5 Atlanta bakeries and their treats to add jolly to your Christmas

Holiday baking efforts are often filled with good intentions but can result in misshapen gingerbread men and other sweets that don't turn out as intended. Instead of adding more tasks to an already busy season and risking less-than-tasty results, let metro Atlanta bakeries supply treats that will add jolly to your family celebration.

These Atlanta bakeries will make sure you have stress-free iconic Christmas goodies:

Douceur de France, 277 South Marietta Parkway SW, Marietta, 770-425-5050 and 1173 Alpharetta St., Roswell, 770-650-1173.

What better way to elevate your Christmas treats than with pastries from a French chef? Chef Luc Beaudet learned recipes from his mother in France, pursued his formal training and gained experience before opening Douceur de France, which means "sweets of France."

The shop features made-from-scratch French pastries, and you can treat your Christmas guests to perfect smiling gingerbread men, sweet stollen (a traditional fruit and nut loaf dusted with sugar) and chocolate decorated Santas and other creations. Christmas cookies also go far beyond the ordinary with red Linzer cookie stars and Christmas trees in flavors such as orange brownie.

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McEntyre's Bakery sells festive Christmas cookie trays. (From McEntyre Bakery's Facebook page/For the AJC)

McEntyre's Bakery, 1184 Concord Road SE, Smyrna. 770-434-3115.

After 65 years in business, McEntyre's Bakery is still making Christmas treats and other goodies using some of its original equipment, including mixing machines and cake pans. The bakery emphasizes a commitment to old-fashioned quality and continues to be operated by descendants of its original founder.

Set out a cookie tray from McEntyre's, or give a gift box with three different types to your friends or colleagues. Festive Christmas cakes come in variations including a chocolate chip Christmas tree or gingerbread man and an elegant cake topped with red and green swirls and curls. The bakery is also known for its many varieties of festively shaped Christmas cookies, including shortbread wreaths, cherry snowflakes and chocolate graham stars.

Highland Bakery & Kitchen, 655 Highland Ave. No. 10, Atlanta, 404-586-0772 and many locations throughout metro Atlanta.

You may have enjoyed the sweet potato pancakes or shrimp and grits at one of Highland Bakery & Kitchen's many metro Atlanta locations, so why not let the bakery handle some of your holiday baking?

The shop has offered attention-getting gingerbread houses complete with candy cane lampposts, gum drops on the roof and a gingerbread family out front. You can also upgrade your regular holiday goodies with unique creations such as vanilla marshmallows, which are baked with honey and dipped in toasted coconut. Holiday-themed cakes are also popular, and you can choose one of the bakery's classic flavors and pick a theme such as Santa, gifts or snowmen.

Henri's Bakery & Café, 56 East Andrews Drive NW, Atlanta, 404-237-0202 and two additional locations on the Upper Westside and in Sandy Springs.

Atlantans have purchased treats at Henri's Bakery & Café since 1929, and the shop's current owners, who are the founder's great-grandchildren, continue to use his recipes. The original bakery has moved its location to East Andrews Drive, and two additional ones have been added.

Many types of French pastries are on the menu, including mocha squares, chocolate caramel bombs, Napoleons and cannoli, and you'll also find a large selection of petit fours adorned with holiday decorations. Holiday classics such as gingerbread cookies, cheese straws and wafers and cupcakes and cakes in a wide variety of flavors will be popular with your family and guests.

Alon's Bakery & Market, 1394 North Highland Ave. NE, Atlanta, 404-872-6000 and 4505 Ashford Dunwoody Road NE, Atlanta. 678-397-1781.

Alon's Bakery & Market feels like a European market filled with handmade pastries, gorgeous chocolates and more. It emphasizes high-quality ingredients that are used to create made-from-scratch goodies.

Alon's holiday menu is so large that it has evolved into an annual online guide. You'll find plenty of delectable and creative gift baskets, including one that includes Georgia-themed artisan food products. Adorn your table with centerpieces such as croquembouche, a cone of custard-filled cream puffs glued to a caramel cage and topped with sugar work. If that doesn't suit your taste, try a red and white macaroon tower, or choose your own colors and flavors. Other goodies include stollen (both plain and marzipan-filled), panettone, light English fruitcake and flavored pound cakes.

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