For those unfamiliar with Hispanic pastries, a visit to Los Hornitos Bakery in Wappingers Falls is a real treat. Come Christmastime, the biggest seller at this hidden gem of a Chilean bakery is the traditional Pan de Pascua, part cake/part bread made with coffee, cognac, rum, raisins, walnuts, and spices.
Though traditionally a Lenten cookie, quaresimali — a twice-baked biscotti made with hazelnuts, almonds and flavored with cinnamon and cloves — has become a popular Christmas treat at the old-world Caffe Aurora Pastry Shop in Poughkeepsie. Other big sellers include cuccidati, a short dough cookie filled with figs, raisins and apricots; and amaretti, soft macaroons made with almond paste.
Spice drops rolled in sugar glaze, freshly baked Pfeffernüsse are still very popular with Christmas shoppers, says Eric Deising, owner/baker at Deising’s, the beloved German bakery in Kingston. Deising says that, like he himself, his customers fondly remember “the taste from growing up.” Stollen, the German Christmas bread, remains a big seller, too.
The Alternative Baker in Rosendale is especially well-known for its lemon cakes and gluten-free offerings. But a favorite holiday treat is springerle: shortbread flavored with ginger. The bakery cautions that their Scottish Dundee cake — which is made with dried fruits marinated in dark rum for 11 months — must be ordered early; it sells out year after year.
From left to right: Quaresimali, Pfeffernüsse, and Springerle