Advice for the Culinarily Challenged
Breads & DessertsDon't get us wrong, Austin bakeries all have special creations that delight us during every holiday season. The folks listed below answered our requests for faxed information promptly and offered unique selections that we found appealing. There are plenty of local sweet treats from which to choose.
Chez Zee American Bistro & Dessert Cafe
5406 Balcones, 454-2666
Friday-Saturday, 11am-midnight; Sunday, 9am-3pm
The bakers who fill Chez Zee's bountiful dessert case are ready and willing to make you look like a master pie maker this holiday season. With only 24 hours' notice, they'll whip up a Pumpkin Praline, Pecan Bourbon, or Granny Smith Apple With Walnut Streusel pie in a Pyrex pan for you to take home and present as your own. This deal will only set you back $23, and you get to keep the pie pan! You can also choose such Chez Zee faves as Death by Chocolate, carrot cake, or the Raspberry-Truffle Cheesecake, but they will be presented in traditional bakery boxes.
Wildwood Cafe & Bakery
3663 Bee Caves Rd., 327-9660
Monday-Friday, 7:30am-6pm; Saturday, 7:30am-4pm
Baker/kitchen manager Mariah Justice has managed to turn her own allergy to wheat into a career. Justice bakes gluten-free and wheat-free treats for her fast-growing clientele in this attractive new art cafe in West Lake Hills, hidden behind Breed & Co. Call ahead to find out about the daily selection and for special orders, but count on things such as gluten-free French bread and dinner rolls, wheat-free Spelt bread, plus an array of cookies, cakes, and pies that can satisfy your sweet tooth without aggravating your allergies.
Sweetish Hill Bakery
1120 W. Sixth, 472-1347
Monday-Saturday, 6:30am-7pm; Sunday, 6:30am-5pm
The dinner rolls in white, wheat, or challah ($4 per dozen) on the holiday list caught our eye, as did the Herb Onion Loaf ($3.50) that's guaranteed to make excellent stuffing. And what about a 3lb. round Pugliese ($8) ciabatta for the center of the table, so you can quite literally "break bread" as you give thanks with your family. There are tea breads, cakes, and traditional pies aplenty here, but we're betting the kids would go for some of the adorable turkey cupcakes ($2.50 each).
Sign up for the Chronicle Cooking newsletter
If you want to submit a recipe, send it to email@example.com