Classic winter holiday baked goods to add to your arsenal

Learn some new holiday baked good recipes that will be sure to delight and surprise a wide variety of diners.

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December 21, 2018 4 min read


The winter holidays are a time when friends, families, coworkers, community members and many other types of groups come together and celebrate for a wide variety of reasons. No matter the specific holiday, event, date or time, these gatherings often feature pastries, baked good and other delicious treats. Having a large repertoire when it comes to these recipes helps you continue to offer exciting items and stand out among the competition. Pastry arts students can consider these examples of classic winter holiday baked goods as they search out new and exciting recipes to serve to friends, family and customers alike.

A Bundt cake with sugar cookies on and around it, shown as part of a holiday table display.Cakes, cookies and all sorts of other desserts are key elements of the winter holiday season.

Almond and blood orange come together in this Italian classic

Italian cookies have a place at many holiday parties and meals, whether they’re from an old family recipe or a dependable local baker. Consider this delicious mix of almond and blood orange flavors with a seasonally appropriate sprinkle of confectioner’s sugar from Serious Eats. With just 30 minutes of active prep time and a quick trip in the oven to bake until golden, it’s easy to pump out plenty of these cookies – and potentially double or triple the recipe – to address periods of high, sustained demand. And, because you make the dough as a roll before slicing and baking, you can prep plenty of dough in the days before a major event.

Nuts, chocolate, spices, butterscotch and much more

Millionaire’s shortbread’s name is a relic of an era where bombastic and even grandiose recipe titles were often applied to basic final products. However, the classic combination of caramel, chocolate and shortbread layers is always satisfying, if a bit simple. You can add some nuanced, complementary flavors and create a more upscale final presentation with this pistachio millionaire’s shortbread with coriander butterscotch recipe, also from Serious Eats. The butterscotch is a bit smoother than the traditional caramel, while the citrus and nut flavors – and a little whiskey – added to the recipe play off of the rich, sweet, buttery and chocolatey flavors traditionally present.

The best log you’ll ever eat

The bûches de Noël, a rich frosted cake shaped to look like the traditional Yule log, is well-known in some areas but almost unheard of in others. This recipe, shared by Food & Wine and developed by well-regarded pastry chef Dominique Ansel, offers a tasty yet somewhat lighter dish than is commonly seen, thanks to a few key substitutions. Should you want to use the traditional buttercream instead of Ansel’s suggested whipped cream, it’s a simple switch. The bûches de Noël can also be decorated in a variety of traditional or modern approaches – it’s a simple affair to create your own completely original look or turn to the internet for a little inspiration.

Rugelach rules during the holidays

Rugelach, a classic Jewish dish that may be related to the croissant, offers a broad base on which many flavors can be shared with and enjoyed by eaters. Martha Stewart offered a walnut and brown sugar variety that can serve as a quick snack of just one piece or a much more substantial dessert of many. Take extra care as you shape the dough into circles and cut it into triangles – this step has a major impact on the appearance of the final product.

These are just a few of the many recipes that can delight eaters throughout the holiday season. If you’re looking for something a little further off the beaten path than iced sugar cookies or a fruit pie, these just might do the trick.

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