With colder temperatures outside, time spent in a warm kitchen is more than welcome this time of the year. If you can imagine bopping around the kitchen with holiday tunes playing in the background, then I think you’ll especially like this list of recipes. (Bonus points if your spatula is also a microphone.)
In this collection, you’ll find everything from cheesy pizza for a cold winter night to dinner-party appetizers — plus breakfast treats, nostalgic recipes, and more. No matter what you choose to bake, I hope each recipe brings something special to your home this season.
Every time I eat gingerbread, I feel like the holidays have officially arrived. Though I like gingerbread cookies and their playful shapes, this soft, tender cake is my number one choice for this traditional dessert. Spiced with ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon (or 1 tablespoon Gingerbread Spice in place of all three spices) and sweetened with thick molasses, this gingerbread will quickly become an annual favorite in your household. Try making Mason jar whipped cream for a delicious topping to add to this treat.
I am a huge fan of babka, and this festive cranberry-orange variation has my heart. Beautifully twisted and filled with swirls of tart-sweet cranberry, it’s a must-bake for breakfast — and, if you bake it in a Bakeable Paper Loaf Pan, it’s excellent for gifting. Drizzle on a simple glaze for an even more impressive presentation.
If you’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting the King Arthur Bakery & Café, you might have had the heavenly experience of tasting one of these beloved cookies. The outside has a thin, shell-like crackled surface that reveals a chewy, moist, and light almond-flavored center. If you like the flavor of marzipan, you’ll love these cookies. (And though you can’t tell by the name, they’re also gluten-free!)
This recent Bake of the Week became an instant hit as soon as it was published, and it’s no surprise why. Layered with thick fig jam (or fruit preserve of your choice) and cornmeal for a bit of texture and sweetness, it’s a great recipe to prepare and freeze so you’re ready for any last-minute guest or a simple laid-back breakfast. I like to sprinkle them with sparkling sugar before baking for added sweetness and crunch, and serve with extra fig jam.
These gluten-free cookies were the biggest hit in my cookie boxes last year. They received rave reviews for their light and crispy texture and delicate citrus-vanilla flavor courtesy of Fiori di Sicilia. If you want to try some fun shapes, check out these adorable Christmas Cheer Cookie Cutters, and don’t forget to top them with fun sprinkles!
Claire Saffitz's cake doughnuts are incredibly light and fluffy, with a slight tang from the sour cream. And they come with three different glaze options — chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry — so you can customize however you like. See her demonstrate how to make them in the video above, including two brilliant tips: She pipes the batter onto parchment squares for easy shaping, then fries the dough still on the parchment for easy transfer into the hot oil.
I was running late to a party one year and scrambling to pull together an appetizer to bring. Thankfully, my mom whipped out this super simple recipe, which is now my go-to for holiday gatherings. (She had me at warm, gooey cheese!) It’s simple to make and is always the first dish to disappear at a party. Though you can’t go wrong with the suggested apricot or raspberry preserves that are baked inside flaky puff pastry, I’m going to go a different direction this time with our new Caramelized Onion Savory Spread.
Need a party dessert this month? Impress everyone at the table with this fluffy, cottony cheesecake. With a light, airy texture, it’s more of a sponge-cake-meets-cheesecake mashup, making it perfect for anyone who finds traditional New York-style cheesecakes too rich and heavy. A simple apricot-lemon glaze on top adds just the right amount of shine and acidic zing to this subtly sweet dessert.
Pizza can warm me from head to toe in just one bite, making it my go-to dinner during this chilly month. Made with just five simple ingredients (plus your desired toppings), this recipe is an easy weeknight meal that everyone will love. If you don’t have a cast-iron skillet, don’t fear — you can use a round cake pan, and I’ve even used my Dutch oven. If you’re a fan of spice like me, try drizzling this Chipotle Morita Infused Honey on top for an extra kick!
My opinion of stollen has drastically changed since I got my hands on this recipe. Being a quarter German, I wanted to try a recipe that would connect me with my roots (my great-grandparents owned a bakery when they immigrated from Germany), so I chose this traditional recipe a few years ago and have been baking it every Christmas since. Studded with dried fruits and coated with Snow-White Non-Melting Sugar, it’s gorgeous (and delicious) both inside and out.
If you're unfamiliar with gougères, they're French cheese puffs that are impossible to stop eating. They're made with a pâte à choux base mixed with your choice of shredded cheese. The result is a light, airy, and cheesy pastry that is perfect as an appetizer or a fun addition to a charcuterie board. (I recommend making a double batch — don't say I didn’t warn you!)
I’ve added this recipe to the cookie-baking agenda for many annual cookie parties. A twist on the classic thumbprint cookie, it has the pleasant addition of cocoa and spices in the dough, plus a pool of bittersweet chocolate ganache in the center — hello, fellow chocolate lovers. (For more holiday cookie inspiration, check out our full recipe collection: A Cookie for Everyone.)
When you need a dessert stat (we’re talking less than 10 minutes), there’s no better recipe than cake in a cup. Plus, what’s cozier? This recipe is baked in the microwave, so it’s quick to make; plus, it makes one individual cake, and there’s little in the way of kitchen cleanup. I plan on making myself a mug cake when I’m up late with my family watching “A Christmas Carol” over the holidays, using the stoneware mug I was gifted last year — it was filled with homemade marshmallows!
I can’t let this list conclude without mentioning these golden beauties. Packed with bold spices and featuring a devilishly crunchy texture, they’re a staple holiday cookie in my house. I make one batch to eat, and one to pulverize into crumbs and use as crust for this Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie. You can choose how chewy or crispy you prefer these cookies simply by adjusting the baking time.
For more cookie inspiration to bake this month, make sure you check out our holiday collection: A Cookie for Everyone.
Cover photo (Almond Cloud Cookies) by Rick Holbrook; food styling by Kaitlin Wayne.