The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Holiday Baking

txfarmer's picture

Holiday Baking

Boy, my oven and I have been busy this holiday.


Firstly, the wreath bread. The dough formula is based on Wild Yeast's cranberry fennel bread here: ,but I used cranberries and pistachio instead for the festive color.

Crunchy crust and a crumb that's full of cranberries and pistachio, yum!


Pumpkin brioche apple tart. The dough formula is from Sherry Yards' "Secret of Baking", the tart concept is from Wild yeast again (

The dough is VERY soft and yummy, rich enough, but not overboard(butter ratio is about 28%). Perfect with the apple, pumpkin seeds filling. I used some fresh cranberries for added tartness. I had leftover dough and made other fun shapes as well.

Babka from Maggie Glezer's "A Blessing of Bread"

Fun shaping method:

Pretty looking and the chocolate filling is very good, if a little too sweet for my family

A rum chestnut pie with some very yummy ingredients: candied chestnuts, chestnut puree, chestnut cream, marscarpone and heavy cream topping with real villina beans... (loosely based on this recipe:

Also made a bunch of cookies to give out as gifts:

Rugelach (VERY loosely based on this recipe:

Linzer cookies (recipe from Dorie Greenspan's "Baking: from my home to yours")

Candy cane cookies

Pumpkin oatmeal cookies

Espresso spritz cookies dipped in white chocolate and pistachio (from Carole Walter's "Great Cookies")


Pmccool's picture


You really need to give us advance warning to grab a napkin before posting pictures like this!  It all looks spectacular, including the espresso spritz, and I don't care for the taste of coffee!

Lovely work.


txfarmer's picture

Those spritz cookies came out better than expected - usually I prefer shortbread cookies, but this one is so chocolaty and rich.

ehanner's picture


They are all beautiful! That's quite a project.


txfarmer's picture

They were done over the span of two to three weeks, still, it felt like my oven and mixer really got a holiday workout.

SylviaH's picture

In place of eating sweets I'm now sipping hot tea.  I had planned on baking Ina Garten's Rugelach and never got around to it.   I saw them on the food network and they were so tempting.  Yours look devine.  All the ingredients are still lurking in my cupboards :/


txfarmer's picture

My rugelach used Ina's dough recipe, but I kinda got creative with the filling, using whatever I had on hand. It was very good though. I like now the shaped cookies can be frozen, then I just have to pull them out and bake right before I need them.

Paddyscake's picture

WOW!! You make me feel like a slouch! Just beautiful!


txfarmer's picture

Most of the cookies we gave out as gifts, so we didn't eat all of them, but still plenty. ;)

CaptainBatard's picture

they all look did the Pandoro come out?

I think I am having a babka attack....



txfarmer's picture

But I am trying again this coming weekend - can't believe I am going through the sweet starter babysitting so soon again!

I posted a seperate thread about my pandoro trouble (short version: dough completely collapsed after adding butter and could not recover), if you have time, do you mind taking a look? Thanks!

Nathan's picture

Your babka got my mouth watering!


txfarmer's picture

That babka was yummy, but we thought the filling was a tad to sweet for us. Next time I will swap out the filling with something else. I love the look of it though.

smasty's picture

Such great pics of everything!  I want to make the wreath bread...thanks for the inspiration!!

rayel's picture

and chestnut pie, all of them a delight to see. Thanks for sharing, txfarmer, you are a class baker. Ray

Debra Wink's picture
Debra Wink

What a beautiful collection. I'm partial to cookies and desserts, but I really admire your wreaths with pistachios and cranberries too. Nicely done!

susanfnp's picture

Well, wow! Really.