Christmas baking and dessert recipes

Fill your home with the scents of the festive season

Plate full of Christmas gingerbreads - sweet food
Few aromas evoke the festive season more than the warm spices in these cinnamon buns. Not only are they delicious but they'll scent your house far better than any candle could, bringing a touch of Scandinavian cosiness to the long winter nights.

The ingredients are:
Dough: 425g plain flour, 25g fresh yeast (OR 14g dried yeast), pinch of salt, 1 egg, 75g butter, 225ml milk, 45g caster sugar, half a teaspoon of cardamom.
Filling: 100g butter, 2-3tbsp caster sugar, 1tbsp cinnamon

If you're short of time, here's a quicker version using shop-bought croissant dough (look on the supermarket shelves next to the ready-made pastry).

If you're more interested in savoury flavours, why not try these this recipe for spicy sausage rolls (from Richard Burr of Great British Bake Off) which are perfect for a festive drinks party or a snack for the family or guests.

Christmas puddings of various kinds can be traced back to the 1400s and are traditionally made on stir-up Sunday near the end of November, giving plenty of time for the flavours to develop before Christmas Day itself. You can even bake your own Christmas decorations or make a gingerbread house.

Cakes and puddings:
Christmas wreath cake
Boozy Christmas cake
Rich Christmas cake
Last-minute Christmas pudding (can be made on Christmas Eve)
Brandy butter

Bake your own decorations:
Edible Christmas tree decorations
Christmas garlands
Gingerbread winter wonderland

Too full for pudding?
Not everyone can manage a rich dessert after Christmas dinner, and while some are happy with a good cheeseboard or some fruit, a lighter alternative might go down well. A pudding-shaped Bombe Noël (based on ice cream) makes an impressive centrepiece and can be made in advance, as a can a festive version of poached pears in cassis. Pears can also be paired (sorry) with gingerbread to make a fruity but spicy festive treat. If you fancy something creamier, how about a sherry-infused trifle, or a smooth and sophisticated white chocolate panna cotta?

More alternative desserts:
Mary Berry's chocolate mousse
Richard Burr's authentic baklava
Chocolate profiteroles

Baking with yeast - bread, rolls and buns:
Cherry tomato and basil buns
Epiphany ring - perfect for the twelfth day of Christmas (6 January)
Stollen with pistachios
Warm seedy bread rolls (great with soup)

More festive food ideas:
Christmas menus: Festive food for everyone
Good Housekeeping's tried and tested Guide to Christmas 2016 food shopping
Festive cocktails, hot drinks and party food
What to do with a supermarket lobster
How to have a Scandinavian-style Christmas

Make Christmas easier on yourself:
The ultimate Christmas countdown
Quick and easy last-minute Christmas
Take the stress out of Christmas