Holiday Baking Apps
Baked goods—from cookies for Santa to fruit cake—are a staple of the holiday season as much as snow and presents. It’s no surprise, then, that there are many apps to help you create your holiday favorites. Whether you have favorite family recipes, want to experiment, or have never baked before, the apps below will help.
Paprika Recipe Manager - Get your recipes organized!
If your first stop for holiday dinners is a disorganized recipe box/drawer/folder/ziploc, try Paprika Recipe Manager instead. Paprika makes the process of entering your recipes relatively painless by providing a template. The app makes saving recipes from the Internet easy via its integrated web browser. Paprika saves recipes with one click from many of the most popular sites and allows you to capture recipes from any site. Eventually, you will have your own personal cookbook app, comprised only of recipes of your choosing. Paprika’s long track record as a Mac app also helps dispel any fears that your precious recipes will be lost.
How to Cook Everything
Whether you have a full recipe binder or are just starting out, it’s essential to have a “cooking bible” like How to Cook Everything. In addition to the app’s many recipes, it has a section titled “kitchen basics” that covers basic cooking techniques, necessary equipment, and even detailed information on how to cook several recipes. The app is extremely polished and is full of recipes both basic and advanced. How to Cook Everything also highlights variations on recipes, making it extremely easy to find a recipe you will love. The app’s holiday theme and section makes it very easy to find recipes for festive baked goods.
Epicurious Recipes & Shopping List
Another great option for a comprehensive cooking app is Epicurious Recipes & Shopping List, the official iOS port of the very popular website. Epicurious is so comprehensive that it’s probably not an exaggeration to say that, if you can think of a food you’d like to make, you’ll probably find the recipe on Epicurious. The only problem is that there are so many recipes it can be difficult to find the one you want, even with a search function! Still, Epicurious is a must have app in your baking toolbox.
Baking with Dorie
If you’re really new to baking or only like cooking with someone next to you, Baking with Dorie is a must. As the title suggests, users can prop their iPads on the counter and watch Dorie perform each step of each recipe as if she were standing next to them. Thankfully for those who prefer to go it alone, the app offers multiple viewing options, including a traditional recipe. Although the attempt to update the cookbook format is appreciated, Baking with Dorie would be improved with less Dorie and more Baking, as 24 recipes is too few for an app of this size and price.
The Photo Cookbook – Baking
Baking novices or visual chefs should check out the Photo Cookbook: Baking. As the name suggests, the Photo Cookbook: Baking displays photos for each step of the recipe, making it easy to follow along. The app is divided into categories, with recipes for cakes and traybakes, pastries, small cakes and cookies, and bread. More importantly, the app’s emphasis on photos makes it one of the most attractive to browse!
Festive Holiday Baking
If long recipes calling for multiple ingredients with strange names scare you, Festive Holiday Baking will be like a dream. Each recipe in the app has at most eight ingredients! That means the recipes will definitely be easier to shop for, and they should also be simpler to make. If only the app were as simple to navigate, then it would be perfect.
Holiday Recipes & Party Planning Guide, by Food52
Whether this is your first year hosting or your 50th, holidays are stressful. This year, why not let Food52 Holiday Recipe & Survival Guide do some of the work of planning your party? Food52 is designed around “events” more than a traditional cookbook, and as such it has a significant amount of content on entertaining and parties in addition to recipes. The app also has menus, sections on special needs cooking, techniques, and equipment. Plus: there’s a section on how to make a gingerbread house!
French Cakes, Pastries and Jams
Those looking to impress their friends and relatives with their culinary prowess should try Larousse’s French Cakes, Pastries, & Jams. French pastries may not be traditional holiday staples, but this app makes a compelling case for their inclusion on your holiday table. Larousse’s French Cakes, Pastries, & Jams is essentially a cookbook transformed into an app without bells and whistles, but the recipes themselves and the section on teaching traditional techniques make up for the lack of multimedia content. Although the app could use a better browsing experience, it wins points by offering recipes not available in other apps.
Martha Stewart Makes Cookies
No holiday is complete without cookies, and Martha Stewart Makes Cookies is a beautifully presented collection of recipes for many of the most popular cookies. You will feel like a kid in a bakery as you navigate through the pages of gorgeous cookie photos. Martha Stewart may be known as a “domestic goddess,” but the app does have a few issues worth noting. First, we found it odd that Martha Stewart, ostensibly the creator of the app, is in less than half (closer to a third) of the videos in the app. Second, the layout obscures the reality that there aren’t that many recipes in the app and several are “sponsored.” Despite these flaws, the app is one of the most fun to use, and would likely be a hit with kids.
Food Network In the Kitchen
If you need more celebrity chefs to walk you through your holiday baking, try Food Network In the Kitchen. The app’s special holiday section includes recipes for every holiday celebration from the Food Network’s star chefs.
Cupcakes are currently all the rage, and now you can make your own version of the signature treat from one of Britain’s most famous cupcake shops with the Primrose Bakery app! Primrose Bakery has many recipes for cupcakes, frosting, layer cakes, and biscuits. It also includes a few videos demonstrating techniques that are difficult to describe in words (e.g., how to ice a cupcake). The recipes look delicious and like they will produce bakery-quality cupcakes that will bring delight to any holiday table. The only real issue is that the measurements are in metric, which may be difficult for some U.S. cooks.
Appetites' Easy As Pie featuring Evan Kleiman
Pies are a holiday staple, and Appetites’ Easy as Pie featuring Evan Kleiman is a one stop shop for pie recipes. The app is designed for people who prefer watching videos of recipes, as there is no option to view all parts of a recipe on a single screen or email or print the recipe. If this doesn’t bother you and you like pie, Appetites' Easy as Pie will likely win you over. The app has an impressive number of recipes for a video app, with sections on crusts and toppings as well as pies and pudding pies.
Allergy Free Entertaining
If you have to cook for anyone with a special diet, you need Allergy Free Entertaining. The app is designed to make it as easy as possible to cook dishes that are safe for people with dietary restrictions. Allergy Free Entertaining has a section on foods for entertaining, and the ability to filter recipes according to allergies (e.g., gluten free, nut free) or diet (e.g., low sugar, vegan). Since baking and desserts are notoriously difficult for those with dietary restrictions, Allergy Free Entertaining’s many dessert options will be a relief for some party planners.
BabyCakes - Vegan and Gluten-Free Baking by Erin McKenna
For vegan and/or gluten free baking, Babycakes is the app to use. The famous New York-based bakery has included many of its most popular recipes in this whimsical app. Although there may not be an overwhelming number of recipes, the app makes up for it with extra content, from videos to notes on substitutions.
Wilton Cake Ideas & More
Some say cooking is an art and baking is a science, but Wilton Cake Ideas & More helps you turn your baked goods into art. The app will help you transform traditional desserts like those from the apps above into artful masterpieces with fondant and frosting. The instructions could be great fun for families to do together, but it seems unlikely that novice chefs or non-artists will come close to the pictures. Still, it’s a fun look.