I'm Dreaming of a No Cook Christmas

When you’re more interested in snacking than cheffing

The best part of the holiday season is, undoubtedly, all the food! Whether your personal traditions involve a ham, turkey, goose, or tofurky, the lead up to the big day is always packed with nearly infinite opportunities to indulge.

At least until the bitter realities of your New Year’s resolution force you to hit the ground running. The worst part of the season? Actually having to cook all that delicious food. Fortunately for those of us who are more dedicated to snacking than chef work, Austin restaurants and bakeries have really stepped up their ready-to-eat holiday goods this season, so you can keep your kitchen clean and still arrive at the party with treats in hand. Sneaking it out of the box and pretending you cooked it yourself remains optional.

An assortment of treats at Mañana

Sweet Treats

Today (Dec. 19) is the last day for those of us who value spectacle in our holiday desserts to pre-order Le Politique’s spin on a Bûche de Noël log cake. The French brasserie, café, and patisserie offers a modern take on the Christmas favorite with coconut dacquoise, passionfruit mousse, coconut mousse, brandied cherry, caramel glaçage, and Valrhona passionfruit chocolate, a decadent blend of flavors that sure tastes a lot better than an actual log.

From now until Christmas Eve, Mañana is dedicated making you look like a post-Snoop-Dogg-era Martha Stewart with their special holiday cookie boxes. An elegantly packaged assortment of one dozen cookies (two of each flavor), the $30 boxes include a mix of holiday favorites like rugelach, gingersnaps, dark chocolate peppermint fudge, sugar cookies with icing and sprinkles, Linzer window cookies, and soft white chocolate cranberry macadamia cookies.

Jules Stoddart, pastry chef of Olive + June has created a spectacular series of Christmas desserts available to pre-order until December 21. For $32, you’ll get a chocolate cake topped with chocolate glaze and white chocolate peppermint bark or their pumpkin cheesecake bars topped with almond streusel and salted caramel. The glazed gingerbread cake topped with almond streusel, vanilla orange glaze, and orange chips is $28, and $90 scores you all three.

If you wanna keep it a little more low key this year, neighborhood bakery Thoroughbread has just introduced the PBCup, a house made peanut butter cookie that oozes soft Nutella filling. In the spirit of the holiday they’re throwing in a free 13th cookie with every order of 12 to make a baker’s dozen. Just make sure to place your orders 24 hours in advance. Bonus points: You could probably plausibly pass these delicious little guys off as your own creation.

Velvet Taco is making their popular red velvet cake – a moist, light red velvet cake layered with cream cheese frosting and covered with a signature cajeta sauce, available for take home ordering. The full-size cake will run you $49 now through December 31.

Start the Party

Rainey Street’s newest Tex-Asian hot spot Anthem is rolling out Pupu Party Platters on December 17 to usher in the holidays in Tiki-style. They’ve got three different platters to meet the particular gustatory needs of your friends and family, each of which serve four to six people. If your crew rolls deeper than that, get a couple and mix ‘em up!

Meat lovers will go for The Cure, which includes protein-heavy servings of brisket rangoons, shishito pepper queso, freaky Tiki taquitos, JFC honey sriracha popcorn chicken, and miso mac daddy. Those being kind to their cholesterol will appreciate the Veg Out, with charred salted edamame, chips & guac, edamame hummus, char-buff cauliflower, and Thai hippie tofu. And seafood fans are sure to make waves with the Don’t Be Shellfish, which includes a half-dozen Gulf oysters on the half shell, peel-and-eat shrimp, eggs, Hawaiian shrimp ceviche, and crawfish hushpuppies. Grass skirts are, sadly, not included.

The Whole Shebang

Walton’s Holidays To-Go catering is here to cover all your holiday needs, from soup to nuts. Need holiday cookies, gingerbread, a custom holiday cake, or yule logs? Check the bakery. Looking for a spectacular winter floral arrangement or thoughtful hostess gifts like succulents and air plants, their Cuvée Coffee House Blend, Good Stuff Spices or sweet snack mix, Aunt Luddy's Trash, check the gift shop – they’re there to do the wrapping, customizing the perfect gift basket.

And they’ll even cater your whole holiday meal, with main dishes like their thyme-rubbed airline turkey breast, beef tenderloin, bone-in sliced ham, paired with green beans almondine, mashed herb and garlic sweet potatoes, wild mushroom and sage gravy or cranberry, apple, and pecan cornbread stuffing. They’ll even cover dessert with one of their sweetie pies, spiced bundt cake, or cherry-topped cheesecake. Just remember to place all dinner orders 72 hours in advance.

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