Food & Drinkrecipes

Holiday Baking Ideas

by Kristina Gill

Baking for friends, family, and Santa is something I look forward to each Christmas. To be honest, lately I mostly look forward to someone else’s baking! So I thought it would be great to present a Holiday Baking roundup for those of you who still have a few more parties to go to, or who want to share something special with the family on Christmas Day. This is a mix of savory and sweet baked goods, with some nontraditional holiday ideas thrown in to shake things up! And a quick bit of advice on making Christmas wishes come true – if you’re still not sure that Santa will bring you your top Christmas list item, try leaving these cinnamon buns by photographer Beth Kirby with a pot of hot coffee! For more baking ideas over the holidays, visit our Food & Drink archives.  –Kristina




What would Christmas be without roasted chestnuts? Jaynelle St. Jean, the founder of PieTisserie pie company, teamed up with a documentary filmmaker to do a short video for us on how to make Jaynelle’s chestnut cream pie. No need to buy chestnut cream ever again!



Christmas morning is all about biscuits in my family.  Since I’m not going home for Christmas this year, I will use Carrie Morey’s recipe for classic buttermilk biscuits. Carrie is the owner of Callie’s Biscuits in Charleston, South Carolina, where I imagine she has made tens of thousands of biscuits, so you know you can trust her recipe!


Autumn and winter are my sweet potato dessert months, and Christmas and Thanksgiving are my pound cake holidays. Jocelyn Delk Adams, the blogger and cookbook author behind Grandbaby Cakes, shared her recipe for a moist, easy-to-make sweet potato pound cake. It’s even better the second day!


I haven’t met a person yet who hasn’t told me that they would love to be able to eat one of everything on the menu at Zoe Nathan’s restaurant, Huckleberry, in Los Angeles. This recipe for her bacon cheddar muffins from the Huckleberry cookbook are every bit as good as they look, photographer of the cookbook, Matt Armendariz, assures me.


If you’re going to a Christmas party this year, you can zig with this lemon Shaker pie by Alison Kave – author of First Prize Pies – when everyone else is zagging with traditional pecan pies. Citrus season is upon us, so capitalize on the best winter has to offer!


At least on the American table, Yorkshire puddings are another nontraditional item. Food blogger and cookbook author, Izy Hossack, made some bacon-thyme Yorkshire puddings for us that would surely be appreciated at your holiday meal.


Unless I know someone has an allergy, I never mention whether something I’ve baked is gluten-free or vegan. I let people taste and love what they have before them. Kait Turshen’s dirty chai mini bundt cakes are vegan, gluten-free, and allergen-free, a combination which is a specialty of her baking company, Bubble Girl Bakes.


If you don’t have a lot of time to bake, or you need a recipe kids can help out with (or both!), this recipe for chocolate chip cookies is my go-to recipe and should be yours. I got it from Rachel Grisewood, a Sydney-based bakery owner. It is the perfect dough for freezing, and also the perfect dough to double or even quadruple when you need to make a lot of cookies but not worry about calculating proportions.


Speaking of go-to recipes, anything Nicole Hunn does is my go-to recipe. Nicole has a very common sense way of baking, without fancy or hard-to-find ingredients, and with crystal clear instruction. Nicole is the author of the blog and cookbooks Gluten-Free on a Shoestring. Her recipe for gluten-free sweet potato pie is one of my most requested (nobody knows it’s gluten-free). Even if you don’t like sweet potatoes, don’t pass up the recipe for the crust, which is divine.


Last but not least, cookbook author and TV personality Rachel Khoo is one of my favorite In the Kitchen With authors. Her ginger and orange tea cake is also one of my favorite tea cakes. The flecks of candied ginger make this stand out among the usual pound cakes, and it keeps well. There’s really no excuse to not have one available for Christmas afternoon tea!

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