Arts, Features

Netflix gears up for holidays with baking show specials

The holiday season comes with roasted chestnuts, fruitcake, decorated cookies and the like. Baking during this time is a central tradition, but sometimes, watching others create extravagant pies and cakes is more enjoyable — and easier — than making them oneself. In tune with this spirit, Netflix has released holiday-themed seasons of food shows perfect for binging.

As the holiday season approaches, Netflix is releasing festive seasons of popular food shows. ILLUSTRATION BY LAURYN ALLEN/ DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

“Sugar Rush Christmas”

Season two of this dessert-themed reality competition was released Nov. 27, just in time for the post-Thanksgiving holiday cheer. “Sugar Rush” is known for its guest judges, and this season doesn’t disappoint. Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon judges the first installment of the six-episode season, while actress Abigail Breslin stars in the last.

The fast-paced yet lighthearted show, on which “time is the most important ingredient,” features four duos who compete in creating three rounds of treats. Time is used as a unique tool on the show — whatever time is left over from the first two challenges can be applied to the final round.

Beautiful and intricate desserts won’t disappoint in this show, which opens with a round of cupcakes and confections and ends with a final cake showcase. All of the judges vote on the remaining two teams in the final round, with winners receiving $10,000 — along with lots of hugs.

“The Great British Baking Show: Holidays”

Following the conclusion of the bake-off’s most recent season is the holiday rendition of the popular amateur baking competition. The show brings back a few favorite bakers from previous seasons to participate in competitions occurring over one weekend per episode, each of which ends with a “Star Baker” award.

Unlike previous seasons, no eliminations occur during these holiday competitions.

Each episode features four bakers from previous seasons, two from one season and two from another. Their friendships are palpable on-screen. The bakers laugh about the stress they’ve felt in the tent, but take the holiday special to just bake and have fun.

As in the original, the bakers compete in three challenges: signature, technical and showstopper. Aside from beautiful patisserie, the show highlights redemptions and laughable moments among the contestants — but with only two episodes each season, it’s always a short-lived joy.

“Nailed it! Holiday!”

While “Nailed it!” hasn’t released a new holiday season special this year, its previous seasons on Netflix are just as festive and entertaining. The show, which features renditions from Spain, Germany, Mexico and France, is never short on content.

With Emmy-nominated comedian and show host Nicole Byer livening up the room alongside pastry chef Jacques Torres, audiences will see a group of novice bakers botch nearly every challenge. Still, one person always walks away with the $10,000 prize.

The casual setting — with jokes involving stagehands and meme-style lettering — gives “Nailed it!” a unique atmosphere compared to other feel-good baking shows. The first episode, featuring two-time guest judge and actor Jason Mantzoukas, is aptly named “We’re Scrooged.”

Each episode of “Nailed it! Holiday!” offers two rounds for the three home bakers to win the grand prize. Competitors must recreate beautiful, professionally decorated desserts for the first round, followed by a complex cake, until a final winner is announced.

While these three shows grace our screens through streaming-giant Netflix, Hulu’s catalogue includes Food Network’s holiday cooking shows, including two seasons of “Holiday Gingerbread Showdown,” one season of “Christmas Cookie Challenge” and six seasons of “Holiday Baking Championship.”

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