7 Dessert Shortcuts These Pastry Chefs Buy Every Year for the Holidays

published Dec 13, 2021
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Credit: Getty Images/ dowell

We all know that pastry chefs can whip up a ganache or a whole cake in a jiffy. But do they ever just outsource their sweets and let someone else do the bulk of the baking? If you haven’t already guessed, the answer is a resounding yes!

Turns out, many don’t hesitate to reach for a timesaver or two — especially during the holiday crunch. We asked seven pastry chefs to tell us about the dessert shortcuts they lean on during the holidays. Their answers included ready-made chocolate chip cookies, a boxed brownie mix, and more. Let’s take a look!

Credit: Wegmans

1. Chocolate Chip Cookies

“My holiday go-to, hands down, are the chocolate chip cookies — with or without walnuts — from Wegmans. I’ve always been a Cookie Monster, and these are great for the holidays, especially after a feast. I recommend heating them up in a 300°F oven for one minute and enjoying them with a glass of whole milk.” — Joy Razo, pastry chef, Dauphine’s, Washington, D.C.

Buy: Wegmans Chocolate Chip Cookies, $15 for 15 cookies at Wegmans

Credit: Goldbelly

2. Stollen Bread

“I love the stollen bread from Bouchon Bakery. [Their] stollen is a personal favorite of mine, especially during the holidays, not only because I love marzipan and dried fruits, but also because stolen is very time-consuming to make. I recommend slicing it, toasting it lightly, and then spreading butter over it — all to be enjoyed over a warm cup of coffee.” — Eva Wong, pastry chef, Kimpton Armory Hotel, Bozeman, Montana

Buy: Bouchon Bakery Stollen Bread, $79 for 2 pounds at Goldbelly

Credit: Amazon

3. Buttercream-Frosted Cake and Cookies

“When I’m too tired to make my signature Swiss meringue vanilla buttercream, I like to purchase Miss Jones vanilla frosting. I jazz it up with fresh vanilla bean, a dash of almond extract, and sprinkles for color. Once my jazzed-up frosting is made, it typically goes on a simple vanilla cake or fresh sugar cookies that I bake with my son.” — Rosalin Siv, founder, The Evercake Bakery in New York City

Buy: Miss Jones Organic Buttercream Frosting, $6.39 for 11.29 ounces

Credit: Amazon

4. Brownie Mix

“Who doesn’t love a good box of brownie mix? I take things to the next level with a sifter and powdered sugar — just a quick dusting over the brownies automatically provides an elegant twist to what may otherwise seem mundane. You can also add a drizzle of good melted dark chocolate once the brownies are cooled or sprinkle your favorite chopped chocolate bar to the batter!” — Megan Jeans, chocolatier, Moonstruck Chocolate, Portland, Oregon

Buy: Betty Crocker Fudge Brownie Mix, $1.17 for 18.3 ounces

Credit: Walmart

5. Chocolate Satin Pie

“My family is from the Midwest, so we would always get a Tippin’s French Silk Pie — a chocolate cream pie — for holiday dinners. Then we moved to California where we switched to Marie Callender’s. The texture is the best!” — Kara Blitz, pastry chef, Leonelli Bakery, New York City

Buy: Marie Callender’s Chocolate Satin Pie, $5.97 for 28 ounces at Walmart

Credit: Goldbelly

6. Salty Honey Pie

“I love the pies at Four & Twenty Blackbirds, a reliable, female-founded small business in my Brooklyn neighborhood. My favorite is the Salty Honey Pie. I know it’s going to be as delicious at home as it is in the store. For prep, heat [the pie] up at 250°F for 20 minutes. Super easy!” — Erin Emmett, chef and founder, Pistachio Culinary Studio, Brooklyn, New York

Buy: Four & Twenty Blackbirds Salty Honey Pie, $79 for one 9.5-inch pie at Goldbelly

Credit: Whole Foods

7. Tres Leches Cake

“For New Year’s Eve, I’ll buy a Whole Foods Tres Leches Cake and serve it with vanilla-rum soaked pineapple and a glass of Champagne. This is one of my favorite go-tos!” — Deborah Racicot, pastry chef, Locanda Verde, New York City

Find it in stores: Whole Foods Tres Leches Cake, $11.99 for 1 pound at Whole Foods

Does your holidays include any of these store-bought desserts? Tell us in the comments below!