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If you’re anything like me, the stress of the semester has really made me seek comfort in Netflix’s The Great British Baking Show. When I say Paul Hollywood’s blue eyes or Prue Leith’s motherly eccentrism cure all, I absolutely mean it. The only issue is as much as I love watching these quirky British people bake, I never try to replicate it. This is obviously due to a lack of time and ability (I’m not out there tempering chocolate or proving a sourdough loaf), but what if baking this holiday season became easy? I threw together a list of easy, holiday hits for you to make all your friends and family think you could win “Star Baker” with half the time and effort.

White Chocolate Peppermint Patties

If you’re a sucker for peppermint and you feel more comfortable using the microwave over the oven, this one’s for you. The hardest part of this recipe is finding the peppermint extract, but once you’ve done that, you can enjoy these bad boys for over a week.

Cranberry Pumpkin Muffin

Just imagine waking up on Thanksgiving morning to two dozen hot muffins that taste like the holidays. It can all be yours for a time investment of about 40 minutes.

Raspberry Coconut Balls

I love these because they’re a little off the beaten track in terms of holiday desserts. One of the reviews said he made about 50 in a half hour, which sounds super promising. Grab some Nilla wafers, shredded coconut, and raspberry extract, and you’re pretty much good to go.

Peppermint Puff Pastry Sticks

This recipe is amazing because it requires store-bought dough! Although Paul Hollywood would disapprove, it is a huge time saver, and no one will notice how when you’ve got the peppermint/pastry combo going.

Pumpkin Chip Cookies

I love a good pumpkin dessert, and this recipe combines a baking classic with a festive twist. It takes about 22 minutes to make, so you can start throwing things together about a half hour before your socially distanced gathering and still wow your guests. 

3-Ingredient Shortbread Cookies

Shortbread never fails during the holiday season, and this recipe is no exception. Plus, it takes a grand total of THREE ingredients. How is that for simple? It also includes answers to basic baking questions, which is a huge plus for amateurs like me.

Nutella Hand Pies

I’ve never met a soul who doesn’t like Nutella, so this one is guaranteed to be a crowd favorite. The added bonus is pre-made pastry and a 30-minute time investment.

Peanut Butter Sheet Cake

I had to throw this one in here for my peanut butter lovers. I’ve never had a peanut butter cake, but I would have a hard time believing a recipe with almost a cup of peanut butter between the batter and the glaze would be one I wouldn’t like.

Easy Layer Bars

Not only do these bars have incredible ingredients, but they look gorgeous with the blend of chocolate chips, coconut, and chopped nuts. Easy is also in the name, which feels like a win to me.

First-Place Coconut Macaroons

I love the words “first-place” because it makes me feel like I’m really on the  competition shows I’ve become so obsessed with. Plus, macaroons always feel really advanced but this recipe breaks it down, hopefully giving you a boost of self-confidence in the kitchen.

I hope some of these desserts strike your fancy and get you off the couch and into the kitchen. I for one will be spending a good dose of my holiday time working through this list. Although it may not mean you will see me on the Great British Baking Show anytime soon, it’s all about taking those little steps. Happy Holidays!

Madeleine McCollum is from Bethesda, Maryland, and is thrilled about starting her career at Her Campus UVA. She has interned for Lerch, Early & Brewer Law firm and Compass realty, assisting with their marketing operations. She served as her class treasurer in high school for three years as well, primarily leading fundraising operations and coordinating the budget. As a first year at UVA, she is very excited to begin her first role as a writer. In her free time, Madeleine loves to get out into nature, travel, curl up with a book, and exercise.
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