Fabulous festive bakes for Christmas

Christmas is just around the corner and this time of year provides us with the perfect opportunity to enjoy fun, festive activities with our friends and families. And with the cold, snowy weather outside, what could be better than staying cosy indoors, channelling your inner Mary Berry, and doing a bit of baking?

If this sounds good to you, here are our top picks of the recipes we think you should give a try throughout December in preparation for Christmas.

Gingerbread Maple Sugar Shack

Our development chef, Olivier, has created a Canadian version of the traditional gingerbread house for our client, Maple from Canada – a gingerbread maple sugar shack. When baking gingerbread, the strong, seasonal scents of ginger and cinnamon fill the kitchen and beyond. It is also a great recipe for the whole family to enjoy by joining in to build and decorate the sugar shack. White icing to represent snow, and a variety of Christmas coloured sweets makes the bake a treat for the eyes as well as the palette.

Olivier also gave us some top tips on how to make the best sugar shack, commenting: “Make sure you keep the gingerbread dough in the fridge for 24 hours before using it and, when rolling and cutting the dough on a silicone sheet, use the back of your knife to make sure you don’t cut the sheet.

“Once baked, keep the gingerbread shapes at room temperature for 24 hours to allow the pastry to dry and then, when assembling the sugar shack, stick each side with lots of icing to make sure it holds.”

Mince Pie and Maple Mini Doughnuts 

This is another of Olivier’s Christmas creations for Maple from Canada. It is a fresh festive baking idea that combines traditional flavours with an American treat. They serve as a great option for a Christmas dessert of a small, sweet treat to offer your merry party guests. The recipe rolls the doughnuts in maple sugar instead of white sugar after cooking to give them a maple infusion. With these doughnuts being so small and moreish, there is the danger of eating the whole lot at once!

Classic Stollen

Stollen is a traditional German recipe consisting of a rich, cake-like bread bursting with dried fruits and marzipan, gently spiced with nutmeg, cinnamon, and five spice. Stollen is best slightly soft and squidgy, rather than dry and crusty. It can make a great gift for friends and family at Christmas, or simply enjoyed as an afternoon snack with a cup of tea. 

Chocolate and Chestnut Christmas Log 

The swiss roll-like sponge used to make a Christmas log is light and airy. Adding coffee to the recipe stops the chocolate sponge from being overly sweet. Add chestnut purée for that extra Christmas touch to this festive pudding. You can ensure a smooth outer-edge of the sponge by rolling it with a tea towel, but not to worry if it cracks as a Yule Log traditionally cracks to look like the bark of a tree. Dusting the log with icing sugar makes it look topped with snow and adding sprigs of holly or marzipan toadstools makes it stunningly festive.

Peppermint Brownies

This recipe uses the customary sweet treat, candy canes, to flavour these brownies. Many people hang candy canes on Christmas trees, but you can take them off to crush over the top of this chocolatey dessert. To get that strong peppermint flavour within the brownies, use a high-quality peppermint extract – but don’t use too much as you don’t want them tasting like toothpaste. If you’re looking for a dessert with a crispy outside and a fudgy centre, this is the one for you!

We hope you will be whacking on a Christmas playlist and donning your favourite Christmas jumper as you make these festive bakes.