When we celebrate Advent, many of us think about attending church services and events, saying extra prayers, reading devotionals, or marking off an Advent calendar. But one way you can celebrate Advent is in the comfort of your own home by baking in your kitchen. There are different seasonal desserts your family and friends can bake and decorate that will leave your house smelling like Christmas!
Here are four types of holiday desserts you can bake and decorate today.
1. Christmas Cookies
One of the most fun and simple ways to celebrate Advent in your kitchen is to bake and decorate Christmas cookies. One of the great things about baking cookies is there are so many different types you can bake—chocolate chip, sugar, snickerdoodle, oatmeal raisin, and peanut butter cookies. You can take any flavor (or flavors) your family likes and dress them up to look like Christmas.
Before purchasing the baking supplies, make sure to gather a couple of helpers whether it is your children, spouse, siblings, friends, and neighbors. Baking together is always a lot more fun and a great way to prepare for the holidays.
After assembling your helpers, decide which ingredients you will need for your different types of cookies. If you are a first-time baker, you can always purchase pre-made cookie dough and focus on the decorating part. However, if you want to make your own cookie dough, go for it!
In the spirit of the Advent season, you can cut the cookies into shapes of Advent symbols. Some symbols include wreaths, stars, and gifts. You could also use bell-shaped cookie cutters to represent bells rung throughout the holiday season to announce the birth of Jesus Christ. The candy cane is also another great symbol, representing Jesus, the good Shepherd. The red color represents His blood and sacrifice while white represents purity.
Baking is a great time to talk about the importance of the Advent season as you talk about the different holiday shapes and colors.
When you are planning time for baking and decorating cookies, leave enough time for the cookies to cool before decorating them. If you are going to cut your cookies into different shapes, you will need cookie cutters, a rolling pin, and flour. If you are doing sugar cookies, you can make your own cookie icing or buy it from the store. Other decorating supplies you might need:
- festive sprinkles
- food coloring gel
- disposable icing bags
- toothpicks or chopsticks (for the fine details)
2. Gingerbread House
Another way to celebrate Advent in your kitchen is to decorate a gingerbread house. Just like the cookies, it is great to have helpers for the decorating process. Decorate with your family or host a neighborhood gingerbread house party!
You can choose to bake your own gingerbread or buy it ready to go from the store. They even have gingerbread house kits you can purchase that contain everything you need! You can always buy more candies if you want to build accessories to the home such as a sled, a tree, and a mailbox.
For decorating supplies, you will need icing, food coloring gels (for the icing), and an assortment of colorful candies. If you want to get creative, you might need other supplies such as:
- pretzel sticks
- candy canes
- ice cream cones
- graham crackers
To get more ideas of how to decorate your gingerbread house or host a gingerbread house party, check out Gingerbread House Party.
3. Jesus’ Birthday Cake
Since the reason we celebrate Advent is the birth of Jesus, baking a birthday cake is another fun and simple way to stay focused on Him throughout the season. This is a great tradition to start with your children today. It only takes a couple of hours, and they will love baking, decorating, and eating the cake with you!
When baking a birthday cake, the first thing to do is to decide what flavor of cake and icing you would like to make. There are seasonal flavors such as eggnog, chocolate peppermint, and spice cake. There are traditional flavors such as chocolate, vanilla, and lemon. If you need help in finding a recipe for a Christmas cake, check out 36 Best Christmas Cakes where you will find incredible flavor combinations of cake and frosting that will put you in a festive mood!
If you love baking and decorating, dress your cake up! You might need cake decorating supplies such as:
- fresh fruit
- chopped nuts
- toasted coconut
- lightweight candies
- pastry bags and tips
- toothpicks (for the fine details)
After decorating the cake, have the children light candles and sing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus!
4. Loaf of Stollen
As part of an old Advent tradition, bake a loaf of stollen with your family. If you have children, it is a great time to teach them the story behind this cake-like bread. Today, we recognize the loaf of stollen as a symbol of baby Jesus wrapped in swaddling cloths in the manger.
In 14th century Germany (where the bread originated), stollen was a common bread baked during Advent because it contained flour, oil, and water only. Milk and butter were forbidden during the Advent season. However, eventually, this ban was lifted, and stollen became the sweet Advent treat we know today.
There are many recipes for stollen on the internet. Some are similar to the traditional German treat without butter and milk while most are filled with fruits, nuts, and powdered sugar. In your stollen, you might include ingredients such as:
- candied orange or citrus peel
- dried cranberries
- spices such as cardamom and cinnamon
For one version of this holiday treat, check out Advent Stollen Recipe. After you bake this delicious fruit bread, enjoy a nice cup of hot cocoa as you talk about its rich history.
Baking and decorating these fun, simple desserts will help your family and friends to get in the Christmas spirit. These traditions will make celebrating Advent special for years to come. Don’t forget to take a lot of pictures—they might make fun Christmas cards next year!
As the countdown to Christmas is winding down, stay tuned to our blog and website for more ideas of how to celebrate the Advent season in your home. As you prepare for your Christmas celebration, check out our Christmas Eve services where you will experience a joy for all.