What the bakers of The Great Canadian Baking show make for the holidays

The bakers share their favourite holiday bakes and recipes.
How do the bakers of The Great Canadian Baking Show celebrate the holidays? They bake! Clockwise from left: Sabrina's struffoli, Julian's 3D blueberry pie, Corey's rugelach and Sinclair's shortbread. (Sabrina Degni / Julian D'Entremont / Corey Shefman / Sinclair Shuit)

You've seen them tackle complex technical challenges and elaborate showstopper bakes  — but have you ever wondered what the bakers on The Great Canadian Baking Show make at home?

We asked the bakers to share their favourite holiday bakes and recipes. Read on for grandma-inspired cookies, simple shortbread and five tasty twists on rugelach.

Sabrina

​"A must during the holidays for my family is struffoli. It's an Italian dish made up of fried dough balls covered in honey and sprinkles. As simple as it sounds, my family always requests this dessert."

Sabrina Degni makes this simple Italian dessert every year: fried balls of dough, covered with honey and sprinkles. (Sabrina Degni / The Great Canadian Baking Show)

James

"For Christmas dinner, several times I've done a mushroom gougère — this is a cheese choux crown, filled with a creamy mushroom filling. The sauce I use is very similar to the one I put in my tourtière. I'm afraid I don't actually have an actual recipe written down for it anywhere!"

Corey

"Rugelach! Usually with raspberry jam and chopped dark chocolate, but lately [I've been] experimenting with different flavour combinations - tahini and Dark chocolate, marzipan and dark chocolate, even (*gasp!*) peppermint and white chocolate."

Corey shared his five favourite flavour combinations with CBC Life

Linda

"Most requested by family and friends: biscotti, cookies and caramel chocolates with sea salt."

Terri

"I change up my cookies and treats every year, but there are two recipes that are always in the rotation: my ginger molasses cookies (inspired by my grandma's recipe) and maple fudge. In fact, I actually made both these recipes as part of The Great Canadian Baking Show: the chewy ginger molasses cookies came with me to the audition, and my grandma's maple fudge was used as a topper on my maple cream doughnuts during Canada Week."

"For me, the holidays have always been about cookies." Terri changes up the cookies in her holiday rotation every year, but chewy ginger molasses cookies always make an appearance. (The Great Canadian Baking Show/Terri Thompson)

Julian

"They all want pie. I have been dabbling with pies since the show. Nova Scotia wild blueberry [is] a family favourite, so I spruced one up a bit to make it a little more show-stopperish. To my knowledge, it's the world's first 3D pie."

Sinclair

"My shortbread recipe is super easy and a family favourite. I've included both a regular and chocolate version!"

Sinclair Shuit's holiday shortbread is a family favourite. (Sinclair Shuit / The Great Canadian Baking Show)

Vandana

"When it comes to holiday baking, I do whatever the kids ask for! My son Niam and two nieces (Jasmeena and Arianna) are the bosses when it comes to holiday baking in our home.

I'm thinking this year it will be the gingerbread treehouse that wins the vote with the kiddos after the Holiday Baking Week episode airs!"

Vandana Jain had always wanted to build a treehouse for her son in their backyard. "But I have no idea how to make an actual treehouse," said the baker from Regina. "So I thought I'd make a gingerbread treehouse!" The judges loved the attention to detail in Vandana's baked treehouse. Judge Bruno said, "I just want to become very, very, very small, jump into the garden and start to play around." (The Great Canadian Baking Show)