To kick things off, nine bakers must create eye-catching and tantalizing new holiday treats for seasonal parties. In the pre-heat, bakers create a dessert with an unusual candy cane flavor and then, for the main heat, they use a holiday cocktail as sweet inspiration. One unlucky baker goes home.
During the holidays, it takes teamwork to pull off special gatherings. So in the pre-heat, eight bakers team up to make a dozen hand pies in a festive holiday shape. Then for the main heat, bakers create a holiday dessert duo inspired by classic holiday flavor combinations.
In the pre-heat, seven bakers must create a Thanksgiving dessert using a mystery canned fruit. Then in the main heat, bakers whip up new Turkey Day sensations by combining two traditional desserts.
The six remaining bakers are creating new takes on traditional holiday baking. Inspired by an internet baking meme, for the pre-heat they'll use yellow cake mix to make anything but cake. Then in the main heat, bakers must "holiday up!" a non-holiday dessert.
Winter is here and it's time to cozy up inside. The five remaining bakers 'ignite' the holiday spirit with a fiery, pre-heat dessert. Then in the main heat, they take a traditional holiday cheese board and turn it into an unusual cheesecake.
The four remaining bakers celebrate two classic holiday traditions: Hanukkah jelly doughnuts and ye olde fruitcake. Duff Goldman helps introduce the pre-heat challenge in which bakers must create a dozen doughnuts featuring a challenging flavor combination. Then for the main heat, bakers try their best to reinvent fruitcake.
The final three bakers grab two last minute holiday gifts and combine them into one impressive dessert. Then in the main heat, bakers must create a show-stopping 12 Days of Christmas dessert that illustrates a line from the famous song. The winning baker walks away with $50,000 and the title of Holiday Baking Champion!