5 Christmas Treats from Around the World

It's well known that the Christmas holidays are a time for sharing, and what better to share than some delicious sweet treats! After baking with your partner, family or friends, these scrumptious goodies are the perfect accompaniment to a relaxed evening by the fire with Christmas music in the background. We have listed the recipes from easiest to hardest. But don’t be discouraged - the greater the challenge, the more rewarding the result!

PORTUGAL: Bolo de laranja

Prepping time: 20 minutes
Cooking time:  30-40 minutes
CAKE Ingredients for 6 to 8 people:
5 eggs
150 g flour
1 sachet of baking powder
80 g of sugar
100 g of melted butter
orange peel
juice of 2 oranges
SYRUP ingredients:
juice of 2 oranges
2 spoons of sugar

Preheat oven to 160 ° C. Melt the butter and mix together with the zest of the oranges. Separate the yolks from the egg whites and put the whites aside. In a big bowl, whip the egg yolks with the sugar until the mixture whitens. Add the sifted flour, baking powder, melted butter / zest mixture and orange juice. Whisk the egg whites together until they become foamy and steady and pour them gently into your bowl. Pour your mixture into a baking form which you have already buttered and floured. Place in the oven and leave for 30 to 40 min depending on the type of oven you have. Shortly before taking your cake out of the oven, prepare the syrup by boiling the juice of 2 oranges and the sugar in a saucepan. Once your cake is baked, take it out of the form immediately, lay it on a plate and pour the syrup over it. Allow to cool before serving. You can sprinkle it with icing sugar for even better presentation. Read an original recipe in Portuguese here.

GERMANY: Zimtsterne

Prepping time: 45 minutes – 12 hours resting time
Cooking time:  8 minutes
Makes about 30 Stars
3 egg whites
250 g powdered sugar
2 drops of lemon juice
140 g ground hazelnuts
140 g ground almonds
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
2 teaspoons of kirsch liquor

Place the egg whites in a large bowl. Whip them using an electric mixer with 2 drops of lemon juice until they become foamy and steady in the bowl. Gradually add the powdered sugar to the whites and continue whisking until the mixture is stiff and forms a nice meringue. Keep about 100g powdered sugar to the side for glazing. Add the hazelnuts, almonds, cinnamon and kirsch liquor to the rest of your meringue.
Mix until the dough becomes smooth and slightly sticky. Put the dough on a flat surface and roll it out to about 1 cm thick. Make the stars with star-shaped cookie cutters. Make a ball with the dough that is left, flatten to 1cm thick and repeat until no more dough remains. Using a cooking brush, cover the top of each star with the glazing you kept from earlier. Place them on a baking tray with a piece of baking parchment. Let them set for 12 hours at room temperature. Preheat oven to 160 °C and bake for approximately 8 minutes. The glazing must stray white and not become colored. Allow to cool fully before storing in a sealed container for up to 2 weeks. Read an original recipe in German here.

SWEDEN: Lussekatter or Saffron buns [VEGAN]

Prepping time: 2 hours
Cooking time: 8-10 minutes

SAFFRON BUNS full recipe:
5 dl oat milk (or other plant milk)
1 dl agave syrup
1.5 dl rapeseed oil
1 g saffron
50 g fresh yeast
11 dl wheat flour
flour for kneading
rapeseed oil for brushing

Heat the oat milk slowly and stir in the agave syrup, rapeseed oil and saffron.
Remove from heat when it’s warm but not too hot to touch (37°c).
Crumble the fresh yeast in a bowl and pour in the milk mix. Stir until smooth.
Add the flour a little at a time. Let sit for 40 minutes, preferably somewhere warm.
Knead the dough with more flour until not sticky and workable.
Form into cute shapes and pop in the raisins.
Let sit for 20 minutes and preheat the oven to 225°C.
Brush the buns with a little bit of rapeseed oil.
Bake for about 8-10 minutes until slightly browned.

Read the recipe in Swedish here.


FRANCE: Marrons Glacés

Prepping time: 40 minutes
Cooking time: 60 minutes
For the MARRONS:
750g sweet chestnuts (skin on)
500g granulated sugar
A splash of lemon juice
1 vanilla pod
For the GLAZE:
450g granulated sugar
With a sharp knife, make a couple of nicks across the pointed end of each chestnut. Place all the chestnuts in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Meanwhile put 500g granulated sugar in a pan with 250ml water. Heat slowly, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved, then add the vanilla pod and bring to the boil. Remove the chestnuts from the heat. Have a bowl of warm water ready with a splash of lemon juice in it. It is important to remove only one chestnut at a time from the pan of hot water: peel back the thick leathery skins and the thin, papery inner skin of each nut, to reveal the golden kernel inside. Drop each peeled chestnut into the bowl of acidulated water. When the chestnuts are all shelled, drain and dry them thoroughly. Drop the chestnuts into the hot sugar syrup. Bring to a simmer and cook gently for 25-30 minutes or until tender (the time will depend on the size of the chestnuts). Meanwhile, prepare the final glaze by putting the 450g sugar and 150ml water in a small pan. Heat slowly, stirring, to dissolve the sugar, then boil for 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the chestnuts from their cooking syrup and place them on a wire cooling rack. Add the chestnutty cooking syrup to the glaze syrup and bring back to the boil. Then remove from the heat. Put a small bowl over a pan of simmering water. Pour a little of the glazing syrup into the bowl, so it stays hot. Have a second small bowl ready with freshly boiled water in it. Using a skewer, take a chestnut. Dunk it first in the hot water, then swizzle it in the hot sugar syrup in the bowl. Place on a wire rack to cool. Repeat with all the chestnuts, topping up the bowl of syrup with more syrup from the pan if you need to. Leave the chestnuts to dry in a warm airing cupboard or in an oven on a very, very low heat (around 50°C) for 10 to 12 hours. Then wrap each chestnut in a twist of greaseproof paper. Read the recipe in French here. Source

ITALY: Panettone

Prepping time: 3-4 hours
Cooking time: 30 minutes
5 tablespoons warm water (45 °C)
2 (7g) sachets dried active baking yeast
500g plain flour
125ml warm milk
125g caster sugar
4 eggs
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
12 tablespoons unsalted butter
325g mixed glacé fruits
2 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons orange zest
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon cream
To make sponge, warm a small bowl by rinsing it with hot water. Pour in warm water and sprinkle 1 sachet yeast on it. Let stand until yeast has dissolved. Stir in 60g of the flour, cover with cling film, and let stand 30 minutes, or until doubled. Sprinkle remaining yeast over warm milk. Let stand until dissolved. Beat together sugar, eggs, egg yolks and vanilla. Stir in milk-yeast mixture. Add sponge and stir until well incorporated. Combine butter and remaining flour until crumbly. Slowly pour in egg mixture and beat on high speed 3 to 4 minutes, until dough is elastic looking and long strands form. Beat in fruit and zests. Turn dough into oiled bowl, cover with cling film, and leave in a warm place to rise until doubled, about 2 to 3 hours. Fold down moulds to form a 7cm cuff. Brush inside and out with melted butter. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead a few times to deflate. Divide dough into 3 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and drop into prepared moulds. Place bags on a baking tray about 10cm apart and cover loosely with cling film. Let rise in a warm place until doubled again, about 2 hours. Heat oven to 200 C / Gas 6. Cut an X in top of each loaf with oiled scissors. Combine egg yolk with cream. Brush tops of loaves lightly with egg wash. Place baking tray in bottom 1/3 of oven. After 10 minutes, lower heat to 190 C / Gas 5. Bake for 30 more minutes; if tops get too brown, cover with foil. Loaves are done when a wooden skewer inserted into centre comes out clean. Cool on wire rack. Read the recipe in Italian here. Source