For many, holidays conjure up warm memories of baking with family, with flour spread about kitchen counters, music playing and the smell of gingerbread cookies in the air. This year, bakeries and culinary instruction companies are opening up their own “homes” to participants eager to make a gingerbread house or cookies under the guidance of professional bakers.
At Vienna Cookie Co., owner and baker Heidi Riegler says that for her, it’s all about traditions.
“I baked all the time with my mother at Christmastime,” she says. “Just to be with your child for an hour-and-a-half is memorable — and it smells very good, and it gets you in the Christmas mood.”
At A Cake in Time in Wading River, the mood is also bright and festive. “We have the music cranking, the girls have antlers on their heads; people are having fun. It’s my favorite time,” says owner and baker Sherry Sobel.
Gingerbread University in Riverhead has been at this for more than 20 years. They are open all year-round, but come December, it’s about gingerbread — houses, sleighs, and edible gingerbread dreidels for Hanukkah.
“It’s very much a family activity,” says owner Fred Terry. “Mom, dad, kids, and grandma … We’re on our third generation of classes.”
Vienna Cookie Co.
10 a.m.-11:30 a.m. and 2-3:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7 at 782 Merrick Ave., Baldwin. Reservations required.
INFO 516-665-1710. viennacookiecompany.com
COST $75 per adult and one child.
Kids and adults bake together, decorating a gingerbread man and baking sugar cookies — about 30 to 40 in all — bells, snowmen, and other fun shapes — to take home.
A Cake in Time
11 a.m.-6 p.m. Wednesdays-Sundays through December at 768 Rte. 25A, Wading River. No reservations needed.
INFO 631-359-0011, acakeintime.com
COST $10 for a large 8-inch cookie ($15 for three-cookie kit), $38 for prebuilt sugar cookie house; all include frosting kits and candy.
This is a walk-in decorating place, so come on in, wash your hands, and have a seat. This is not a baking class, but Sobel and her staff will guide anyone through the decorating process. Kits are available to-go for those who rather decorate at home.
Noon-2 p.m. and 3-5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 22. 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Monday, Dec. 30. Also, a smaller version (without gingerbread house) 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and 1:30-3 p.m. Friday, Dec. 27 and 2-3:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 30. 30 E. Main St., Oyster Bay
INFO 516-922-2665, whatscookingny.com
COST $69 per adult and one child with gingerbread house. $39 for class without. A 10 percent discount is given for siblings.
Known for its family and child baking classes, this time of year is a busy one, so call ahead for reservations. All classes will make about a pound each of cookies, edible spinning dreidel, and warm “cozy calzones” which they can eat with hot chocolate (included).
225 Sound Ave., Riverhead
INFO 631-727-7309, gingerbreaduniversity.com
COST $12.95 for gingerbread person to $41.95 for a large handmade “old-world” molasses house. Average price is about $21.50. All come with kit of brand-name candies to decorate, with white and colored icing.
While the center’s staff often demonstrate baking techniques, such as rolling dough, this is a decorating center, but not a baking class, says owner Fred Terry. In addition to the various Christmas themed cookies, there are also Hanukkah ones, too. Other options are 3-dimensional trains and sleighs, and a chocolate cabin.
Sur La Table
1 p.m. Sunday, Dec .15. Smithhaven Mall, Route 347, Lake Grove
INFO 631-619-9060, surlatable.com
COST $69 per kit per seat — geared for ages 7 and up accompanied by a parent.
Resident chef Kelsie Reynolds says participants work in groups and each family brings home a gingerbread house. In addition, they will make salt dough for ornaments to hang on the Christmas tree.