HapPIE Holidays

Published online: Nov 17, 2020 News Courtney Gaine, President & CEO, The Sugar Association
Viewed 208 time(s)
This article appears in the November/December 2020 issue of Sugar Producer

Whether you’re a baker or a consumer (and the world needs both), no one can argue with the fact that real sugar is essential to delicious, quality baked treats. The period from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day is the most active time of year for baking, with 73 percent of Americans more excited about baking over the holidays than other times of year. Retail sugar sales also increase by about 50 percent during this time period. Right now is baking’s (and sugar’s) Super Bowl!

A 2019 baking trends survey found that holidays are one of the most popular times of year for baking. More than half of U.S. millennials cite baking as a way to connect and spend time with loved ones during the holidays. There is something about baking with or for family and friends that makes it a little more special. While many favorites are steeped in family traditions, of all the possible holiday baking creations to be made, which are the most popular in the U.S.?

Sweet as Pie

The top-three baked goods to make or buy during the holiday season are pies, cookies and cakes. Internet search and social sharing data indicate that pies are about twice as popular in November as in other month of the year. And when it comes to traditional holiday pies, there is clear geographic preference for favorites. Apple is most popular in the Northeast and pecan in the South, while pumpkin rules in the West, Midwest and Southeast. The type of pie isn’t the only thing folks have an opinion on, though. How it is served also comes with another set of preferences, with nearly half of U.S. consumers (45 percent) claiming whipped cream is pie’s best partner, followed by ice cream (24 percent) and, coming in last, the pie by itself (17 percent). 

As American as Pumpkin(?) Pie

Sweet and savory pies were a part of the English cuisine before settlers set sail for America, and they quickly became a part of American culture. Even though they are claimed as uniquely American, apple pies (and the trees that produce the fruit) are believed to have been brought over by Swedish, Dutch and British immigrants in the mid-1600s.

The pumpkin and its pie, however, are native to North America. In the 1600s, early American settlers stewed pumpkins or filled the hollowed shell with milk, honey and spices. While pumpkin pie is a clear favorite across the U.S., it is rarely served in other parts of the world.

Tag us @MoreToSugar when you bake with family and friends this holiday season. 

Looking to switch it up this year? Try another, less traditional holiday pie.

Chocolate Chess Pie

Recipe courtesy of the Home Baking Association

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 45 minutes

Serves: 8-10 slices


One unbaked prepared pie crust

3 eggs

¼ cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

½ cup butter

3 tablespoons cocoa powder

1½ cups sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Lightly press the prepared pie crust into a springform pan and set aside. A pie plate can also be used.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine eggs, milk and vanilla. Stir well.
  4. In a saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Then stir in the cocoa and sugar and mix well.
  5. Place a small amount of hot butter mixture in a glass measuring cup. Gently stir butter mixture into egg mixture, then slowly add the egg mixture to the remaining butter mixture. Remove from the stove/heat.