Cooking

Christmas Holiday Baking

It wouldn’t be Christmas without mincemeat tarts, all sorts of shortbread, jams and gingerbread. Baking simply goes hand in hand with the holidays.

Whether you like to have goodies on hand for guests or you want to give edible gifts this year, we have the recipes you’re looking for. Also, we’ve collected some of our best tips and baking advice to help you with any questions you have along the way.

From dishes you can make ahead and freeze to classic Christmas puddings, it’s all right here. 

  • Make Ahead and Freeze
  • Gifts From the Kitchen
  • Steamed Puddings and Fruitcakes

    Christmas puddings and fruitcakes are holiday classics. We’ve assembled recipes that will be sure to shine.

    A quick note: you can reheat Christmas puddings. Either do so in the ovenby removing the pudding wrappings, putting itin foil and reheating at 300ºF until hot, about an hour. You can also heat it up on the stovetop by taking it out of the wrappings and setting the pudding back in its original mold, covering tightly. Set the mold on a trivet in a large saucepan and steam for 45 minutes to an hour, or until hot.

    In our Cooking 101 section, below, learn how to season and decorate your fruitcake.

  • Cheesecake 101

    Rich and tangycheesecake makes a great dessert when hosting a lot of family and friends. A little slice goes a long way, so one cheesecake serves many. Even better, it needs to chill for 24 hours before serving and it will survive a couple of nights in the fridge afterthat, so you can make it in advance and save leftovers –if there are any –for later sweet cravings.

    It can sometimes be a tricky dessert, though. Cracks on the surface can mar a that perfect top. We’ve brought together our best tips to ensure your cheesecake is delicious and picture perfect.

    • To get the most volume, leave your eggs and cream cheese at room temperature for 30 minutes before using them.
    • Beat the eggs and cream cheese until completely smooth before adding other ingredients. This will make sure you get a smooth texture.
    • While the cheesecake is baking, only open the oven door if absolutely necessary and for as quickly as possible. A quick temperature change can cause a crack.
    • Lower the risk of a crack across the top of your cheesecake by placing a pan of water on the bottom shelf of the oven while it bakes or by baking it in a bain-marie.
    • A circular crack that runs around the outer edge means your baking temperature is too high.
    • Don’t overbake your cheesecake. A baked cheesecake will be slightly soft when it’s finished baking and it will firm up as it cools.
    • After you pull it from the oven, run a sharp knife around the outside edge of the cheesecake to loosen it from the side of the pan.
    • Once it has completely cooled, cover and refrigerate it, letting it chill for 24 hours.
    • Use a hot, wet, sharp knife to get perfect slices.
    • You can store cheesecakes for up to 3 days in the fridge. Baked cheesecakes can be frozen for up to 2 weeks.

     

    Now that you know the right technique, you’ll want to try making a cheesecake yourself. Here are ones we like for the holidays.

     

  • Bread

    It’s great to bake bread over the holidays. It warms the kitchen and fills the whole house with the comforting, homey smell of baking dough. We always like to have bread for turkey sandwiches on hand, but also love being able to offer up different kinds of loaves to enjoy.

     

  • Baking Tips and Frequently Asked Questions

    Confused about cookie sheets? Not sure how altitude might be affecting the bake time of your favourite goodies? Unsure what exactly a recipe means when it calls for ‘double cream?’ Or how to store all the squares you want to stash before Christmas?

    We've got the answers.

    Cookie sheets:

    We recommend heavy-duty cookie sheets with low sides or none at all,and we prefer aluminumones.

    You won’t need to spray or butter non-stick sheets and they’re easy to clean, but because they’re often darker in colour, your cookies may bake more quickly and brown more. Insulated cookie sheets take longer to heat, so your cookies may need more time inthe oven if that’s what you’re using. They will give you very even results –with the cookie tops the same colour as the bottomsand you might miss out on crispy edges.

     

    Cooking terms:

    Family recipes, passed down over generations, or those that come from the UK or Australia may be full of terms for ingredients you’re not familiar with. Here’s our chart to help with those translations.

    Bicarbonate of soda

    Baking soda

    Black treacle

    Molasses

    Caster/Castor sugar

    Berry sugar

    Cornflour

    Cornstarch

    Double cream

    Whipping cream

    Essence

    Extract

    Golden treacle

    Corn syrup

    Greaseproof paper

    Wax paper

    Plain flour

    All-purpose flour

    Single cream

    Light cream

     

    High Altitude Baking

    Sometimes what you’re making takes longer than the recipe says. Other times, baked goods don’t rise the way they’re supposed to. This might be because of the difference in altitude between where the recipe was developed and where your kitchen is.

    Learn more about how living at a higher altitude can affect your baking and how to make adjustments on our How to Bake at High Altitudes page.

     

    Freezing and Storing Cookies and Squares

    Getting your baking started early means a lower-stress holiday season. We have lots of recipes that are great for making ahead and freezing, ready to be pulled out for friends and family. Here are some tips for how to best freeze and store those goodies:

    • Let your baked goods cool completely before storing.
    • Use airtight containers for all your treats. For goodies going into the freezer, choose containers that sealtightly, will resist vapour and moisture and won’t crack at subzero temperatures.
    • Keep your crisp cookies and soft cookies separated when freezing and storing. 
    • Use layers of wax or parchment paper to separate decorated or frosted cookies.
    • Keep treats from shifting by using crumpled wax paper to cushion cookies or squares in your containers’ corners.
    • Decorative cookie tins may not be airtight, so place your cookies or squares in freezer bags first and then add them to the tin.
    • Label and date all your containers and tins to eliminate guessing.Cookies and squares can be frozen for up to 3 months.