Sweet and Savoury Christmas Bakes

Whether you’re hosting a festive party, lunch or dinner, the sweet aroma of cakes and biscuits wafting from the kitchen is the first sign that Christmas is on its way. Try one of Tesco’s Christmas baking ideas and get creative with icing decorations, fun biscuit shapes and crafty cakes to tempt your family and friends this year.

1.  Christmas Biscuits


Keep the kids busy in the kitchen over the holidays by baking a batch of these easy Christmas biscuits. Cut out a range of festive shapes from the spiced orange dough and get creative decorating with pretty coloured icing.

Christmas biscuits




225g self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting

1 orange, zested

½ tsp ground mixed spice

115g golden caster sugar

115g British unsalted butter, cut into cubes

1 medium egg, beaten


For the decoration

400g icing sugar, plus extra for dusting

1 tsp red gel food colouring

silver pearls crispy

gold crunch sprinkles

white chocolate stars

ready to roll green icing

ready to roll red icing



  1. Preheat the oven to gas 4, 180°C, fan 160°C. Line 2 baking sheets with baking paper and set aside.
  2. Add the flour, orange zest, mixed spice, sugar and butter to a large bowl. Rub together with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the beaten egg and mix to a stiff dough. Bring together with your hands into a disc, wrap in clingfilm and chill for at least 20 mins.
  3. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to 5mm thick. Cut out a mixture of shapes, such as stars, Christmas trees, snowmen or snowflakes with cutters. Bring any leftover dough together again, roll out and cut out further shapes. Transfer to the prepared baking sheets and chill for 10 mins until firm.
  4. Bake for 10-12 mins (check after 8 mins if your shapes are small) or until pale golden. Transfer the biscuits to a wire rack to cool completely. The biscuits can be eaten plain, dusted with icing sugar, or try some of these colourful decorating ideas below.
  5. For the icing, place half the icing sugar in a bowl, add 3 tbsp water and mix until it forms a thick paste. Place the remaining icing sugar in another bowl, add 3 tbsp water and the red gel food colouring and mix together to make a bold red colour.
  6. Put the red icing in a piping bag with a small plain nozzle (or spoon into a sandwich bag and snip the corner off to make a small hole). Pipe lines around some of the cooled biscuits to make borders or snowflake patterns. Leave to set briefly. To flood the middles, add a spoonful of the white icing inside the borders and allow the icing to spread to the edges. Decorate with silver and gold balls and stars, as you like.
  7. Roll out some green and red fondant icing on a surface lightly dusted with icing sugar to 5mm thickness. Cut out shapes and use to decorate the remaining biscuits. Secure the fondant icing with a little runny white icing. Leave to set completely before serving. The finished biscuits will keep for up to a week in an airtight container.


Tip: Get ahead by freezing your biscuit dough. Make the dough, roll into a flat disc, wrap in clingfilm and freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost fully before using.

Freezing and defrosting guidelines (dough only)

In order to enjoy optimum flavour and quality, frozen items are best used within 3 months of their freezing date. For more tips on freezing and defrosting food, read Tesco’s article Love Your Freezer.


2.  Glazed Speculaas Biscuits


Speculaas are traditional Dutch Christmas biscuits, gently spiced with cinnamon and ginger and often imprinted with festive decorations. In a twist on the classic recipe, cocoa has been added to the biscuit dough, which can be made ahead and frozen until ready to bake. Stamped with pretty snowflakes, these Christmas biscuits make a great gift for a loved one, or can simply be enjoyed as a treat with a warming winter drink.

Glazed speculaas biscuits




100g butter, softened

110g light soft brown sugar

120g black treacle

1 medium egg yolk

250g plain flour, plus extra for dusting

½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

2 tsp ground ginger

1½ tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp mixed spice

2 tbsp cocoa powder

100g icing sugar, sifted

2 tbsp lemon juice



  1. Put the butter, sugar, treacle and egg yolk in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric whisk until smooth.
  2. Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda, spices and cocoa powder into a separate bowl with a pinch of salt, then add to the wet ingredients. Slowly beat them together until a thick dough forms. Knead briefly in the bowl to bring the dough together, being careful not to overmix. Shape into a large, flat disc, then wrap in cling film and transfer to the fridge to chill for 30 mins. Preheat the oven to gas 4, 180°C, fan 160°C and line 2 large baking sheets with nonstick baking paper.
  3. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to 5mm thick and cut out 12 biscuits with an 8cm round cutter, re-rolling the dough as needed. Dip the patterned base of a heavy, cut-crystal glass in flour; use to stamp patterns onto the biscuits. Transfer them to the lined baking sheets, leaving space between, and bake for 16-18 mins until cracking a little at the edges. Leave to cool for 10 mins on the sheets, then put on a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. Meanwhile, mix the icing sugar with the lemon juice. Dip the cooled biscuits in the icing, pattern-side down, then use a palette knife to smooth o some of the icing so you can see the stamped image. Leave to set for about 1 hr. The biscuits will keep in a sealed container at room temperature for 3-4 days.


Get ahead: Make the dough up to 48 hrs in advance. Keep wrapped and chilled in the fridge, or freeze for up to 3 months.

Tip: If you have one, use a 7cm biscuit stamp instead of the base of a glass in step 3


3.  Spiced Scone Stars with Berry Compote

Spiced scone stars with berry compote




400g gluten-free self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp xanthan gum

1 tsp ground mixed spice, plus extra for dusting

1½ tsp ground cinnamon

75g dairy-free spread

2 tbsp Stevia sweet, plus extra to taste

1 tsp finely grated orange zest

225ml unsweetened soya milk

1 egg, beaten (optional, for non-vegans)

dairy-free coconut yogurt, to serve (optional)


For the compote

225g frozen fruit mix, defrosted

1½ tsp cornflour



  1. Preheat the oven to gas 7, 220°C, fan 200°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Sift the flour, baking powder, xanthan gum and spices into a bowl. Rub in the spread until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs, then stir in the Stevia and orange zest.
  2. Gradually mix in the milk to make a soft dough, then turn out onto a floured work surface. Knead gently until smooth, then roll out to about 2.5cm thick. Use a 7.5cm-wide star-shaped cutter to stamp out 8 stars, re-rolling as necessary.
  3. Use a knife to lightly score the tops of the scones to make a criss-cross pattern. Arrange them on the baking tray, brush the tops with egg (if using) and bake for 25 mins or until lightly golden. Leave to cool on the tray.
  4. In a saucepan, mix the cornflour into the fruit mix, then heat gently, stirring, until it starts to simmer and thicken. Simmer gently for 1 min, then remove from the heat. Stir in Stevia to taste, then leave to cool. Transfer to a serving dish; chill until ready to serve.
  5. Arrange the stars around the compote. Dust the yogurt with mixed spice and serve in a dish on the side, if using.


Tip: Open-freeze cooled scones on a freezer container lid for 2 hrs, then freeze inside the container for up to 6 months.

Gluten-free cooking tip: Xantham gum aids in gluten-free baking making them less crumbly and makes gluten-free pastry easier to roll and handle. It’s available in specialist health food stores and in some supermarkets.​


4.  Viennese Swirl Mince Pies


It wouldn’t be Christmas without mince pies, so this year why not try giving a classic mince pie recipe a fresh spin with a crumbly, buttery Viennese whirl topping. It’s easier to make pastry in large batches so this recipe makes a double amount – chill or freeze the rest for another time.

Viennese whirl mince pies




For the pastry

125g unsalted butter, chilled and cubed

50g icing sugar

250g plain flour, plus extra for dusting

1 egg

1 orange, zested


For the filling

275g Tesco Finest mincemeat

2 tbsp brandy (optional)

25g toasted flaked almonds, roughly chopped

For the Viennese whirl topping

150g unsalted butter, softened

150g plain flour

2 tbsp cornflour

30g icing sugar, plus extra for dusting

1 tsp almond extract



  1. To make the pastry, put the butter, icing sugar and flour into a food processor and pulse until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg and half the orange zest and pulse until the pastry just comes together into a ball. Tip onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a flat circle. Wrap tightly in clingfilm and chill for 30 mins.
  2. Halve the dough and save one half for another time (see tip below). Roll out the remaining half of pastry on a lightly floured surface to the thickness of a pound coin. Cut out 12 circles with an 8cm fluted cutter and lightly press into a muffin tin. Prick the base of the pastry with a fork.
  3. In a bowl, mix the mincemeat with the rest of the orange zest, brandy (if using) and chopped almonds. Fill each pastry case with a tablespoon of mincemeat.
  4. For the Viennese whirl topping, place the softened butter in a large bowl and beat until soft. Sift over the flour, cornflour and icing sugar and beat for 5 mins or until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the almond extract and beat to combine.
  5. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle. Pipe a swirl of the topping on top of each mince pie to cover each one. Place in the fridge and chill for 30 mins or until firm to the touch. This will help the whirl keep its shape when baked.
  6. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to gas 5, 190°C, fan 170°C.
  7. Bake for 15 mins or until the topping is golden and just crisp. Allow to cool slightly in the tin, then carefully loosen with a knife and transfer to a wire rack. Dust with icing sugar and serve warm, with brandy butter or whipped cream if you like.


Tips: This recipe makes enough pastry to make 24 mince pies so there is enough for a second batch. Wrap half the pastry in clingfilm and keep in the fridge for up to a week or freezer for up to 3 months. Defrost fully before using.

Try experimenting with your mincemeat filling – you could add small cubes of marzipan, dried cherries or cranberries.

If you want to make these nut-free, omit the flaked almonds in the mincemeat and replace the almond extract with vanilla extract in the Viennese topping.


Freezing and defrosting guidelines

In order to enjoy optimum flavour and quality, frozen items are best used within 3 months of their freezing date. For more tips on freezing and defrosting food, read Tesco’s article Love Your Freezer.


5.  Marzipan Chocolate Chip Cookies


For a speedy Christmas treat or last-minute edible gift idea, try these marzipan and chocolate chip cookies, made with just three ingredients. Add marzipan to ready-to-bake dough, scatter with orange zest and pop in the oven – it’s that easy.

Marzipan chocolate chip cookies




300g pack ready-to-bake milk chocolate chip cookie dough

75g marzipan, cut into 30 small chunks

1 orange, zested



  1. Preheat the oven to gas 6, 200°C, fan 180°C. Cut the cookie dough into 10 equal pieces, then roll each into a ball and flatten very slightly.
  2. Push 3 chunks onto each cookie, then scatter over the orange zest.
  3. Transfer to a large, lined baking tray and bake for 10-12 mins or until golden. Will keep for up to 1 week in a sealed container.


6.  Robin Gingerbread Biscuits


This robin gingerbread biscuits recipe will go down a treat with the kids, and the adults! They’re so simple to make, why not let the little ones join in the Christmas baking fun.


Robin gingerbread biscuits recipe




25g butter

1 tbsp golden syrup

15g dark muscovado sugar

65g plain flour, plus extra for rolling

¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 tsp ground ginger


To decorate

100g royal icing sugar

15g tube extra strong red gel food colour

3 tbsp red hundreds and thousands

dark chocolate writing icing

6 pieces mixed peel, cut into triangles

70g pack chocolate buttons



  1. Heat the butter, syrup and sugar in a small pan over a low heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Cool slightly. Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl with a pinch of salt. Pour in the butter mix and stir to combine. Knead into a smooth dough, then wrap in cling lm and chill for 20 mins.
  2. On a well floured surface, roll the dough out to 2mm thick, then use an 8cm round cutter to cut out 6 circles. Transfer to a lined tray and chill for 30 mins until firm. Preheat the oven to gas 6, 200°C, fan 180°C.
  3. Bake the biscuits for 12-14 mins until dark golden. Cool on the tray for 5 mins, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before decorating.
  4. To decorate, mix the icing sugar in a bowl with 1 tsp water and enough food colouring to get the shade you want. Stir until smooth, adding more water if needed to make a smooth but stiff icing. Transfer to a piping bag and pipe a half circle on each biscuit. Fill with more icing and spread into a thin layer. Sprinkle over hundreds and thousands, then shake to remove the excess.
  5. Use the writing icing to pipe eyes and stick on the peel beaks. For the wings, use small blobs of red icing to stick 4 buttons on either side. Leave to set. The un-iced biscuits will keep for up to 4 days in an airtight tin. Once iced, keep cool and eat on the same day.


7.  Gingerbread Reindeer


Try your hand at making these adorable gingerbread reindeer faces. They’re perfect to make with kids and are great as edible gifts for friends and family. They also make delicious Christmas tree decorations!

Gingerbread reindeer recipe




1/2 quantity of gingerbread dough

1/2 squeezed lemon juice

225g (7oz) icing sugar

silver balls

red smarties



  1. Follow the recipe for the basic gingerbread dough mix (it’s best to do this the day before). When you’re ready to make your gingerbread reindeer, remove the dough from the fridge. Preheat the oven to gas 4, 180ºC, fan 160ºC. Print and cut out the Gingerbread reindeer template. Line two flat baking trays with nonstick baking paper.
  2. Roll out the gingerbread dough between two pieces of nonstick baking paper to a depth of 6-7mm. Remove the top piece of paper, place the template over the dough and, working quickly before the dough gets too warm, cut around the template. Keeping the dough on the paper you rolled it out on, carefully transfer it to the lined baking trays and chill in the fridge for 20 mins.
  3. Bake the biscuits for 10 mins. Remove from the oven. Using the end of a pencil or a sharp knife, stamp out a small hole in the top of the biscuit so a ribbon may be threaded through. Allow to cool on a wire rack.
  4. To make the icing, put the lemon juice into a small bowl and sift over the icing sugar, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon to prevent lumps forming. You may want to add more lemon juice if the mixture isn’t a thick, dropping consistency. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a small nozzle (3-4mm) or spoon into a plastic sandwich bag and cut a tiny corner away to serve as a piping bag.
  5. Pipe a squiggly line on the antlers and continue with a smooth line around the reindeer’s face. Dot on two silver balls with icing for eyes and a red smartie for the nose. Allow the icing to harden for an hour or so before serving, or thread with ribbon and hang on your Christmas tree.


Download the Gingerbread reindeer template here


8.  Cranberry and Goat’s Cheese Tart


This cranberry and goat’s cheese tart recipe is the perfect party food to feed a crowd. Save time with pre-made pastry, load with cranberry sauce and fresh cranberries and pour over a creamy sage filling. Top with tangy goat’s cheese and bake. You can even make this vibrant tart ahead and freeze ready for when you need it.

Cranberry and goat's cheese tart recipe




butter, for greasing

375g pack ready-rolled lighter shortcrust pastry

5 eggs

275ml whole milk

100ml single cream

12 sage leaves, 5 finely chopped

3 tbsp cranberry sauce

200g cranberries (defrosted and drained if frozen)

150g Chavroux goat’s cheese log, sliced into rounds



  1. Preheat the oven to gas 6, 200°C, fan 180°C. Grease and line the base of a 28cm fluted loose-bottomed tart tin with nonstick baking paper.
  2. Use the pastry to line the tin, pressing into the edges; trim. Prick the base all over with a fork. Cover with baking paper, pressing it in to hold the pastry in place, then fill with baking beans. Blind-bake for 15 mins. Remove the beans and paper and bake for 5 mins more until sandy to the touch.
  3. To make the filling, whisk the eggs, milk, cream and most of the chopped sage to combine; season.
  4. Reduce the oven to gas 3, 170°C, fan 150°C. Spread the cranberry sauce over the pastry base, then top with the cranberries. Pour in the filling, then top with the goat’s cheese and remaining chopped sage. Bake for 40-45 mins until just set, adding the whole sage leaves for the last 10 mins. Cool for 5-10 mins, then serve. Will keep in a sealed container for up to 3 days.


Tip: This recipe uses non-vegetarian cheese, but vegetarian alternatives are available.

Freezing and defrosting guidelines

In order to enjoy optimum flavour and quality, frozen items are best used within 3 months of their freezing date.


9.  Stained Glass Christmas Biscuits


These cute Christmas biscuits will look so pretty hanging from your tree and you’re sure to enjoy tucking into them too! Flavouring with orange and ginger and using boiled sweets to add creative colour makes these biscuits the perfect Christmas edible gift.

Stained glass Christmas biscuits recipe




250g plain flour

1 tsp ground ginger

100g (3 1/2oz) icing sugar, plus extra for dusting

150g cold butter, diced

1 orange, finely zested

1 large egg yolk

150g (5oz) clear, coloured boiled sweets



  1. Heat the oven to gas 4, 180°C, fan 160°C and line two baking sheets with nonstick baking paper. In a food processor, pulse the flour, ginger and icing sugar once or twice to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs. Add the zest, yolk and 1 tsp water and pulse again until a soft dough forms.
  2. Remove the dough and gently press into a flat disc on a lightly floured surface. Wrap in clingfilm and chill for about 20 mins or until firm enough to roll out.
  3. Cut the dough in half to make it easier to roll out. Roll thinly to about 5mm on a lightly floured surface. Use 7cm (2 3/4in) Christmas cutters (stars, hearts, snowmen, Christmas trees etc) to cut out 12 biscuits. Use a flat spatula to carefully lift each one onto a lightly oiled baking sheet. Allow about 2cm (3/4in) of space around each one. Gently combine the cuttings, then re-roll and cut out more biscuits. Poke a small hole at the top of each biscuit, to thread ribbon to hang them.
  4. Cut a 3cm (1in) hole in the middle of each biscuit using a miniature Christmas cutter such. Lightly crush the sweets in their wrappers with a rolling pin, then put the pieces in the middles of the biscuits. The sweets should be level with the top of the dough, not above. Use one colour or a mix for a multicoloured effect.
  5. Repeat the process with the other half of the dough to make 12 more biscuits. Pop both trays into the freezer for 10 mins until the dough is very firm. This will ensure the biscuits keep their shape in the oven.
  6. Bake for 10-15 mins or until lightly gold around the edges with melted middles. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheets for a few minutes before carefully transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Pierce the holes again while they are still warm and soft, and thread with ribbon to hang on the Christmas tree.


10.  Manchego and Chilli Shortbreads


If you’re struggling to think of gift ideas for friends and family, these spicy shortbreads make the perfect present for any cheese lover. Made with creamy Manchego, a sprinkling of crushed chillies and fragrant rosemary, savoury shortbread doesn’t get much better than this. Prepare the dough ahead and freeze until ready to bake.

Manchego and chilli shortbreads recipe




80g Manchego cheese, finely grated

125g salted butter, softened

1½ tsp crushed chillies

10g fresh rosemary, leaves finely chopped

150g plain flour, plus extra for dusting



  1. Beat the cheese and butter until pale and creamy. Season and add 1 tsp crushed chillies and the rosemary.
  2. Stir in the flour and bring together to a crumbly dough. Knead lightly on a lightly floured surface until just smooth. Shape into an 18cm log and wrap in clingfilm. Smooth and shape the dough, then tap on a work surface to give a rectangular shape with a rough square cross section. Chill for 1 hr until firm.
  3. Preheat the oven to gas 4, 180°C, fan 160°C. Line 2 baking sheets with nonstick baking paper. Unwrap the dough and cut into 24 slices, each about 7mm thick. Transfer to the baking sheets and sprinkle the remaining crushed chillies on top.
  4. Bake for 13-15 mins until crisp and golden. Cool on the trays for a few mins, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container, layered with baking paper, for up to 2 weeks.


Get ahead: The shortbread dough will keep in the fridge for 3 days, or can be frozen for up to 1 month.


Which Christmas bake will you be making first?