Here's my short list of must-make great Christmas sweets from many lands. Each entry links to a recipe.
- Dresden Stollen: This rich, heavy Teutonic cousin of the ubiquitous Italian panettone makes a perfect Christmas morning breakfast with high-quality tea or coffee.
- Gingerbread House: A festive-looking treat that's fun to decorate with kids, and makes a great centerpiece on a desserts table.
- Almond Macaroons: Sublimely simple, light yet rich in flavor, these look great around the Buche de Noel (below) and make good use of the leftover egg whites from that recipe.
- Springerle: Another German specialty, these intriguing cookies use no butter, they are rolled with a special decorative rolling pin, and they must be cut into tiles and dried overnight before being baked on a bed of crushed anise seed. But other than that, they are just like store-bought Christmas cookies... ;-)
- Butter Cookies: These rich and delicate cookies color a beautiful pale golden-brown and really don't need sugar-paint, but they are easy enough to make with children and fun to paint and hang on the Christmas tree as edible ornaments.
- Buche de Noel: The undisputed king of the Christmas Eve dessert table, with a decadent hazelnut buttercream filling and a rich chocolate cream cheese frosting inside and outside a Genoise butter-cake.
- Christmas Pudding and Hard Sauce: The Christmas classic that siezes the stage again after a Christmas roast or turkey - there's no arguing with the majesty and the tradition of the Christmas Pudding - and it always garners rave reviews.