Six of the best Christmas bakes in Yorkshire
PUBLISHED: 00:00 15 December 2014 | UPDATED: 19:25 02 November 2015
Joan Russell Photography
Tony Greenway goes in search on top Christmas confectionery
Look, you’ve got enough to do this month, what with the present buying, gift-wrapping, festive food shopping and card writing, not to mention putting up the decorations, feeding the in-laws and keeping your squabbling children apart, writes Tony Greenway. So the one thing you really don’t want to be doing this Christmas is baking. I mean, for goodness sake, it just adds to the misery.
Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry, and at least three of the contestants from each series of The Great British Bake-Off, make baking look effortless. Well, it isn’t. It’s fraught with difficulty and loaded with stress. And what you need like a hole in the head at this time of year is even more stress. For example, my daughters are already asking if we can make a gingerbread house like last year, conveniently forgetting that it took around six hours to do (15 minutes to bake, five-and-three-quarter hours to assemble), and that the result looked more like a dilapidated shed than a house and tasted like Harpic. So this year, I’m buying a gingerbread house and if my children want to argue about that then they can contact me through my lawyer (or ‘mummy’ as she’s known in our house).
And so here are my six regional recommendations for you — oh, and Happy Christmas.
Bettys is the place to go for a fabulous festive bake: just leafing through the famous tearoom’s Christmas catalogue will leave you reeling, there’s so much choice. There’s everything from Christmas gift hampers (which include Yorkshire gingerbread and spiced Christmas shortbread among other goodies) and Christmas stollen to Swiss biber (a speciality made with honey, almonds, hazelnuts and spices, decorated with Swiss dark chocolate), plus Lebkuchen Father Christmas biscuits, gingerbread star biscuits and a toasted marzipan cake.
0800 456 1919
The Gingerbread House
God bless Liz Druce who makes gourmet, hand-baked gingerbread houses so that you don’t have to. Liz’s houses come in two sizes and she prides herself on providing fully illustrated precise instructions for easy assembly. How festive is that? If that’s not enough she runs workshops, too, so see her website for details.
The Sawley Kitchen
A baking business which produces a range of biscuits, cookies and shortbreads — and I reckon that their cranberry and orange shortbreads and the apple and cinnamon shortbreads make a fab festive treat. Shortbreads in drawstring bags to hang on a tree should also part of the Sawley range this Christmas.
White Rose Bakes
York-based Alice Hildred runs White Rose Bakes, producing artisan cakes, sweet baked goods and confectionery sold at cafes, coffee shops and delis in Yorkshire and at Malton’s monthly food market where she’s a regular. This Christmas, look out for Alice’s Sweet-Tooth Hampers, which will likely include a six-portion Christmas cake, sparkling gingerbread biscuits which double as decorations, Belgian chocolate fudge and sea-salt caramel millionaire’s shortbread.
The bestselling Christmas goodies from Driffield and Headingley-based Costello’s include Christmas cakes, rich fruit cakes and mince pies. What’s more, the owner, James Costello, tells me that a Malton branch should be open by the time you read this.
01377 790442/0113 278 7847
Lucia’s Continental Cakes
A Yorkshire artisan bakery business which produces Christmas cakes, mince pies and marzipan stollen — the traditional German Christmas delicacy (a bit of a must at Christmas, I reckon). Lucia’s Continental Cakes was also working on a Facebook page when I spoke to them, so look out for that.