• Ane from Boomerang

Holiday Baking Recipes Your Grandkids Will Drool Over

There’s something about the holidays that just feels good. People are a bit nicer, your kids call you a little bit more often, and the smiles happen much more frequently. It’s like there's magic that blankets us all this time of year. And while we can’t ignore that this year will certainly be at least a little bit different, one thing that we can hold on to is the anticipation of holiday baking.


Can you already smell the aromas? We know you must be planning some new baking ideas with traditional holiday favourites or inspiration drawn from your favourite baking blogs. There’s nothing like the smell of gingerbread cookies or rum cake (a little extra rum, please!) filling up the kitchen, or other holiday desserts like caramel apple pie or shortbread cookies. This is the time of year when it’s OK to indulge and maybe even overindulge just a little bit more than you normally would. It's been a tough year—we deserve it!


20 Must-try holiday baking recipes


We know you already have your holiday baking ideas and Christmas baking recipes swirling in your mind. It’s wonderful to tap into the nostalgia and familiarity that comes with baking during Christmas. But we also know that it’s great to try new baking recipes. You never know what treat will become a new favourite.


With that in mind, we came up with a list of delectable holiday baking recipes to add to your repertoire. Try the one that most catches your eye, and let us know how it turns out!


1. Slice-and-Bake Shortbread Cookies


Let’s kick things off with an easy recipe that has a festive twist!. This recipe takes about five hours, so you’ll need to get started early. The ingredients are simple, and you’ll get about 36 cookies out of one batch.


Pairs well with: spiced cider

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2. Peanut Butter Snowballs


For those in your family who aren’t allergic to peanuts, these tiny bites of heaven will make their holiday. Prep and cook time only take about thirty-five minutes in total, so you can bake these closer to dessert or get it done early and leave them in the fridge till it’s time to serve.


Pairs well with: plain white milk

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3. Sour Cream Pound Cake


If you’re a regular baker, you know that sour cream does something to any kind of cake. This pound cake is no exception. It’s moist and far too delicious to enjoy only one slice. Only ten minutes of prep time, then close to two hours in the oven before you can enjoy.


Pairs well with: spiked eggnog

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4. Millionaires Shortbread


Shortbread, caramel and chocolate layered on top of each other sounds like the perfect way to cap your meal. This recipe will give you 32 servings, so feel free to sneak some away before sharing. Cooking time is about three and a half hours, so don’t wait too long before getting it into the oven.


Pairs well with: a couch long enough for you to nap on

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5. 30-Minute Chocolate Chip Cookies


Photo by Food Photographer | Jennifer Pallian on Unsplash


If you’re looking for a beginner’s baking recipe—this is it! Half an hour feels fast for baking, but it’s possible, and these 30-minute cookies are proof. They’re soft, delicious and melt in your mouth with the first bite.


Pairs well with: your taste buds

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6. Retro Christmas Tree Cake


If you’re trying to show off a little bit and get some (virtual) oohs and ahhs from your grandkids, this is the recipe. You’ll be committing to about two and a half hours in the kitchen, but the end result is worth it.


Pairs well with: chocolate milk

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7. Nancy Fuller’s Double Crust Apple Cheddar Pie


Apple pie is standard for the holidays, but why not turn it up just a little. With cheddar baked into the crusts, this take on apple pie adds flavours you didn’t even think were possible. It’s about four hours total, including prep and oven time, but this is a holiday treat you and your family will remember.


Pairs well with: whipped cream

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8. White Chocolate Truffles


So this might not make it to your simple holiday baking recipes list, but it should be at the top of your best holiday baking recipes. White chocolate truffles are an absolute treat. The three hours it takes to bake them is a lot, but once you taste that first bite, you won't be able to think of anything else but how wonderful it tastes.


Pairs well with: some red wine

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9. Christmas Light Cupcakes


Let’s tone it down just a little. Cupcakes are great any time of year, but Christmas light cupcakes add that holiday spirit. Cook time for this is only about 20 minutes, but there’s a lot of prep and decorating that needs to be done, so give yourself an hour and a half total.


Pairs well with: vanilla ice cream

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10. Red Velvet Cake

Photo by Baiq Daling on Unsplash


Yes, yes and yes, please! Red velvet cake is a slice of holiday goodness. And you know the cream cheese frosting is what makes this classic baked dish delicious. About ten minutes of prep time and about 30 minutes in the oven. Leave some time to let it sit and add your icing.


Pairs well with: a big spoon

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11. Cranberry Tarts


Christmas and tarts make a great mix, especially when you throw in the cranberries. This recipe combines sweet with zesty and the whipped cream on top just makes everything better. Fair warning: this is not a last-minute baking recipe kind of thing. Cranberry tarts take about six hours in total to bake. Yes, we said six hours.


Pairs well with: dry white wine

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12. Bread Pudding


Where does bread pudding fall on your list of Christmas baking ideas? If you spent most of 2020 baking bread, a holiday version should be a breeze. The preparation has to start the night before, but the overall ingredients are actually fairly simple. Just know that the total bake time is about an hour and forty minutes and will require a bit of finesse.


Pairs well with: black tea

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13. Candy Cane Cheesecake


It’s like Santa came into your dreams and brought you the one gift you never even knew you wanted. Candy cane cheesecake sounds all kinds of delicious. It will take you most of the day to bake and require various baking tools—but this has to be one of the great holiday baking ideas we’ve seen in a long time.


Pairs well with: water, you’ll need it.

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14. Pecan Snowflake Cookies


If you’re looking for some fun holiday baking ideas that aren’t too complicated, this is your recipe. The fun comes when cutting the cookies. Use different size cookie cutters and even different shapes, and watch how incredible your treats look on display. It’s about three hours total, but if you can handle that, give it a try.


Pairs well with: peanut punch

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15. S’Mores

Photo by Baiq Daling on Unsplash


OK, we know this is a list of holiday baking recipes, but how can we leave out s’mores. They’re simple and delicious, and when those two things come together, you’re instantly transported back to your childhood.


Pairs well with: a napkin to catch all the crumble from the graham cracker

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16. Jelly Donut Holes


This is the perfect holiday baked goods recipe to satisfy the room. And although you may have to let your family do a curbside pickup, they’ll appreciate it once they pop one or two in their mouths. It takes about two hours and forty-five minutes total, but you get about 64 of them.


Pairs well with: Wet-Naps

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17. Creme Brulee Sugar Cookies


Creme brulee anything sounds appetizing enough, but sugar cookies? Sign us up! You’re looking at less than an hour prep time to get about 40 cookies. Try caramelized sugar as a substitute for granulated sugar and watch your mouth start to water.


Pairs well with: liquid caramel

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18. Tiramisu Pie


If you’re feeling adventurous and really want to stretch your Christmas baking skills, then look no further. Tiramisu pie is like the beautiful twin of regular tiramisu. You’ll be in the kitchen all day, but you can rest once you dive into a slice or two.


Pairs well with: cappuccino

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19. Gingerbread Pear Loaf


What would a list of Christmas baked goods be without at least one gingerbread recipe? Cookies are usually the norm, but this pear loaf is a fresh way to incorporate ginger into your holidays. Total cook time is about an hour and a half.


Pairs well with: eggnog

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20. French Macarons


Photo by Shiela Labao from Boomerang


There’s just something about French macarons that look sophisticated. Almost like they should be adored instead of eaten. But who are we kidding? We want those treats in our belly. It will take you two and a half hours to get 40, with each soft, slightly crunchy bite feeling like a sweet lullaby.


Pairs well with: a container to hide a few

Get the full recipe


Start baking online with Boomerang


Some of our most popular workshops involve food, and mindful baking is always an activity our community enjoys. Our hosts keep the mood light and festive, and you leave having learned how to bake a new dish. We also have a variety of lifestyle articles to keep your mind and body busy while you're at home.


If you’re looking for some great holiday baking ideas, then sign up for Boomerang and join one of our workshops. We have a fun and friendly community that enjoy meeting new people and learning new things.


Learn more about our lifestyle workshops or browse all of our upcoming workshops and classes

This article offers general information only and is not intended as legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. While the information presented is believed to be factual and current, its accuracy is not guaranteed and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the author(s) as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or its affiliates.

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