Whether you're celebrating Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa, Festivus, or any other holiday this winter, all denominations can eat up the joyful bliss of holiday baked goods. Holiday baking goes further than simple sugar cookies shaped like snowmen and reindeer. Classic holiday flavours go beyond the confines of your mother's oven. We'll pay tribute to the classics, but there are some insane variations which will leave your sweet tooth fiending for some baked goods. Get hungry and check out our guide to holiday baked goods you NEED to eat this season
What would the holidays be without some people-shaped gingerbread cookies? When you put it like that, the idea of eating cookies shaped like humans is kind of creepy. I think the fact that gingerbread is so delicious is why everyone looks over this fact. Made by throwing in ginger with spices like cinnnoman and cloves into a molasses filled batter, gingerbread is a staple of holiday baking. Break free of the cookie cutter mold and switch it up with a very Canadian gingerbread cake with maple frosting and salted caramel. Damn that sounds good.
An export from our English dessert-lovers, trifles are layers of awesome, literally. Typically made by layering sponge cake with jelly and whipped cream, the trifle begs to be infused with other delicious variations. Go for gold and try making brownie butterscotch trifles, which wil be sure to please any holiday dinner guests. Trifles are probably the easiest things to make ever (especially since you can just buy most of the ingredients pre-made and just layer them) so its a great choice for those without baking skills.
I have no idea how minty chocolate became a holiday flavour (I personally blame Starbucks and Girl Scouts), but the combination is nothing to complain about. You can do anything with this rich combo, like a peppermint-mocha coffee, or put it into a sweet portable form with chocolate peppermint bark. If you got mad baking chops, bust out a chocolate-peppermint roll cake and impress your family this holiday season.
Buttery, rich, and deliciousley simple, shortbread is another holiday baking mainstay. You can whip up a batch of these with only a few ingredients (butter, flour, sugar), with the basic batter leaving room for tons of variations. Make simple shortbread cookies, or add in some velvety richness via peanut butter and chocolate. With all that butter in the mix, you'll be hard-pressed to make shortbread that isn't awesome.
Did someone say eggnog? Yes, it was me, I'm aware. And I know eggnog isn't technically baking, although it can be incorporated into TONS of desserts. Case in point: the delectable eggnog cheesecake bars pictured above. Want something even more crazy? Add some extra sugar, cream, and spices to prepared eggnog (throw in some white chocolate if you're feeling it) and make some eggnog fondue. Best holiday-themed dinner party food ever? Yes.
White Chocolate Cranberry
The white and red contrast created by the white choclate and cranberry baking combo just screams holiday spirit. You got the winter white, with the festive red, and both come together in utter bliss. That's probably why Starbucks calls their own WC+C baked goods "bliss bars." Cookies are always welcome with these two bosom buddies, but why stop there? Take richness to a whole new level with a White Chocolate-Cranberry Cheesecake.
If you're Italian, or grew up in an Italian 'hood, then you know what pannetone is. For those unaware, pannetone is basically Italian fruit cake, only less dense, more airy, ginormous, and typically filled with decadent fillings like nutella. Great with a cup of coffee on any holiday morn, you can even use it as a type of bread to make the best french toast ever. Highly recommended.
Enjoyed year round, rice krispie-esque treats lend themselves so well to any holiday, but especially the winter ones. You can morph them into any holiday shape, making them fun to make, along with being super tasty. Spice up your rice krispies by adding apple cider mix to make Apple Cider Rice Krispies, or some cocoa and food colouring for Red Velvet Rice Krispies.
Maybe the most traditional of all North American holiday sweets is fruit cake. Not everyone'es favourite, mind you, but when done right, can be utterly scrumptious. Fruit cake is made by soaking dried fruits in spiced spirits, for days, weeks, or even years, on end, and then added to cake batter and baked. Yes, fruit cake is pretty much alcohol-soaked fruit put into a moist cake shell. Depending on how long you soak, and the type of alcohol, you can get quite a buzz of this stuff. No joke, I've had fruit cake pieces which were the alcohol equivalent of a shot, only way more tasty.
That finishes our guide to holiday baking. Are you pumped to mack on some of these sweets? Did your favourite holiday dessert not make the list? Tell us so in the comments below!