The holidays bring out the most festive culinary creations, and there’s no better outlet for this then baking. To give you some inspiration during these merry times, I asked my pastry chef Vivian Wu of my New York City Townhouse restaurant to share some of her creative ideas with baking.
When I’m looking for new ideas for holiday baking, I like to take classic favorites that I make all year round and I will just add a few simple touches to them to make them festive. For starters, the best way to convert a baked good into a festive holiday treat is to make it an ornament, like with my sugar cookie recipe. I use a pastry tip, or even a skewer, to cut a small hole in the cookies before baking. When they’re done, I’ll string a ribbon through the hole and decorate the cookies using colored icing or edible glitter.
Another favorite of mine that can easily be given a holiday touch are chocolate covered pretzels. I’ll crush up candy canes or lay out holiday-themed sprinkles and roll pretzel sticks in them right after dipping them in the melted chocolate. If you’re Rice Krispies fan, a fun way of dressing them up for the holidays is to add a little green food coloring to the marshmallow batter, and then cut out Christmas tree cookie cutter to cut them out of the pan. Add some red sprinkle or cinnamon dots to them to "trim" the trees. One final idea is for those of you who are meringue fanatics. I like to make my peppermint meringue kisses over the holiday, where I’ll take a regular meringue recipe and add a few drops of red food coloring and peppermint syrup to it to make it holiday appropriate.