The holidays are all about indulging your sweet tooth. Whether you’re hosting a family gathering or enjoying a more secluded Thanksgiving at home, check out these delicious holiday-themed pastries you can order to go from our favorite Chicago restaurants.
For both Thanksgiving and Christmas, pastry chef Aya Fukai of Aya Pastry has plenty of sweet treats planned. “I love to keep things traditional and comforting with familiar flavors executed perfectly,” she says. For Thanksgiving, there’s chocolate bourbon pecan pie, spiced pumpkin pie, and harvest apple pie finished with a brown sugar crumble topping, accompanied with jars of vanilla bean whipped cream. There are also loaves of pumpkin sourdough boule for something savory. Fukai mixes pumpkin purée into her classic sourdough bread, then tops it with crunchy pepitas. Christmas pre-orders will open right after Thanksgiving and include peppermint bark, cookie tins, cherry pecan loaves to accompany cheese boards, cinnamon buns and a Ninja-bread Dojo kit, Fukai’s fun take on a gingerbread house. The kit comes with all of the pieces necessary to build a gingerbread dojo, candy, frosting and three ninjabread men.
For a grand finale to your Thanksgiving dinner, pick up a pie from Lost Larson in Andersonville. Bobby Schaffer grinds whole wheat flour fresh with a stone mill for all his pies ($34-$38) and this year he’s serving salted honey, triple chocolate, heirloom pumpkin and apple pie with a Wisconsin cheddar crust. There will also be take-and-bake cinnamon rolls ($18 for a 4-pack) for breakfast the following morning, along with loaves of freshly milled sourdough, croissants and espresso Thanksgiving morning to get your day started. Limited same day orders will be available in-store, but it’s best to pre-order online to guarantee your choice of pie.
Pastry chef Craig Harzewski has been creating fun desserts to-go during the pandemic and he’s offering “haute couture” small batch ice cream for the holidays. Guests can dream up their own flavor, with a minimum six pint purchase per flavor for $75. For guests dining in at Brindille, Harzewski’s signature mont blanc chestnut dessert will be back on the menu with piped chestnut cream, clementines and eggnog ice cream. Brindille will be serving an elaborate festive afternoon tea service ($72 per person) Saturdays and Sundays in December leading up to Christmas and gift hamper baskets with handmade chocolate boxes, cookies and alcohol will be available for pre-order as well.
Travelle at the Langham pastry chef Danielle Marelli’s pies ($35) are the perfect host/hostess gift or dessert contribution for Thanksgiving dessert. There’s pecan pie, apple crumb pie topped with oat cinnamon spiced streusel and Marelli’s personal favorite pumpkin custard pie, all served with vanilla bean chantilly cream. All pies are 9 inches and will serve 8-12 guests. Thanksgiving Pie Orders must be placed 24 hours in advance and are available for pre-order November 23-26 via Tock.
At avec, pastry chef Nicole Guini is offering creative twists on her childhood favorites for both dine-in and carryout. “Carrot cake and pumpkin pie have been my favorite desserts since I was little,” she says. Guini’s grown-up carrot cake ($9) at avec swaps Medjool dates for the typical raisins, incorporating house-made date purée, pineapple purée, desiccated coconut and toasted walnuts in each slice. Guini describes her pumpkin bar ($8) as a coffee cake-meets-cheesecake. “It’s basically autumn on a plate,” she says. Brown butter pumpkin cake is rippled with cheesecake and garnished with brown sugar crumb, then paired with bourbon vanilla chai tea ice cream, toasted pepitas and brown butter cinnamon pastry cream.
The Ukraininan village cafe and bottle shop is offering an array of cookies for holiday entertaining. Chef Abigail Zielke elevates her childhood favorite Oreos with dark chocolate, malted milk and vanilla beans. Her maple caramel bookies are based on traditional sugar cookies, but with a great chewy texture and richer flavor. “We top them with salted caramel and Turkish chili flakes to balance the sweetness of the maple syrup,” she says. Tart cherry-coconut bars round out the half-dozen assortment, which is available for $20 with a minimum of 48 hours advance notice online. “They’re reminiscent of holiday dinners but go great with morning coffee or as dessert.”
The autumn lineup at Stan’s Donuts includes four seasonal special flavors – apple cider cake donut coated in cinnamon sugar, apple fritter, pumpkin old fashioned made with buttermilk and sour cream and the brand new apple pie le Stan croissant donut. Guests can order local delivery ($19.99-$39.99 a dozen) via Stan’s website or even ship nationwide through GoldBelly to treat any friends or family who they can’t travel to see this year.
For Thanksgiving, The Goddess and Grocer is offering both individual and and 9-inch full-size pies ($5-$30) via catering and in store. Individual pies are new this year as a socially distanced dessert option. All the classic flavors – pecan pie, apple pie and pumpkin pie – will be available along with pumpkin cheesecake and dark chocolate salted caramel tart. “Eating grandma’s pumpkin pie was always the highlight of my Thanksgiving,” says pastry chef Alysha Dinatale. “I tried to make one as tasty as hers, but she insists mine has taken the top spot. With our recipe, I found the right amount of spices as to not over power the naturally delicious flavor of the pumpkin purée.” Dintale uses flame-roasted Fuji apples instead of the traditional Granny Smith in her apple pie and bakes her pumpkin pie custard with cream instead of evaporated milk for an extra silky texture.
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Amber Gibson spends 340 nights a year in hotels searching for the latest and greatest in the travel industry. Her writing and photographs have appeared in print, online, and on the radio for outlets including Four Seasons Magazine, NPR, Saveur, Departures, Rhapsody, Hemispheres, American Way, Private Air, Wine Folly, Plate, Chicago Magazine, Tasting Table, and Serious Eats. She graduated as valedictorian from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and received a fellowship to attend the 2017 Wine Writers Symposium at Meadowood Napa Valley. Champagne, dark chocolate, and gelato are her biggest weaknesses. She also admires and supports CAASE in Chicago. Follow her adventures on Instagram and Twitter.