You Heard It Here First: Holiday Baking Season Starts Right Now!

Because we need a little Christmas, right this very minute!

September 01, 2020

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If there’s one thing this year has taught us, it’s the importance of finding and creating little moments of joy for yourself and others. You know the ones we’re talking about — whether you successfully learned how to cook a new-to-you cuisine or you bought yourself that kitchen gadget you’ve been eyeing all year long, moments like these make the tough days just a little brighter.

Though we love fall as much as the next person (sweater weather and pumpkin spice season!), there’s just something about the holidays that fills us with hope, optimism, and of course, joy!

That’s why starting today, September 1st, we’re officially kicking off our holiday season, and we think you should too! We rounded up nine festive treats that are sure to get you and yours feeling all shades of merry and bright. Because, sure, is Christmas technically 115 days away, but honestly, who’s even following a calendar anymore? Happy holidays!

If you’re one of those people who prefers to eat ice cream during warmer months and tries to avoid it during winter, there’s no better time to make this frosty no-churn treat from Food Network Kitchen star Vallery Lomas. Chopped peppermint bark, sweetened condensed milk and vanilla and peppermint extract give each spoonful a creamy sweetness and minty freshness. For a hint of extra extravagance, pour some hot coffee or espresso on top to create your very own holiday affogato.

Food Network Kitchen’s Christmas Cookie Cheesecake.

Photo by: Matt Armendariz

Matt Armendariz

Is there anything better than a hybrid dessert — especially one that’s covered in festive sprinkles and topped with glossy royal icing, like this massive sugar cookie cheesecake? No, we didn’t think so either! As if all that wasn't enough to convince you to make it, you’ll also use a tube of store-bought cookie dough to make the cheesecake’s crust, so you don’t need to fret unnecessarily about making the perfect crunchy layer.



Food Network Kitchen's Apple Pie Thumbprint Cookies from 12 Days of Cookies for THE ULTIMATE FRIENDSGIVING/12 DAYS OF COOKIES/LAST-MINUTE SIDES, as seen on Food Network

Photo by: Renee Comet ©© 2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Renee Comet, © 2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

When it comes to classic holiday treats, you just can’t beat a thumbprint cookie! If you’re still on the fence about kicking off your holiday baking festivities a little bit early, these buttery cookies are sure to change your mind. Not only do their pie-inspired filling make them perfect for fall, making a tray full of them also gives you the perfect excuse to use up all those Golden Delicious, Gala or Fuji apples you stock up on while apple picking.



Food Network Kitchen’s Red Velvet Ooey Gooey Bar, as seen on Food Network.

Photo by: Renee Comet

Renee Comet

There’s a reason we used the words “ooey gooey” in the title of this yummy bar recipe; after one scrumptious bite, you’ll see why. To assemble them, you’ll cover boxed red velvet cake mix with a creamy, dreamy layer of cheesecake batter to give dessert lovers of all ages a sweet treat. Wayyy better than a dancing sugar plum fairy if you ask us...

Everyone in your household or apartment will be singing, “Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree,” when they lay their eyes on these super cute chocolate cupcakes. You’ll use chocolate milk powder and unsweetened cocoa powder to fill your cupcakes with double the chocolate flavor and softened cream cheese and vanilla extract to make the light and airy frosting. And don’t forget about the Candy-Melt Christmas Trees — not only are they adorable, putting them together also makes a fun crafting project for the kids.



Food Network Kitchen’s Clear Peppermint Meringue Pie, as seen on Food Network.

Photo by: Renee Comet

Renee Comet

Talk about a beautiful sight! Though you probably won’t be anywhere near an actual winter wonderland when you make this mesmerizing chocolate-crusted pie, putting it together is sure to fill you with just as much wonder and joy. The secret behind the pie’s “clear” layer is a refreshing peppermint gelatin. Just trust us — it’s truly magical.

Everyone’s sure to be rockin’ around the kitchen island when you pull a tray of these kid- and adult-friendly sugar cookies out of the oven. To make decorating them an absolute breeze, simply pour your white royal icing mixture into a clean baking sheet and drizzle in zigzags of red and green-tinted icing to the top of it to create your own tri-colored pattern. All that’s left for you to do is plop your baked cookies on top and twist, twist, twist — how’s that for “dancing merrily in the new old-fashioned way.”

Sure, ice cold milk and freshly baked cookies are great. But peppermint milk and cookies — now that’s just the hap-happiest and easiest treat of all time. To make it, simply soak 20 peppermint candies in a pitcher of milk and refrigerate. With all that extra time, we wouldn’t blame you if you started your online Christmas shopping.

Christmas Tree Cheesecake Pops

Photo by: Teri Lyn Fisher

Teri Lyn Fisher

Though you’ll need to wait a few more months to decorate an actual Christmas tree, there’s absolutely no reason why you can’t practice your tree trimming skills on these adorable cheesecake pops. We recommend getting the kids in on the fun and throwing an impromptu decorating contest. Losing team does the dishes!

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