The holidays have a way of sneaking up on people. Visions of hand-knit scarves for the whole family, collaged cards for colleagues and making all of those pinned recipes sometimes just dance in our heads. After all, there's still time for New Year's Resolutions, right?
Luckily, the area boasts plenty of options to purchase cookies to please everyone on any gift list: fancy for foodie, traditional for grandma, or gluten-free for that friend who doesn't get gifted enough cookies. Instead of ending up covered in flour and tears, let these six D.C. bakeries make your holidays a bit more relaxed, and a whole lot sweeter.
FireHook Bakery (Various locations): With eight locations in the metropolitan area, FireHook is by far the most convenient bakery chain. Large iced cutouts and gingerbread men are decorated with love and lined at attention in gift bags. Yet this cast of familiar characters probably feels a bit of envy for the star of the pageant, the hazelnut praline yule log impressively stuffed with icing.
Watergate Pastry (2534 Virginia Ave NW): This old-school shop has been supplying Foggy Bottom with fresh goods for the past half century. While offering the typical American sprinkled variety, go Euro-style with walnut macaroons, or swiss favorites like chocolate-almond brunsli, honey leckerli biscuits or the delicate citrus mailanderli.
Baked & Wired (1052 Thomas Jefferson St NW): Georgetown's favorite coffee shop revisits old family recipes from the owners of German origin, allowing nice customers this year to make their own assortments in the provided silver tin and red yarn. Most popular are the thumbprints and gluten free chocolate peppermint sammies, but with this approach, the choice is up to you.
The Sweet Lobby (404 8th Street SE): Perhaps not seasonal or traditional, certainly no one will complain if presented with a multicolored box of macarons from Capitol Hill's The Sweet Lobby. Some choices are even vaguely reminiscent of winter, like Red Hot Chili Chocolate, Coconut or Sweet Potato Pecan. Yet the cupcakes topped with macaroons, "Mactops", are truly a Christmas miracle.
Heidelberg Pastry Shoppe (2150 North Culpeper Street, Arlington): Wolfgang Büchler, owner of this Arlington German bakery, brought his springerle press from Heidelberg when he emigrated to provide the District with these anise-flavored Christmas cookies and other authentic sweets, like zimt sterne, peffernusse, and spitz kuchen. Honey gingerbread dough stuffed with marzipan, biberle, are sure to impress.
Sticky Fingers (1370 Park Road NW): Vegan bakery Sticky Fingers makes the traditional holiday assortment with a little something extra. Offerings include sesame cinnamon, gingersnaps with crystallized ginger, almond coconut macaroons and cute Italian flags, layered almond cake, organic raspberry jam, and topped with rich dark chocolate. Also check out their spread of peppermint chocolate options this time of year.