Food Network Stars' Holiday Baking Traditions
Food Network stars share their favorite holiday treats, reminisce about childhood memories and talk about their favorite traditions.
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Leaving It to the Next Generation
Triple G host Guy Fieri considers his son Hunter the baker in the family, as he himself usually avoids baking because he ends up walking away when something's in the oven. "Hunter likes to follow the recipe and pay attention," says Guy. But if he's feeling up for it, says Guy, "I'll do a pie once a year."
Hoping to Get Mom's Secret Cookie Recipe
Pizelles and Neapolitan cookies are on the list of desserts Valerie Bertinelli, host of Valerie's Home Cooking, makes every holiday. But her absolute favorite cookies are her mom's Christmas bells, gingerbread with a pecan filling. "But she won't give me the recipe," Valerie says. "I'm sure I'll get it within the next few years."
Going Old-Fashioned with Yule Logs
"I love Yule logs," says Geoffrey Zakarian, Chopped judge and co-host of The Kitchen. His favorites are the old-fashioned ones, which are decorated with "meringue mushrooms," he specifies. "It's really festive, and the children love it."
Measuring Up to a Single Cookie
It's a given that Duff Goldman, host of Holiday Baking Championship, is expected to bake when the holidays roll around, but when he doesn't have to do the baking, he loves the snickerdoodles his family friend makes. "It's the snickerdoodle by which I judge every other snickerdoodle," he explains. "And mine don't measure up."
Fruitcake, the Boozier the Better
Every Christmas, Chopped judge Maneet Chauhan uses her aunt's recipe for what she calls "the best fruitcake I've ever had." She recalls her aunt would begin soaking the dried fruit in rum on Thanksgiving and leave it in the refrigerator for a month. "It has the most-amazing taste," she says.
Sharing a Simple, No-Bake Treat
Katie Lee, co-host of The Kitchen, admits to keeping the holidays simple. "I love to make my aunt's recipe for these chocolate peanut butter balls." They're no-bake and "quick and easy to make," so inevitably Katie finds herself making batches "a few times during the holidays" to give as gifts.
Light-as-a-Cloud Key Lime Chiffon Pie
Ted Allen, host of Chopped, will sometimes bake his Key lime chiffon pie for the holidays despite it not being so Christmassy. Unlike a regular Key lime pie, the chiffon filling is folded with whipped cream to create "a much more kind of fluffy" consistency, he says.
Going Crazy with Cutout Cookies
For Sunny Anderson, co-host of The Kitchen, holiday baking is more of a sporadic occasion: "One year I’m not into it, and then the next year it's like, gosh, I’m buying cookie cutters." But this year it's on. "I bought all these new cookie cutters," she says, planning on going all out.
Finding Her Zen in Baking
"I love to bake," says Chopped judge Alex Guarnaschelli, adding, "I find it very therapeutic." Although she cooks more savory than sweet, the holidays are just the right time for her "to really get into the baking." Her favorite holiday baked good? "I get down with pies," she says.
New Takes on Pumpkin Pie and Apple Pie
"I make my pumpkin persimmon pie every year," Giada De Laurentiis, host of Giada at Home, says of her holiday baking tradition. But when she doesn't want to bake, she makes a caramel apple semifreddo. "You can make it ahead of time," she explains. "It has all the flavors of apple pie but in an ice cream!"
Cookies That Bring Back the Memories
The holidays aren't complete for Chopped judge Chris Santos without his mom's peanut butter blossom cookies, the ones made with basically three ingredients: peanut butter, sugar and a chocolate kiss on top. "They make me think of being literally 7 years old and making them with my mom," he says.
Cookies Delivered on Request
Anne Burrell, mentor on Worst Cooks in America, loves it "when other people bring over the big trays of cookies" for the holidays. And who's on cookie duty in her family? Her sister-in-law. "We tell her she's not allowed to come to Christmas if she doesn’t bring it," jokes Anne.
Celebrating with a Big Greek Christmas
Michael Symon, host of Burgers, Brew & 'Que, recalls making baklava with his mom every year. "It was probably my first experience in the kitchen," he says. His mom would bake them weeks in advance for gift giving and freezing. "They were always on the table with the coffee after dinner," he says.
Candy Giving and Cookie Receiving
Damaris Phillips, host of Southern at Heart, is not one to choose when it comes to holiday treats, because she loves them all. But she absolutely loves Christmas candy: "I really like to give taffy, caramels and fudge." However, when it comes to cookies, she says, "I usually like for somebody to give those to me."