Where to Buy Italian Christmas Desserts in Westchester

The season for Italian delights like panettone, struffoli, torrone, cookies, and cakes is here for the holidays in Westchester County.

From dessert-style bread and honey-dipped fried dough to traditional cookies, cakes, and nougat candy, Italians know how to indulge on Christmas. And, since it only comes once a year, it’s probably okay if you do, too. With that in mind, here’s where to find those Italian desserts that, for many, make Christmas feel — and taste — like Christmas.

Struffoli

For holiday revelers with a penchant for sugary fried food: Behold struffoli. Sweet dough rolled into balls the size of marbles, deep-fried, slathered in honey, sprinkled with nonpareils, and piled high — this is the dessert that shouts, “Buon Natale!” And, while most Italian bakeries make struffoli for the holidays, Artuso & Sons Bakery & Café in Thornwood specializes in it. Starting with a dough that is similar to that of a cream puff, Bobby Artuso doesn’t fry, but bakes his struffoli so it turns out lighter and healthier. It’s crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside.

Boiano Bakery in Mamaroneck also bakes the struffoli it dishes out around the holidays, and at Villa D’oro Italian Deli & Bakery in Croton-on-Hudson, it’s also baked.

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Artuso & Sons Bakery & Café
640 Columbus Ave, Thornwood; 914.741.2251

Boiano Bakery
258 Mamaroneck Ave, Mamaroneck; 914.698.2070

Villa D’oro Deli & Bakery
24 Old Albany Post Rd, Croton-on-Hudson; 914.862.0684

Panettone

Any bakery worth its salt (or sugar) imports this dome-shaped, light, and airy sweet bread to sell around Christmas, but it’s worth checking out this distant cousin: the holiday fruit bread at Port Chester’s The Kneaded Bread. It vaguely resembles panettone, as it’s loaded with dried fruit and nuts, but it’s fashioned from brioche dough and dusted with powdered sugar. If there’s no room for a hunk after a big Christmas dinner, it’s perfecto toasted and buttered the next morning.

The Kneaded Bread
181 N Main St, Port Chester; 914.937.9489

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Cookies

Italian cookies aren’t a Christmas-only treat, but bakeries work overtime to keep up with orders around the holidays. Typical pignoli, almond, amaretti, biscotti, and fig cuccidati cookies, to name a few, are in hot demand in December, but none are as festive as rainbow cookies. With a nod to the red, white, and green of Italy’s flag, these almond-flavored, chocolate-topped gems are such huge sellers at Peekskill’s Homestyle Desserts Bakery that Laura Timmons has taken the concept a step further, concocting colorful rainbow cookie cake, cupcakes, ice cream cake, cheesecake, cheesecake on a stick, and…wait for it…chocolate chip cookies with a surprise rainbow cookie tucked in the middle. These eye-catching tummy tempters come in a rainbow of dietary options, including gluten-free and vegan.

Homestyle Desserts Bakery
24 S Water St, Peekskill; 914.737.4659

Cakes

If your holiday guests don’t feel they’ve been served dessert unless it’s in the form of a cake (you know who you are), it’s time to break out the ricotta cheesecake. As the name suggests, this luscious beauty contains a whole lotta ricotta in place of cream cheese, with the optional addition of dried citron pieces or grains, which gives it a rice-like texture, also known as pastiera d’grano, or wheat pie. At Domenick’s Nepperhan Italian Pastry Shop in Yonkers, Domenick Colasuonno has been baking both versions for a good two decades.

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Another standout is the ricotta-wheat pie cooked up at Port Chester institution Neri’s Bakery Products, Inc., where the family ovens have been warming for more than 100 years. Sal Junior says it’s the top choice at Easter but still very popular this time of year.

Also rich in ricotta, and very traditional at Christmas, is Sicilian cassata cake, which is soaked in rum, and at Mount Vernon’s Fleetwood Bakery Shop, it’s filled with homemade cannoli cream.

And we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention baba au rhum. Also known as rum baba, these traditional Neapolitan Christmas treats consists of light and airy yeasted sponge cakes soaked in a citrusy rum. Fleetwood Bakery sells them in two sizes and offers a choice of plain or filled with pastry cream. Expecting a crowd for the holiday? Stack a pile of them up, dot with fresh berries to fill the gaps, and serve with whipped cream.

 

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Domenick’s Nepperhan Italian Pastry Shop
1457 Nepperhan Ave, Yonkers; 914.964.3045

Neri’s Bakery Products, Inc.
31-37 Pearl St, Port Chester; 914.937.3235

Fleetwood Pastry Shop
561 Gramatan Ave, Mount Vernon; 914.667.3434

Related: The Westchester Restaurants Open for Christmas Eve and Day

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