Bust out the stretchy pants, un-do your belt and get ready to burst at the seams, its holiday baking - the decadence edition. There is nothing like a home-made treat to make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, (except maybe an extra glass of mulled cider), so don’t be lazy, get out the wooden spoon and get baking. With cheat tips and short-cuts galore, this list will have you ready for the holidays in the blink of an elf's eye.
From store bought pie crust to ready made frosting, think outside the box and get it done. Santa and his adoring legion of young fans will thank you for it. This year Grandma's tried and tested recipes get a make-over, with this collection of modern day twists. Gone are the days of animal lard puddings, (yep that’s how they were made), and hello to the new era of ice cream puds and reindeer snacks for all to enjoy.
A word of warning, this is not the time to consider eating healthy, start on Monday (next year), and enjoy every last cookie, slice and pie these festive treats have to offer. Holiday time is for indulging with family and friends, not eating lettuce and feeling sad. With something for everyone, from the kitchen fire starting novice to the Martha Stewarts among us, we can all bake and be merry this Christmas.
28 Christmas Yule Log Cake
Put an impressive spin on an already decadent dessert, the yule log. With its neat chocolate rings filled with rich cream this is a real show stopper. Be ready to work quickly once the sponge cakes are cooked as they need to be immediately wrapped around each other before they cool. Any delay will most certainly end in disaster, as cold cakes will crack and fall to pieces, creating an unsightly holiday fail.
The chocolate bark on the outside really finishes the whole thing off, if you aren’t willing to tackle fiddly chocolate work, break large pieces of thin bars into shards – easy!
27 Reindeer Cupcakes
How cute are these little guys! If cake decorating isn’t your forte, they could end up looking quite scary but hey, its Christmas, have a crack regardless. This recipe lends itself to the last-minute school bake sale, you know the one. The note was sent home months ago and thrown out with the trash.
Make a midnight dash to the store, grab a box cake, a handful of candy and mini pretzels and you are suddenly the envy of every mom in the school.
26 White Chocolate, Orange & Cranberry Cake
Nothing says it’s the holidays more than cranberry. We use it as a sauce on the festive bird or inside as a stuffing and the baking possibilities are endless. This snow-white tower of a cake is spiked with zingy orange zest giving it a refreshing balance to sickly-sweet white chocolate and cream cheese frosting.
Slather on the frosting and have fun decorating with any Christmas themed chocolate, cookie or candy, and your stunning masterpiece will have more than Santa coming back for seconds.
25 Red Velvet Trifle
Is there anything that screams Christmas more than this stunning red and white layered dessert? I think not. With a crowd-pleasing red velvet cake, soaked in sherry and sandwiched between pillowy layers of soft whipped cream, this is decadent and easy!
The impressive visual of this recipe comes from being able to see the distinct layers. Baking newbies, this one has your name all over it. With nothing more than a simple cake and cream, topped off with fresh berries - you got this.
24 Gingerbread Scrolls
It appears ginger transcends all baking when it comes to the holiday season. This time it features in these deliciously soft rolls drizzled with molasses syrup. Yes please! Imagine the delight on the kids faces when you pull these bad boys from the oven on Christmas morning, and slather them with cream cheese frosting.
Make the dough ahead of time, roll, cut into buns and cover well in the fridge overnight. Leave them in a warm spot for an hour to prove and boom – breakfast is done. The only clean up will be the happy faces and sticky fingers threatening your lace curtains next to the Christmas tree.
23 Candy Cane Forest Cake
Three ingredients and with minimal effort you look as though you are giving Martha Stewart a run for her money these holidays. Grab a box cake, it does state chocolate chip, but we aren’t up for following rules. Get anything you fancy and sit back with a big mug of cocoa while it bakes.
Ready-made frosting, a busy cook’s best friend, and a pack of candy canes is all it takes to finish off this show stopping cake. Just be sure to hide the packaging at the bottom of the trash can, and no one will be any the wiser!
22 Grinchy Pull Apart Cupcakes
I am just gonna put it out there, I think the Grinch gets a raw deal. Sure, he loves to meddle with Christmas, but don’t we all have our flaws? Isn’t this the time for love and forgiveness? What better way to pay homage to this infamous holiday character than to create a cupcake pull apart in his honour.
Once baked and iced, if you are anything like me it will not look one bit like the picture, but who cares. A lopsided face is begging to be eaten and it no doubt it will be!
21 Ugly Sweater Cake
Tis the season – for BAD sweaters. Yes, that’s right, don’t pretend you don’t know what I am talking about. We all have one lurking in the closet, awaiting its time to shine. This recipe is the ultimate Christmas satire, baking its way into our hearts with horror stories to be shared of tortured childhoods wearing matching sweaters for the cheesy family snap.
Revenge is sweet on the dreaded holiday sweater when baked into a tempting cake, let your imagination run wild and decorate with abandon, remember – the uglier the better!
20 Stained Glass Cookies
Almost too good for Santa to eat - almost. These dainty offerings are perfect not only as a cookie, but they also make sweet home-made tree ornaments. The base can be made from any firm variety, think gingerbread cookies, sugar cookies or even shortbread. With an endless array of colored candy to choose from to make the stained glass, this is arts and crafts meets baking!
Limited only by your imagination and the cookie cutters you can find hiding in the utensil drawer, get creative. Beware the molten candy ‘glass’ is my only warning.
19 Gingerbread Cookie Wreath
The perfect recipe to make with little elves in the kitchen. A simple gingerbread dough cut into any festive cookie shape your heart desires. The smell of ginger wafting through the house as it bakes is one of the best things about the holidays.
Once cooled, decorate with fondant and place slightly over-lapping in a circle to create a wreath. This is one best left inside the house or expect to open the front door to nothing more than crumbs on the porch after a family of hungry raccoon’s attack in the dead of night.
18 Cupcake Christmas Tree
Thankfully this recipe comes with a video or the construction side of this mission might be lost. More a feat of structural engineering than a masterful dessert, if it makes it to the table in one piece you will be showered with delighted squeals and high fives.
Of course, there is also the very real possibility of it not making it, as you trip on the corner of the rug en route. Therefore, please do me a favour and make sure someone has the camera ready, so we can all share in the pain (and laughs).
17 Festive Brioche With Baked Camembert
Who says baking is all about sweet treats. With hungry family and friends to feed during the holidays, this filling recipe will hit the spot. This savoury treat will blow your guests socks off. Golden buns of buttery brioche encircling a perfectly melted whole Camembert. This is pure indulgence, not one for the Weight Watchers Christmas gathering.
A couple of heartily dipped cheesy rolls and Santa will most certainly be stuck in the chimney. Unfasten your belt, stand up to make room, do whatever you must - because this is totally worth it.
16 Triple Layer Ice Cream Pudding
Stop the press! Right off the bat this recipe has my heart. Not since the schoolyard have I set my eyes on one of these oversized candies with their pink and green fillings. Throw caution and tradition to the wind with this frozen pudding. Not only will it keep the kids happy, it comes with a delicious dose of nostalgia for the grown-ups.
If that doesn’t get you excited, the fact that it is totally made from store bought ingredients will. Make and forget yet look like a culinary goddess when it appears, effortlessly, at the table.
15 Chocolate and raspberry bombe Alaska
Some things never go out of fashion, the classic bombe Alaska falls into that category. A timeless dinner party staple, still wowing guests with its fluffy marshmallow exterior and frozen ice cream center, defying logic when its set alight at the table with more than a drop of liqueur.
The bright red raspberries provide a tart contrast to the delicious chocolate ice cream and super sweet meringue frosting. A set and forget center-piece waiting to delight, just don’t set the curtains on fire!
14 Chocolate Cherry Christmas Pudding
Traditional Christmas pudding is a favourite among Grandmas, however the younger generations don’t share their enthusiasm for the heavy, spiced dessert. This modern pudding recipe bursting with sweet cherries, complemented perfectly by the dark chocolate will have even the most die-hard pudding hater licking their lips.
Spike chocolate sauce with brandy, rum or even coffee to keep everyone from dozing off into a food-coma induced nap, just watch Granny doesn’t have more than one piece!
13 Gingerbread Cheesecake
Is there nothing cheesecake cannot do? Deliciously spiced and with a gingerbread crust, this recipe could become an all-year-round favourite. Cheesecakes get better with age (although, not to the point of growing green fluffy friends), and this one is definitely best left to meld for a few days to develop its Christmassy flavors.
Bake ahead and use the extra time for a sneaky extra glass or two of eggnog – you totally deserve it.
12 Peppermint Oreo Truffles
Made with Golden Oreos mashed together with crushed candy canes and cream cheese, it doesn’t come much easier than this. Get the kids down and dirty rolling the mix into bite size balls and dipping them into super sweet white chocolate before dusting with crushed candy.
This recipe is not great for diabetics or if you are prone to a sugar high! You should definitely expect some hyperactive kids on your hands and maybe some chocolate on the walls, but that is exactly what the holiday are for.
11 Candy Cane Cookies
One batch of cookie dough is all that is needed to create this visually stunning Santa approved snack. Half the dough is colored with red food dye and within a couple of twists and you have a tray full of festive home-made treats.
These simple cookies are not only great for scoffing (make an extra batch and hide them from the kids), they make a cheap and cheerful gift when piled into a jar and tied with a ribbon. Tasty and frugal, what’s not to love about that?!
10 Holiday Spice Cake with Eggnog Frosting
Nothing screams holiday more than the smell of mixed of spices wafting through the house as you bake treats Santa can’t resist. Pair that with the ultimate Christmas drink, eggnog, turned into frosting and you will be trying to find ways to bake this cake all year round.
A hefty punch of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves, this recipe makes sure you know this is a Christmas cake, topped off with a fluffy frosting of eggnog. Jewel like sugared cranberries are the cherry on top of this show stopping stunner.
9 Great Canada Toque Cake
Red and white are the colors of Christmas, so what better way to celebrate them then with this national baked masterpiece from Canada. With a delicious maple cake hiding beneath the red and white frosting exterior, this recipe is Canada on a plate.
Only one batch of bowl licking cake mix is required, split to make the red center before baking. Don’t be scared off by the fancy piping work, it will still taste amazing even if it looks like your two-year-old decorated it.
8 Chocolate Roasted Orange Tart
Martha has done it again with a beautiful citrus twist on the classic chocolate tart. First off, forget making the pie dough, who the hell has time for that at Christmas? Grab a store bought one (must be chocolate flavored) and proceed with gusto. The only baking left to do, is the gorgeously roasted oranges which will scent the house for days to come.
Let them cool before filling the pie with mascarpone and pilling on the oranges. If you can get your hands on some blood oranges, they would make a spectacular alternative and bring even more Christmas color to the table.
7 Eggnog Cream Pie
Cream pie is not only fun to say (is that just me?), it is downright delicious to eat. Who doesn’t love pie? Especially when the crust is made with crushed up graham crackers smooshed into the pan. No flour covered floor for this recipe.
Eggnog custard filling makes this pie feel holiday appropriate, as does the extra helping of rum spiked whipped cream. Get the Christmas movies ready so everyone can lay back and enjoy a festive afternoon nap after this belt loosening fare.
6 Reindeer Bait
If Santa should somehow make it up the chimney after feasting on this collection of amazing treats, then it would be wrong not to send something back for the real heroes of Christmas; the Reindeer.
This fun recipe is perfect for little elves in the kitchen and it really could be any mix of any cereal and candy you have on hand. Covered in white chocolate with red and green pops of holiday color, hopefully it makes it to Christmas eve before it is all gobbled up.
5 Bubbly Raspberry Tulip
Wobbly jelly laden with sparkling wine, this recipe calls for an adult only dinner party. Find a sitter and serve yourself a big slab of this naughty holiday dessert. Tart wine and raspberries counter balance the sugar and liquor making it the ultimate refreshing end to any heavy winter nights' meal.
Try out different fruits and liquors to put your own spin on it. Don’t overdo the gelatin, or it will end up rubberier than that steak your mother-in-law cooked you for dinner last week.
4 Chocolate Pumpkin Piecaken
Forget the turducken, that nauseating creation of various animals stuffed inside one another, served to loved ones for the holidays. In contrast, this freak of the baking world makes perfect sense. Everyone loves pie AND cake so why wouldn’t you combine the two? It is genius to say the least.
The best thing about this crazy recipe is the use of a pre-made pumpkin pie, that is then baked inside a classic chocolate cake. It will be Santa’s best kept secret until you cut into the frosting and reveal what lies beneath.
3 Peanut Butter Snowballs
Put down the spoon and step away from the peanut butter. Its ok, we all do it. But now our precious creamy spread is needed to create these sweet and salty Christmas treats. With peanut butter, white chocolate and graham crackers, these balls have it going on! One for the box, one for me. That sounds fair right?
You can even pretend they are holiday protein balls, sure they will make you fatter than Santa on a bloat day, but who’s going to argue with you at Christmas!
2 Eggnog Cheesecake
The ultimate dessert no matter what the occasion, cheesecake. With a delicious holiday twist, this creamy eggnog spiked version is a wonderful way to finish your Christmas lunch. No pudding to steam or fancy sauces to make, simply take it out of the fridge an hour before serving and plonk it on the table.
A handful of brightly colored berries and decoration is done. The best thing about this recipe is that unlike a time-consuming baked cheesecake, this one is set in the fridge, leaving your oven free for the important turkey.
1 Chocolate Salami
Fear not, this is not as it sounds. Although, this recipe’s sweet take on the traditional cured meat is probably just as bad for you, but so much tastier. With crushed up cookies and nuts serving as the ‘fat’ blobs inside the chocolate meat (ew), the final touch is a dusting of confectioner’s sugar used to replicate the yeast! Mmmmmm.
Make it and keep in the fridge for those annoying relatives that unexpectedly drop by at this time of year, hoping to score a gift with no intention of giving one back! We all have them.