Food

12 Days of Holiday Baking

Each day, we’re adding a new recipe to this post. So check back for the latest sweet treat!

There’s no way around it: One of the best parts of the season is making, baking, savoring, and sharing holiday sweets and treats. 

In Rachael’s family, her sister, Maria Betar, is the baker. Rach handles the food, and Maria’s got everyone’s favorite desserts ready to go to wrap up the meal. 

To bring a little of the spirit of their kitchens to yours, we’ve got Maria’s top 12 go-to recipes, just in time for the holidays! Whether it’s rich, cocoa cookies or chilly ice cream roll cake with hot fudge drizzle (oh yes!), there’s something in here for everyone. Check back to this post each day as we count down the 12 Days of Holiday Baking!

Day 1: Dutch Cocoa Walnut Cookies

Warm and rich, these cookies are the perfect texture. Their crackly tops and toasty walnuts are sure to make them a family favorite. 

Day 2: Gingerbread Muffins

Maria says it best: “Nothing is better than a hunk of warm gingerbread topped with whipped cream dusted with cinnamon, or poached peaches dusted with ginger.” Her family loves popping these little muffins in the toaster for a quick snack, or even turning them into toppings for gingerbread sundaes!

Day 3: Apple Torte

Photo by Frances Janisch

Tuscan torte is featured in Rachael’s new cookbook, Everyone is Italian on Sunday. Maria wrote the entire dessert chapter! The trick to this perfect cake (along with some warm coffee to enjoy as you bake) is shredding the apples for even baking.

Day 4: Spritz Cookies

These simple and classic cookies get extra flair by using a cookie gun to create any shape you want. The trick is to keep the dough chilled throughout the process. We made ours with clear, chunky sugar crystals, but you can use any kind that you please to create customized cookies.

Day 5: Pecan Pie

This exceptional and classic pie is everything your holidays need: Flaky, rich crust with sweet, spiced filling that’s ready for sharing. Maria’s recipe for homemade crust is perfect for anyone (even if you’ve never made a crust before!), but you can use a pre-made pie shell if you’re running short on time.

Day 6: Pignoli Cookies

Photo by Frances Janisch

Featured in Rachael’s latest book, Everyone is Italian on Sunday, these classic Sicilian cookies will bring a taste of the old country to your holidays. What’s better than almond macaroons covered in toasty pine nuts?!

Day 7: Cider Cookies

These cookies use grated apples and apple cider for a moist, sweet bite. Maria recommends honeycrisp apples, but other juicy varieties like pink lady or gala would work beautifully.

Day 8: Pralines

These caramel pecan dreams are a cinch to make if you’re new to candy. All that’s required is a little focus and a dash of patience – they’re best if you let them cool for a few hours! 

Day 9: Peanut Butter Blossoms

Maria loves making these cookies for Rachael – they’re one of her favorites! And there’s no doubt why – the sweet bite of chocolate paired with perfect peanut butter cookies is sure to bring a smile to your face.

Day 10: Molasses Cookies

Don’t let the main ingredient fool you: These cookies are anything but thick and heavy. Light and fluffy (our team ate a dozen right out of the oven!), they’re perfectly sweet but not overbearing. We think they pair well with a coffee!

Day 11: Oatmeal Pecan Raisin Cookies

Warm, toasty, and perfect with a glass of milk (or on a plate of your favorite holiday cookies), these sweet bites from Maria will satisfy your craving for something hearty and sweet.

Day 12: Ice Cream Cake Roll with Chocolate Sauce

What’s more decadent than rich, chocolately cake with ice cream swirled inside? You’ll love this beautiful, crave-able dessert from Maria. Just be careful: It will be gone in a flash!

There’s more to come…see ya tomorrow!

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