'Tis the season to be baking and what better way to get in the holiday spirit than with some sweet tips for holiday treats.
Award-winning pastry chef Sherry Yard, a judge on "The Great American Baking Show: Holiday Edition," and co-host Anthony "Spice" Adams spoke to ABC News about the challenges bakers faced on the seasonal show that could help out home cooks with their own confections.
Adams said when it comes to the competition, he leaves the hard part to the pros -- Yard and Paul Hollywood -- who decide the fate of 10 aspiring bakers from around the country that tackle technical challenges inside the famous white tent.
"My job is usually easy on the show, I just try to lighten the mood -- the judges have the hard job," Adams said. "I care about, is there sugar in it? Is there butter in it? Is there TLC? Then you got me."
"Baking is a science and that's what's fun about it," Yard said. "Just like you have a good hair day, you could have a great baking day."
She cautioned that even the best bakers can make a minor mistake that could cost them their confection.
"You can come in and be very well versed [but] if your timing is just off," she said, " it becomes a tidal wave and you're behind the eight ball."
From signature recipes to testing an array of technical skills, Yard said that "the sugar meets the road" during the finale where "all of those things gotta come together in one beautiful presentation."
"It's all about bakes and the best bake and making baking better every time," the judge explained.
Check out all of Yard's tips, takeaways and treats along with Adams' annual sweets for Santa.
Top Holiday Baking Tips
"My top baking tip would be to plan in advance," Yard said simply. "If you try to tackle everything at once it can be very overwhelming. Just take your time."
- Measure out all your ingredients in advance
- Make your crusts in advance
- Make any fillings or frostings separately
- Freeze things where you can
"I stockpile cookie doughs and I freeze 'em, then I cut [them] and I bake [it], so I look like a superstar," Yard said. "I can roll in with a dozen different types of cookies yet I was strategic."
Baking Disasters and How to Avoid Them
- Problem: Turning the oven up too high accidentally or not turning the oven on.
- Sherry's Solution: Double check the oven as you're prepping your ingredients.
-Problem: Measuring salt instead of sugar.
- Sherry's Solution: "Taste as you go along, that's really important."
- Problem: Slightly burnt cookies.
- Sherry's Solution: "Just scrape it off. And then lower the lights, add a dusting of powdered sugar and tell everyone that's what you were looking for."
"Spice" and Sherry's Picks for Santa
The Classic: Chocolate Chip Cookies
The Modern Choice: Red Velvet Cake
"I would eat it before it even got to Santa," Adams admitted of the chocolate chip cookies he made Santa as a little kid. "My mom taught me how to make a red velvet cake and I do it from scratch -- that's been the tradition for the last couple years," he said of his newer baked item of choice.
The Classic: Rainbow Cookies
The Modern Choice: Flourless Peanut Butter Thumbprint Cookies or Oat Flour with Fruit and Nuts
Yard, who grew up in Brooklyn, said the Italian treat has always been a staple during the holiday season in her home.
"It's an almond marzipan cookie with raspberry and pistachio -- the chocolate glaze over the top and you do it in a big block so you can cut it in squares," she said.
"I make flour-less, egg-less peanut butter thumbprint cookies -- those are really good too," she said. "I just made another [recipe] with oat flour, pine nuts, macadamia nuts, pineapple, white chocolate -- that's one sitting in the freezer right now waiting to be baked."
"The Great American Baking Show: Holiday Edition," premieres on Dec. 12 on ABC.