5 Holiday Desserts and Where to Get 'Em

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Fri, Dec 23, 2011 at 10:24 AM

click to enlarge Croquembouche - FLICKR/CHOCSWIRL
Holiday desserts get a bad rap with memories of cloyingly sweet, leaden bricks of Christmas past. Escape your fruit cake funk and end the year with these five sweets: croquembouche, panetonne, sufganiyot, stollen and the beautifully elaborate Buche de Noel. Sure, you can make them yourself, but it's good to know you don't have to. Turn the page for details.

click to enlarge croquembouche - BOTTEGA LOUIS/FACEBOOK
  • Bottega Louis/Facebook
  • croquembouche
5. Croquembouche:

What: AKA Croque-en-Bouche (literally "crunch in the mouth"), the towering display is stacked with cream puffs and glazed with caramelized sugar. Where: Little Next Door's confectionery pyramid -- choose vanilla, chocolate, coffee, Grand Marnier or rose cream-filled choux -- are sprinkled in crushed pistachios and serves 30. Bottega Louie has a multi-flavored version of macarons in small (35 pieces) and large (125 pieces). Details: Little Next Door, 8142 W. 3rd St., Los Angeles, (323) 951-1010, $175. Bottega Louie, 700 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles, (213) 802-1470, $125 for small, $175 for large.

click to enlarge Proof Bakery's Panetonne - PROOF BAKERY
  • Proof Bakery
  • Proof Bakery's Panetonne
4. Panetonne:

What: What's inside the hat shaped-box lining grocery store aisles this time of year? The brioche-like Milanese bread of dried fruit is a little egg-y, a little citrus-y, and totally Christmas. Where: Atwater Village's Proof Bakery round loaf is baked with golden raisins, candied orange and topped with sliced almonds. Tavern's in-house baker Nathan Dakdouk makes his version with rum and orange liqueur-soaked dried pineapple, Thompson and golden raisin, cranberries, candied orange and orange juice for a delicate and not-too-sweet loaf. Details: Proof Bakery, 3156 Glendale Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 664-8633, $25. The Larder at Tavern, 11648 San Vicente Blvd., Los Angeles, (310) 806-6460, $10.

click to enlarge Hanukkah Doughnuts at Beverlywood Bakery - KATHERINE KIMS
  • Katherine Kims
  • Hanukkah Doughnuts at Beverlywood Bakery
3. Sufganiyot:

What: These yeast doughnuts of Hanukkah are fried in oil and eaten in honor of the oil to light the Menorah for eight days. Where: Bakeries in LA's Fairfax are aplenty selling the powder sugar-dusted, raspberry jelly-filled fritters. Details: Beverlywood Bakery, 9128 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, (310) 278-0122, $1.95. Canter's Delicatessen, 419 N. Fairfax Ave., (323) 651-2030, $1.25. Schwartz Bakery, 433 N. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles, (323) 653-1683, $1.25.

click to enlarge Rockenwagner's Dresden Stollen - ROCKENWAGNER BAKERY
  • Rockenwagner Bakery
  • Rockenwagner's Dresden Stollen
2. Stollen:

What: The most popular Dresden -- as in Germany where it originates -- variety is not for the faint of heart (or sweet teeth-uninitiated). The loaf-shaped cake is dense with dried fruits, nuts, citron, spices and dusted with powdered sugar.Where: Rockenwagner carries one-pound or two-pound loaves filled with rum-soaked raisins, candied fruit and almonds at its three Westside bakery/cafes. Details: Rockenwagner Bakery, 12835 Washington Blvd., Los Angeles, (310) 577-0747; 311 Arizona Ave., Santa Monica, (310) 394-4267; 395 Santa Monica Place, Santa Monica, (310) 933-4758; 1121 Abbot Kinney, Venice, (310) 399-6504, $9.50 for 1-pound loaf, $15.50 for 2-pound loaf.

click to enlarge Sweet Lady Jane's Buche de Noel - SWEET LADY JANE
  • Sweet Lady Jane
  • Sweet Lady Jane's Buche de Noel
1. Buche de Noel:

What: These eponymous yule logs vary in flavor, shape, size, and color from minimal -- base of buttercream-rolled sponge cake -- to tricked out. Where: Sweet Lady Jane's chocolate-almond cake creation is rolled in raspberry buttercream, covered in chocolate ganache, and decorated with powdered sugar and meringue mushrooms. At Susina, choose from vanilla -- vanilla cake brushed with rum and rolled in chocolate mousse -- or chocolate -- chocolate cake brushed with coffee liquor and filled with whipped cream -- both complete with meringue mushrooms and marzipan decorations. Details: Susina Bakery, 7122 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 934-7900, $45 for 6-8 people, $65 for 10-12 people. Sweet Lady Jane, 8360 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, (323) 653-7145; 1631 Montana Ave., Santa Monica, (310) 254-9499, $110 for 15-20 people.

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