies, but she carries the broadest Tacoma selection of ready-for-takeout gluten-free and vegan desserts.
For pickup: Cheesecake, pies, cookies, truffles, cake balls, cannoli, cupcakes, brownies, lemon bars, cake by the slice and more.
Packaged: A boozy, delicious mini-loaf of a brandy-soaked spiced fruitcake, which Ott said takes two months to make from start to finish ($6.95). The cake came topped with pecans and filled with dried fruit — cherries, kiwi, apricots, dates and blueberries. Also packaged are gingerbread tiles ($3.50).
Critic’s pick: Sugar plums — sticky fruit-and-nut balls dusted in sparkly sugar crystals— that are dairy- and gluten-free ($2.25). Plus, petit fours decorated with Christmas-themed characters ($2.65).
DOLCE SI SICILIAN BAKERY AND CAFE
Where: 5005 Main St., Tacoma; 253-292-0172, dolcesi.com.
Regular hours: 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays; 7 a.m.-10 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays; 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Sundays.
Christmas Eve hours: 7 a.m.-8 p.m.
Elisabetta O’Shea’s Italian bakery at Point Ruston specializes in traditional desserts she grew up eating in her native Sicily. I don’t care that it’s winter, be sure to try her house-made gelato.
For pickup: Cakes, tiramisu, cookies, fruit tarts, crostatas, pastries, cannoli in three flavors.
Packaged: Boxes of cookies in small and large configurations in the display case and ready to go immediately, priced around $15-$30 each.
Critic’s pick: Chewy, sticky almond cookies coated in powdered sugar with candied cherry centers ($2.50 each).
Where: 3411 Harborview Drive, Gig Harbor; 253-853-6220, susannesbakery.net.
Regular hours: 7 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesdays-Sundays.
Christmas Eve hours: 7 a.m.-noon.
Susanne and Mike Tunney’s Gig Harbor bakery will be a gathering place for coffee and pastries on Christmas Eve, but get there early because they close at noon.
For pickup: Cinnamon rolls, sticky buns, muffins, scones and cookies. A limited selection.
Critic’s pick: The adorable decorated Christmas cookies would give a handmade feel to a dessert platter. Do try the delicate thumbprint cookies, filled with raspberry jam and coated in crushed pecans if they’re in the display case ($1.50 each).
TATTERED APRON BAKERY
Where: 14207 Meridian Ave E., Puyallup; 253-845-4365, facebook.com/thetatteredapron.
Regular hours: 7 a.m.-4 p.m. Mondays-Fridays; 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays; 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Sundays.
Christmas Eve hours: 7 a.m.-2 p.m.
This is the first holiday season for the new South Hill bakery from Jessica Duggan, and she’s embracing the season with gusto. She’s devised several ways to bring her bakery to your holiday dessert table.
For pickup: Cakes, pies (by the slice or whole, but in limited supplies), pastries, cookies, coffee cake, brownies, cookie bars, muffins, scones and the best Danish in Pierce County.
Packaged: A cinnamon roll box filled with six jumbo-sized rolls ($20) is the quintessential Christmas morning breakfast-in-a-box (they come in traditional or rum raisin). Platters of various sizes made with cookies, cobbler bars, truffles and mini cupcakes ($48, small for 15-20; $65, medium for 25-30; $78 large for 35-40).
Critic’s picks: Sugar cookies topped with a cloud of butter cream sprinkled with crushed peppermint or chewy, deeply rich chocolate crinkle cookies ($2.95 each).
Where: 2102 E. Main St., Puyallup; 253-256-5566, wannacupcake.com.
Regular hours: 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays and 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Sundays.
Christmas Eve hours: 7 a.m.-4 p.m.
Earlier this year, Jim and Karie Romano moved their Puyallup cupcake bakery a few doors down and significantly expanded the bakery case to include cookies, pastries, cookie bars, scones and muffins.
For pickup: Cupcake flavors with a holiday theme include peppermint mocha, hot cocoa and gingerbread. Also available will be ginger molasses cookies, decorated holiday cookies and snowflake-shaped cookies.
Critic’s pick: Don’t miss the peanut butter cookies with a delicate snap ($1.50).